International cooking for the youthful malcontent.

Shanghai Fried Noodles

Most of my Chinese food consumption happens at home (or in Scarborough). This dish has been a lunch mainstay in my family for years. The whole dish is cooked pretty quickly, but like with most Chinese dishes, there is a bit of prep that needs to be done before you fire up the stove. It’s simple, yet hearty and satisfying, and definitely not as oily as something you’d find in a mall food court.

This recipe is more of an outline rather than something set in stone. Feel free to swap the pork with other meat like chicken or beef, and while I’m only using napa here, you could also put some onions in to give it a little more flavour. Hell, put some other vegetables in there too if you want. However, the mildness of the napa works well with the other elements of the dish without complicating it too much.

Lastly, this recipe uses both light and dark soya sauce. This is important to point out because, unlike light soya sauce, which is salty, the dark soya is sweet. When combined, both sauces impart a more robust flavour onto the noodles. When it comes to eating, I like to pour a little bit of Scotch Bonnet hot sauce over the noodles for a bit of a sharp kick. If you’re not into spicy flavours you can leave it out.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Shanghai-style friend noodles (white ones)
  • 2 – 2.5 tsp of dark soya sauce
  • 2 tsp of light soya sauce
  • About 5 – 7 leaves of napa or flat cabbage
  • 6 – 8 oz of pork or chicken (marinated)

Ingredients for meat marinade:

  • 2 tsp of soya sauce
  • 0.5 tsp of sesame seed oil
  • pinch of sugar

What you will need: A large enough pan or wok that will hold all the ingredients, a small bowl to marinate meat, spatula, cutting board, knife, spoons (or a keen eye for pouring out sauce measurements), another bowl large enough to keep cooked napa and chicken aside in while frying up the noodles.

Pre-Directions, marinating the meat:

  1. Cut up meat into small, bite-sized pieces.
  2. In small bowl, add meat, soya, sesame seed oil and sugar. Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Let stand for, at least, 5 minutes.

Directions:

  1. Chop up napa into coarse strips.
  2. In a pot of water, bring water to a rolling boil. Add noodles. Move them around a little bit, to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Bring back to another rolling boil, then add another cup of cold water. Bring it to yet another rolling boil.
  3. Once double-boiled, test the noodles for chewiness. The noodles should still be a little too chewy in the centre. Take the pot off the heat, and let stand for 2-5 minutes. Make sure the noodles don’t get too soft. Drain and rinse the noodles to get rid of the extra starch, set aside.
  4. Brown the marinated meat, making sure it’s cooked. Put the meat aside in a separate bowl to be used later.
  5. Add the napa to the pan until tender, about 7 – 10 min. Midway through cooking the napa, add 1 tsp each of the dark and light soya sauces.
  6. Run strained noodles over a bit of hot water to heat them up a little before putting them in the pan.
  7. Put noodles into pan/wok to fry up (you may choose to add a little bit of vegetable oil to give some sheen to the noodles). Add remaining dark and light soya sauces with to the noodles, and mix until there is a consistent colouring on the noodles.
  8. Add napa and meat back to the noodles. Turn down the heat to medium to avoid burning.
  9. Once meat and veg are mixed evenly throughout the noodles, turn of the heat and serve!

As previously mentioned, you can add a few shakes of Scotch bonnet hot sauce to the noodles for a spicy kick. I’d advise against using certain hot sauces like Frank’s Red Hot, as they’re too salty, and overpowers the taste of the dish. The dish is pretty low when it comes to sodium, if you find it’s not salty enough, drizzle a little more light soya onto the noodles to boost the flavour.

Parting notes: I’ll add photos of this delicious dish, and the type of noodles you should look for,  shortly. For now, for a picture of the finished product, please refer to this specialized Shanghai Fried Noodles Flickr search I’ve crafted for you.

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