Let’s start with cooking one of my favorite types of dishes when I don’t have a lot of time – noodles. I admit it. I LOVE all kinds of noodles - either in in an over-size bowl set in an almost simmering broth and garnished with fried garlic (a must in Thai noodle soups), or a quick stir-fry where most of the flavors from a seasoning sauce or two are infused into other ingredients via a hot wok or pan. I make noodles so often I use both fresh or dried noodles; rice noodles, glass noodles, or egg noodles and usually create many tasty variations that I’ve yet to bestow upon our resident raccoon or trash panda.
You can choose whichever type of noodle you like to work with. Toss in a vegetable or two, a protein of your choice, and some seasoning in to the mix and you’ve got yourself a pretty well rounded dish. This time I'm using a combination of:
EGG NOODLES + YU CHOY + CRISPY TOFU
Even though there is an extra step in preparing it (boiling), I chose fresh egg noodles that usually come in a pack of four fist-size balls and are covered in flour because it’s a personal favorite. You can substitute the yu choy (Chinese greens) with other leafy greens like Chinese broccoli or bok choy, and the crispy tofu with your choice of protein – beef, chicken, pork, shrimp, or calamari. Again here, it took an extra step to make the crispy tofu (with coconut oil), which you too can prepare here.
Here is a summary of all of ingredients pulled together for this dish.
2 balls of egg noodles
2-3 cups of yu choy - separate leaves from stems and cut into 2-3 inch lengths
Crispy tofu (from a 12 -15 ounce block of organic tofu)
3-4 cloves garlic (optional, use more if preferred)
3-4 scallions (aka green onion or spring onion, optional)
1 tablespoon season sauce (i.e. Thai Golden Mountain or Maggi brands) or light soy sauce
Pinch of salt
Dash of sugar
¼ cup (4 tablespoons) water
2 tablespoons of organic raw virgin coconut oil
No. of servings: 2
- Bring to boil a pot of hot water. Shake each ball of egg noodle to separate the strands, and place into boiling water. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove and set aside. If you are using a different type other than egg noodle, follow package instructions preparing it.
- For the yu choy, separate leaves from stems and cut into 2-3 inch lengths.
- Cut scallions into 2-3 inch lengths; halve the base of each stem, as they are thicker and more potent than the tops.
- With a knife or cleaver and heal of your hand, crush each clove of garlic and roughly dice. Crushing garlic releases the oil of the herb.
- Cut crispy tofu into bite size pieces. Set aside. If using a different protein such as beef or pork, slice against the grain into bite size pieces. Cut chicken or calamari also into bit size pieces. Shrimp, after cleaning (shelling and deveining) can be tossed in whole.
- Heat wok or pan on high temperature for 30 – 60 seconds or until hot.
- Add coconut oil to heated wok or pan and evenly spread it over the surface of the pan. Note that coconut oil may be in solid form if below 76˚F (24˚C).
- Place crushed garlic into pan. Quickly add your protein (except tofu) so that it captures some of that aromatic garlic oil. Cook for about 1 minute. We’ll save the tofu as the very last ingredient in the wok or pan.
- Add the yu choy, scallions, and noodles into the wok or pan together. Also add seasoning sauce, salt, sugar and water. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Add a little more water (1-2 tablespoons) if it begins to dry before the ingredients get a chance to mix or if the wok or pan begins to scorch.
- Add crispy tofu and fold into stir-fry 2-3 times.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately.
In contrast to sometimes-overpowering sesame or other vegetable oil often used in a dish like this, you’ll find the subtleness of raw virgin coconut oil throughout the dish inviting. You can enjoy as is to admire what you have just created. As for me, I usually garnish my noodle dishes with freshly chopped cilantro. But you don’t have to add it if you’re not a fan. The Chinese in me (Mom is 3rd generation ethnic Chinese born in Thailand) can explain my absolute appreciation for noodles. But the true and tested, and more identifiable Thai side also can’t help but reach for a heaping teaspoon or two of crushed roasted chili peppers. A splash of must-have Thai condiments – vinegar with slightly pickling chili peppers, fish sauce that provides a more complex umami effect than plain salt, and a pinch of sugar to round out the spicy, tangy, and salty tastes mixed together will surely make your palate dance to this simple Asian egg noodle stir-fry.