Like many nerds or generally awesome people, I have a thing for Asian food. Japanese is some of my favorite but I like Chinese and Thai food as well. Making nice tasting Asian food though can be a difficult process or at least requires have the correct ingredients. I can’t even count how many times I’ve wanted pan-fried noodles but had none of the traditionally expected ingredients to make it out of. It is thanks to my mother’s influence and my stubborn nature that I can provide this non-specific recipe for pan-fried noodles. There are several important components and for each component, I’ll offer several options, both so that it can match your own person tastes and match what is in you cupboard/refrigerator. Note that due to the imprecise nature of the recipe, each time you make it will taste different and there is a small chance of it being not particularly delicious. Failures like these are always a factor when cooking from such fluid recipe but I feel that that makes the successes all the more delicious.
One of the trickiest components of the pan-fried noodles. If you happen to have teriyaki sauce or other actual Asian sauces on hand and like the taste this part is easy. Otherwise there are many things you can make a suitable sauce from that can be found in a normal kitchen. Below are some good options but feel free to try others.
Sweet Bases: Orange Juice, Barbecue Sauce, Pineapple Juice (from can of pineapple chunks okay), Brown Sugar, Ketchup, Jelly
Salty Bases: Soy Sauce, Peanut Butter, Chicken Broth, Beef Broth
Spicy Bases: Salsa, Hot Sauce
Spices: Cumin (smokey), Chili Powder (spicy), Curry Powder
An important thing to remember when mixing these together to make a sauce is to balance out salty stuff with some sweet and sweet with some salty. Also remember to mix these sauces together in a separate bowl and taste frequently to see if it is turning out as desired. Make plenty to make sure that you have enough to cover your all your ingredients.
Examples: Peanut Butter + Soy Sauce + Brown Sugar = Salty
Orange Juice + Soy Sauce + Hot Sauce = Sweet and Spicy
Barbecue Sauce or Ketchup + Beef Broth + Cumin = Sweet and Smokey
Protein, Vegetables and Fruit
This is really a matter of taste and what you can find. Below are some personal suggestions.
Proteins: Chicken, Beef, Pork, Shrimp, Ham, Tofu, Nuts (crushed), Eggs
For eggs, crack the desired amount of eggs into the dish once all the food is mixed together and being fried up. Flip and stir for a long time, at least until the dish appears filled with scrambled eggs. Cook all other raw proteins in either oil or the sauce you have prepared until done.
Vegetables: Bell Peppers(note: red and yellow are sweet while green are slightly bitter, keep in mind with sauce prepared), Carrots, Broccoli, Celery, Water Chestnuts, Bean Sprouts, Spinach (gets slimy but some people don’t mind that texture), Mushrooms, Bok Choy, Sweet Potatoes, Onions
Fruit: Pineapple, Normal Oranges or Mandarin Oranges if you like that whole fruit in stir fry thing
For both fruit and vegetables make sure to cut in to small pieces. Separate out any of the firm vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, or sweet potatoes from the rest of the stuff.
Any long, thin noodle will work. Some personal favorites are: Ramen, Spaghetti, Udon, Rice Noodles
Put water on stove. Add sweet potatoes if part of your dish. Bring water to boil. Add noodles. Add carrots or broccoli if either are a part of your dish Prepare noodles according to instructions. Strain and keep in strainer.
Now it’s time for the final step, putting it all together. Find a large saucepan/fry pan or actual wok. Add just enough oil to coat the base of the pan (canola or olive are best). Heat up pan. Once oil is hot, add noodles, protein, vegetables, fruit and enough sauce to coat it. Toss in oil until vegetables start to brown and everything seems warm. Eat!
While these impromptu pan-fried noodles might never be as good as the ones you can get from you favorite Asian food restaurant, they are easy to make and can add a little taste of Asian cuisine to your day to day life.