Traditional Chinese food is something I have not had much luck replicating perfectly at home. I’ve tried. I’ve used recipes. I’ve got cookbooks. I’ve had some successes certainly, yummy results…sure, but tasting like true Chinese take out…no dice. I don’t know if it’s the ingredients, the equipment, the know-how. Probably all three. But I’ve decided to stop trying to figure it out. Some things should remain a mystery. So when I’m really craving Chinese I usually order out from the place a couple blocks from my house, and when I walk in the door to pick it up, the owner yells out, “Welcome home!” Then he hands me my food and says “Here you go, Cutie!” I get mouth-watering take-out and a compliment in less than 10 minutes, for under 10 bucks. Can’t beat it. So I don’t try. Instead, I do many Asian-inspired stir fry type things. They have less to do with recipes or ethnic authenticity and more to do with blending some of my favorite flavors with whatever happens to be in my fridge at the time.
My son Luke is a freak for noodles. Always has been. I’ve been feeding my kids ethnic food – really, whatever I was eating – ever since they started eating food. As a result, they like pretty much everything now. But when they were little, I started out simple, introducing them to new flavors slowly and adding more as we went along. Sesame noodles are something I’ve been making for them since they were small. It’s perfect for kids (or picky adults) because there are no weird ingredients. Simple and basic, they are perfect by themselves or with any stir fry. They are delicious served hot, cold, or in between. This time I paired them with a spicy broccoli stir fry.
1 pkg. thin spaghetti or angel hair noodles
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds (you can buy them toasted or toast them yourself a minute or two in a skillet on the stove)
2 tbsp. sliced green onions
Cook noodles according to package directions. Do not overcook! Drain and rinse (I don’t normally rinse pasta but I usually do with this since I prefer it at room temperature and don’t like it to stick together). Add other ingredients and toss.
Broccoli Stir Fry
1 tbsp. canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 cups of broccoli florets
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow pepper, sliced
1-2 tsp. garlic chile sauce (found in the Asian section of the grocery store)
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. sugar
Heat oil in skillet or wok over med-high heat. Add garlic & ginger and saute a minute until fragrant. Add veggies, stir fry for a few minutes. Add garlic chile sauce (add more or less depending on how spicy you like it), sesame oil and sugar. Continue to stir fry until veggies are crisp-tender. Serve with noodles.