Saturday, July 12, 2008

rice noodles with mushrooms, bok choy and bean sprouts

i finally went grocery shopping after my trip to north carolina but i didn't feel like making a list beforehand. this led to me wandering the aisles looking for inspiration...and i came across a nice little package of shitake, oyster and cremini mushrooms while browsing. i grabbed them and also added to my buggy (ha, oh grandma i love you) some baby bok choy and fresh bean sprouts. i bought some eggs (thanks, husband, for leaving just shy of a dozen eggs on the counter, overnight, as i had done just 2 weeks prior...), some thin rice noodles and some garlic hummus that makes me breathe fire (but that doesn't really fit in with my dish here).

when it came time to use these specific ingredients, i had no recipe in mind. so i went for a search and randomly came across a recipe that literally had all of the ingredients i had purchased, plus a few that i keep a stash of in my pantry. that package of mushrooms and this link were like destiny. 

but, i was hesitant. you see, i don't like eggs in these kinds of dishes. at least i didn't think i did. i know i don't like egg in maki rolls and i don't like slimy egg whites on my sunny side ups, either. but a few weeks ago i wanted to try something new with the very few ingredients in my house (this was just prior to NC and i wasn't grocery shopping then). i found a super easy recipe for egg drop soup and i went so far as to even consume it. it was fine. i wasn't in love with the egg texture but i didn't gag or throw soup at husband. in short, i survived. then i left the eggs out on the counter and we had to throw them out.

baby bok choy, chopped and sorted

mushrooms ready for stir-frying

mixed mushroom, bok choy and bean sprouts with rice noodles (recipe adjusted from link above)
7 oz thin rice noodles
2 c chicken broth
2 eggs
1/4 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tbsp chili garlic paste 
1 small onion, diced
2 c shitake, oyster and cremini mushrooms, sliced (you can use what you like)
2 cups bok choy, chopped (separate white stalk from green leaves)
1/4 tsp white pepper
oil for stir-frying
white wine or broth for stir-frying

1. heat chicken broth and add eggs - stir until yolks break and cook into broth
2. stir in fish sauce and soy sauce then set aside
3. heat oil in wok over medium heat and add garlic, onion and chili paste - stir-fry 1 min
4. add mushrooms and stir-fry for 2 min or until soft (add white wine or broth if wok becomes dry)
5. add white stalks of bok choy and stir-fry 1-2 min until softened
6. add the broth-egg mixture and bok choy leaves, stir to combine (taste test here, add more soy/fish sauce or chili if desired)
7. when broth bubbles, reduce heat and add noodles (lay noodles across surface and gently dunk to coat with liquid)
8. allow noodles to cook, carefully turning in the broth occasionally
9. when broth has absorbed (5 min or so), remove from heat and add bean sprouts and white pepper
10. stir to combine 
mushrooms and bok choy mingling with the sauce

laying the noodles out

i did notice that when i put my noodles in the wok, there wasn't quite enough liquid to cover them. i took the liberty of splashing some more white wine on and i'm pretty sure that did the trick. you could add some soy sauce spiked chicken broth as well, if you choose not to use wine. 

fresh bean sprouts

here's something i could have guessed: fresh bean sprouts are one billion times better than canned. of course, this is usually the case, but i was born and raised on the canned stuff. you know that la choy chow mein? the stuff with the "meat" and sauce on the bottom can and the "veggies" (including sprouts) in the top can? oh yes, i loved that stuff. and even now, in my semi-frequent "asian" cooking, i've used cans of bean sprouts. but, let me tell you, once you go fresh you never go back. (i can't make that rhyme in a funny way)

this looks far less appetizing in this photo than it was in real life, i promise

this dish was really good. super impressive good. i loved the egg broth mixture, the back of the throat spiciness from the pepper and chili paste, and the crunchy bean sprouts. it was enough for 4 meals (husband had two servings for one meal)  and tasted almost as good, but a little less salty, the second day. it was so basic in flavor and i will make it again, for sure. plus, as long as you use the bean sprouts (very important), i think any vegetables would be great in it. sugar snap/snow peas, colored peppers, other meat would be a great addition: shrimp, pork, or really anything but ground hamburger. 

so...even if slimy eggs make you dry heave, i think you'll like this dish. i promise!