When I was young and living at home, my mom tried hard to have a home-cooked meal on the table everyday. Usually, there’d be a meat dish, a veggie dish, and rice. She even managed to make a big pot of Chinese soup almost every other day. Of course there were days when she’d take a break. Those days were my favourite because they meant Chinese take-out.
Chinese take-out is nothing like homestyle Chinese food. Sure, you’ll have similar dishes, but take-out usually involves delicious deep-fried goodness. My absolute must-order dish on take-out night was seafood chow mein. When you get seafood chow mein from a take-out place, you get noodles fried to crispy perfection topped with seafood cooked in a rich, flavourful gravy.
The best part of the dish is the crispiness of the noodles. Sometimes, when I’m hit with the craving for crispy noodles I’ll make up some of these crispy noodle cakes. They’re fast, tasty and best of all, super crunchy. Seasoned with green onion oil and a squirt of sriracha, they almost make me believe I can give up meat.
i am crisp, i am noodle-y: i am crispy noodle cake!
Crispy Noodle Cake Recipe
- 2 cups fresh chow mein noodles*
1/2 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced (about 3/4 to 1 cup)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
1 small knob of ginger, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
oil for pan frying
Boil the noodles according to the package. Rinse with cold water and drain well. Set aside.
Make green onion oil by heating up 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a small pot over high heat. When the oil is shimmery and hot, add the green onions, garlic, shallot, and ginger. Be careful, the water content will cause the oil to bubble. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the sesame oil. Salt to taste.
Add the green onion oil bit by bit to taste to the noodles and toss. You may have extra green onion oil, reserve it to serve on the side.
Heat up a generous amount of oil in a frying pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, pile a small amount of noodles to form a cake. Press the noodles down with a spatula and fry until crisp and crunchy, about five minutes or when brown. Adjust heat if needed. Turn and repeat. Enjoy with sriracha and extra green onion oil.
*you can find these at most Asian grocery stores. They come in the refrigerated section and are usually label “Chow Mein” noodles. Sometimes they’re called “Steamed Noodles” or “Fresh Egg Noodles.”
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