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Braised Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

These noodles make a quick dinner on a busy workday. Shanghai-style noodles are thick, dense wheat-flour noodles that have a chewy texture. You can also use Chinese-style egg noodles; cook them for only 1 minute and use only 6 Tbs. of the chicken stock for braising the noodles since they will cook in half the time as Shanghai noodles.

Ingredients:

  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. fresh Shanghai-style noodles
  • 1/4 lb. fresh shiitake mushrooms or 2 oz. dried
      shiitake mushrooms
  • 3 Tbs. corn or peanut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut
      into very thin strips about 1 1/2 inches long
  • 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 4 cups finely shredded white and red
      cabbage
  • 2 oz. garlic chives, cut into 2-inch pieces,
      or 8 green onions, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tbs. dark soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Chinese black rice vinegar or balsamic
      vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. oyster sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • Large pinch of freshly ground white pepper

Directions:

In a large pot over high heat, bring the water and 1 tsp. of the salt to a boil. Add the noodles, stir well and cook until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Drain and set aside.

If using fresh shiitakes, remove the stems and discard. If using dried shiitakes, place in a small bowl, cover with warm water and soak until soft, about 20 minutes; drain, squeezing out any excess liquid. Remove the stems and discard. Cut the caps into slices 1/4 inch thick.

Heat a wok over medium-high heat. Add 2 Tbs. of the oil and the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Add the garlic and mushrooms, and toss and stir until beginning to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and toss with the mushrooms until the chicken is opaque, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Increase the heat to high and add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil to the wok. Add the carrot and cabbage, and toss and stir until beginning to wilt. Add the garlic chives and toss and stir for 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and add to the chicken mixture.

Place the wok over medium-high heat and add the stock, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, oyster sauce, sugar and white pepper. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the noodles and toss to coat evenly. Cook until the liquid is completely reduced, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken mixture and toss until well combined.

Divide among individual plates and serve immediately.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Asian Flavors, by Joyce Jue (Time-Life Books, 1999).