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Stir-Fried Rice Vermicelli

Stir-fried noodles are second in popularity to rice in the Philippines. Eaten as part of a meal or as a snack, this classic noodle stir-fry has seemingly endless variations. Here, a small amount of mildly sweet cured pork sausage, a specialty of southern China, where it is known as lop cheong, creates a chewy, smoky foundation for fine pieces of chicken and shrimp. Look for it in Chinese and other Asian markets. Substitute Chinese barbecued pork or shredded roast chicken if Chinese sausage is unavailable. The vegetables are shredded or thinly sliced to match the delicate structure of the noodles.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 lb. Chinese sausages (see note above)
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbs. fish sauce
  • 2 Tbs. dark soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks about 3 inches long
  • 12 oz. dried rice vermicelli, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained
  • 2 cups shredded napa cabbage
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Directions:

Bring a saucepan three-fourths full of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and chicken and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is opaque throughout, 10 to 15 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a plate and let cool. Shred the chicken and set aside.

Meanwhile, place the sausages in a small saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer the sausages for 5 minutes to render the fat. Drain and let cool. Cut the sausages on the diagonal into slices 1/8 inch thick and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the broth, fish sauce, soy sauces and sugar. Set the stir-fry sauce aside.

Heat a large wok or fry pan over high heat until very hot. Add the sausage slices to the hot pan and stir-fry until crisp and brown on the edges, about 1 minute. Add the shrimp and stir-fry until the shrimp just turn opaque, about 30 seconds. Transfer the sausage and shrimp to a bowl. Return the pan to high heat and add 1 Tbs. of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger, garlic, yellow onion and carrot and stir-fry until just tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the sausage and shrimp.

Wipe the pan clean, return it to high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbs. oil. When the oil is hot, add the noodles and stir-fry until they begin to dry, 2 to 3 minutes. Return the vegetables, sausage and shrimp to the pan, add the cabbage and chicken, and stir-fry until the cabbage begins to wilt and the chicken is heated through, about 5 minutes. Pour in the sauce and stir-fry until most of the sauce has been absorbed and the noodles have plumped and are translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.

Transfer the noodles to a warmed platter or bowl and garnish with the green onions. Serve immediately and pass the lemon wedges at the table. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Asian Cooking, by Farina Kingsley & Thy Tran (Oxmoor House, 2009).