Oy, what a morning. In an attempt to increase my fruit intake, I decided to do some baking. Scones, to be exact. Raspberry scones. (For those not in the know, fruit in the form of baked goods still equals fruit. And fruit is good for you!)
Only something went terribly wrong. I understand that when baking, it is paramount to follow a recipe precisely (not so when cooking), so, um… I did. Yet somehow I was left with a round pile of mush that after adding almost an additional 1/2 cup of flour (!!) to (in an attempt to smooth things over, literally), came out tasting like… flour. With a little essence of raspberry.
I could go on about my utter scone sadness, but instead, I’ve pulled out a second stick of butter and am preparing to try again.
No, not scones. (What are you crazy?!) Muffins. We think I can conquer muffins, right? I’m going to have to, because I am seriously lacking fruit in my diet these days.
It’s failed attempts at baking like this one that make me realize how much I love cooking. Or rather, how much better I am at cooking. (Seriously a good thing I never attempted pastry school. Or maybe that’s the problem? Perhaps taking a class or two on baking would whip me into shape!)
But I digress. I came across this recipe for sesame rice noodles with chicken a few weeks ago. Looked pretty good. Noodles (my fav), Asian flavors (something I’m craving at the moment), and soy sauce. Lots and lots of soy sauce. We’re lovers of salty things in this family, so I knew this one was a must-try.
The beauty of my recipe below? It’s a loose adaptation of the original. I was able to adjust proportions and tweak ingredients wherever I wanted, and it turned out fantastic.
Take that, baking! I’ll cook a savory meal any day over measuring out flour and sugar. (Though to be clear, I will happily accept and eat baked goods any day of the week.)
In a small bowl, combine 6 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce. Add chicken, then cover and let marinate for at least 20 minutes.
While the chicken is marinading, combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan (water, soy sauce, brown sugar, honey, and red pepper flakes). Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the mixture bubbles up and reduces to a thicker mixture. Set aside.
Meanwhile, pour the sesame seeds into a small pan and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant and browned, about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
Next up? Rice noodles. I was slightly fearful about using rice noodles. I’ve heard they’re very easy to overcook. Fortunately, mine came out great.
Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil, then remove from the heat. Place noodles in the water and let sit for 8-10 minutes.
Strain the noodles and return to the pot until ready to use. (Better to strain them a little early if you’re unsure about whether they’re done. They’ll be added to a hot pan with veggies, where they’ll continue to cook slightly.)
Okay, time to bring it all together!
In a large pot or wok, heat two tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil over high heat. Add carrot sticks and a dash or two of soy sauce, then cook for a few minutes. (The carrots should still be crunchy). Add the broccoli, continue to cook over high heat for another 2-3 minutes, then add frozen edamame. Because of the soy sauce both here and in the mixture you’ll be adding later, season the veggies very carefully.
Once your veggies have reached your desired doneness, add chicken (along with any remaining marinade) and soy sauce mixture, then stir continuously until cooked through (just a few minutes, if you sliced the chicken thinly). You might have to add additional oil if the pan is dry.
Now simply toss in the rice noodles, sesame seeds, and sliced scallions, give everything a few good stirs, and serve it up!
You could certainly add other veggies (peas, baby corn, bean sprouts, etc.) or change up the protein (pork, beef, shrimp, tofu), but I thought this was perfect.
Baking, schmaking. Pfft. I’ve got me some rice noodles.
Sesame Rice Noodles with Chicken and Veggies
*Recipe adapted from T and Tea Cake.
For the chicken:
- 3-4 chicken cutlets or 2 chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
- 6 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 tbsp honey
- 1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 box rice vermicelli (14 oz)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped into sticks
- 1 head of broccoli, trimmed
- 1/2 cup of edamame (frozen is fine)
- 3 tbsp sesame seeds
- Thinly sliced scallion for garnish
- Vegetable or canola oil
- For the chicken: Marinade the chicken in 6 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce. Cover and place in a refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
- For the sauce: In a small pot, combine 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 4 tablespoons honey, and 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat until big bubbles develop, about 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile, pour sesame seeds into a small pot and cook over medium-high heat until fragrant and browned, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- For the noodles: In a large heat proof bowl, soak rice noodles in boiling water. Read the package for instructions, but most will call for bringing a pot of water to a boil, removing the pot from the heat, adding the noodles, and letting them sit for 8-10 minutes.
- In a large pot or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of canola or vegetable oil over high heat. Add carrots and a dash or two of soy sauce. Cook for a few minutes, then add broccoli. After another 2 or 3 minutes, add frozen edamame. If seasoning with salt, do so carefully — remember, the sauce is made up of soy sauce and will already be salty. Cook until veggies have reached desired doneness (I like them to still have a little crunch).
- If the pan is completely dry, pour in another 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the chicken (and any remaining marinade) along with the sauce and stir continuously. If the chicken is cut into small pieces, this will only take a few minutes to cook through.
- Strain the rice noodles and add them to the pot. Pour in sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions. If the noodles are too dry, add a little more water and/or soy sauce and honey. Stir to combine, then serve with additional sliced scallions on top.