Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Brown Sauce Noodles

This recipe comes from a book I picked up years ago in the $10 bin at a bookstore. It's called Noodle, which is amusing to me, but it has paid for itself many times over in terms of how yummy these recipes are. One of the ones we come back to over and over again is this recipe for Brown Sauce noodles, which the book says is a translation of "Zha jiang mian."

The author of the book makes a silly joke about how the fight over who invented pasta extends now to who invented bolognese sauce, but he's on to something. The taste is anything but Italian, but the comfort and rich flavours are both there.

You need:

4 tbsp ground bean sauce*
1 tbs hoisin sauce
1/2 c chicken stock
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbs canola oil
5 spring onions, white part, chopped
1 tbs minced garlic
500g ground turkey**
400g fresh Shanghai noodles***
1 cucumber, cut into long matchsticks
2 spring onions, green part, finely sliced****
1 c fresh bean sprouts, blanched

* The recipe actually calls for brown bean sauce, but I've never been able to find it and now I've stopped looking because ground bean sauce is really really delicious.

** The recipe actually calls for pork, but I usually use turkey just because.

*** Shanghai noodles are sold fresh in Asian grocery stores. They are thicker than spaghetti - more like udon but not quite the same.

**** If you don't want to slice the onions, because it is a pain, I assure you that you can still make the dish pretty with chopped green onion and it will taste identical. It's good practice for knife skills, though!

So here's what you do.

1. In a small bowl, mix the sauces, stock, and sugar.

2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and fry the spring onion (white parts) and the garlic for 20 seconds. Then add the turkey and stir until it browns. When the meat is cooked, add the sauce mixture and simmer on a lower heat for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook your noodles in boiling water for 4-5 minutes. Drain and place in bowls.

4. Spoon sauce over noodles, then add a sheaf of cucumber strips, green onion strips, and bean sprouts. Enjoy!

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