I don’t like washing dishes. So when I find a recipe that only requires one pot, that’s a winner for me. Here’s a noodle recipe that I cook somewhat often. When I use the word “recipe,” it’s a pretty loose interpretation of the word. I just throw stuff together in more or less what I consider to be a tasty proportion, and hope for the best. Usually it works out alright, because if you choose delicious things to combine, the synnergy creates something extra-delicious. I learned how to use some of these ingredients at a cooking school in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and I cook with them all the time now. You can find any of these in any Asian grocery store.
First, chop up some fresh vegetables and stuff. I say “stuff” because it could be tofu, or chicken, or beef, or whatever. In this case, I’m using tofu because I made this on my vegetarian night. There’s also some Shanghai bok choi, green onions, onions, sweet red pepper, and a lime. It’s important to cut everything up in advance because this dish cooks quickly and you won’t have time to chop once you’re underway. Get your sauces out too. In the picture, you can see cooking tamarind, sweet soy sauce, and oyster sauce. When you buy your sweet soy sauce, buy the one that has molasses in it. Yum. Not pictured, but required is fish sauce. You’ll also want some rice wine vinegar. I know it sounds like a lot of stuff, but these sauces are cheap. Like $2-3 for each kind, and they’re useful too. The noodles in the strainer are Japanese udon noodles, made from rice.
Now for the cooking. Crank up your stove to medium high, and heat your wok. You don’t have one? Go get one! I prefer the cast iron kind. Drop a bit of peanut oil. If you don’t have peanut oil, you can use canola or vegetable oil. Do not use olive oil for Asian cooking. It’s just wrong.
When the oil is hot, you’ll know. It will start smoking ever so slightly and look extremely deadly to the touch. Resist the urge to touch it. Believe me. Crush a clove of garlic and drop it in there. Put in your chopped onions too. There will be some satisfying crackling noises. Stir those things around until they’re a bit brown. Drop in your tofu/chicken/beef. Stir it around a bit. Splash in your sauces. You’ll need about a tablespoon of fish sauce, a couple tablespoons of sweet soy sauce, a tablespoon of oyster sauce, a splash of rice wine vinegar, and a dollop of tamarind. Throw in the red peppers. Stir those around and admire the smell. It’s good. Keep going until the tofu/meat is more or less cooked.
Toss in the udon noodles. Stir and toss thoroughly until the noodles are all colored by the sauce. Throw in the bok choy. Stir some more. When everything is thoroughly mixed and warmed through, push everything to the side a bit so you can see the bottom of the wok. Crack an egg in there, and let it cook a bit.
When the egg is nearly cooked, start stirring it through the noodles. You don’t want the egg to burn, and the heat of the noodles will finish cooking it anyway. After the egg has been stirred through, throw in the chopped green onions and stir them through too. Turn off the heat, and serve.
I garnish mine with peanuts and a slice of lime. If you like it spicy, slice up some tiny red chili peppers and marinate them in the rice wine vinegar for a day or so. You can sprinkle that stuff on top to give this dish a nice little kick. Enjoy!