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Hoisin Chicken with Crisp Yakisoba

Hoisin Chicken with Crisp Yakisoba
Yakisoba are fresh Japanese wheat noodles that are a bit thicker than vermicelli. Look for them in the refrigerator cases in Asian markets and well-stocked food stores. Garnish with chopped green onion tops for a splash of color.

Chicken tenders are cut from the tenderloin, the leanest, most tender portion of the breast. Before using, strip the tendon from the center of each tender, stroking it with a knife to be sure it comes out cleanly. If chicken tenders aren't available, buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them into pieces 1/4 inch thick.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. yakisoba noodles (see note)
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 1/2 cups julienned leek
  • 3 Asian eggplant, thinly sliced
  • 6 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 lb. chicken tenders (see note), thinly sliced
     crosswise
  • 3 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 Tbs. hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup cold water

Directions:

Place the noodles in a large bowl and pour the boiling water over them. Let stand for 5 minutes, then drain and pat dry. Toss the noodles with 1 tsp. of the five-spice powder.

Heat a large nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat. Coat the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Add the noodles, forming them into a cake that covers the bottom of the pan. Cook until browned on one side, about 6 minutes. Turn over the noodle cake and cook until browned and crispy on the other side, about 6 minutes more. Slide the noodle cake out of the pan onto a work surface. Cut into 4 equal wedges and keep warm.

Return the pan to the heat and again coat with nonstick cooking spray. Add the leek, eggplant, mushrooms, carrots and the remaining 1 tsp. five-spice powder. Toss and stir until the vegetables are just beginning to soften, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken, ginger and garlic, cover and cook until the chicken is opaque throughout, about 3 minutes. Add the hoisin sauce and cold water and toss and stir until all the ingredients are well coated, about 1 minute more.

Divide the chicken mixture evenly among warmed plates and top each serving with a noodle wedge. Serve hot.
Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Fresh & Light, by Lane Crowther (Time-Life Books, 1998).