Vegetable Fried Noodles

A lot of you checked in with me via instagram or email to see how we fared with our Big Blizzard Bo Ssam Dinner, and my answer is…well let’s just say I wouldn’t be too upset if the forecast called for another two feet of snow this weekend. It wasn’t our first attempt making Bo Ssam — Momofuku’s famous sweet, slow-roasted pork that gets wrapped in lettuce leaves and topped with all sorts of sauces — but I’m going to say it was our most memorable. I’m not sure if it was because, over the course of six hours, the pork infused the house with its sweet, rich aroma, or because our friends drove a mile through 26 inches of snow to be there for it, or because cooking when we’re snowed in tends to upgrade everything we make in our kitchen — from the ginger-scallion sauce to the Ssam sauce to the uh, chocolate chip cookies. (Let’s call it Blizzard Umami.) Whatever the reason, the whole thing was just right on the money.

Another fortunate dividend: The Bo Ssam recipe called for a few wildcard ingredients (gochujang, ssamjang) which was all the justification I needed to visit my favorite Asian superstore two towns over.  It’s impossible for me to walk out of places like that without stocking up on some authentic pantry basics: fish sauce, oyster sauce, rice vinegars, noodles (lots and lots of noodles), and a few other head-scratchers that only set me back a few dollars, and that I file under “Buy Now, Figure Out Later.” (Read: Dried Fried Scallions.) It was a good thing I did, because by the time the eight pounds of meat was in the oven and well on its way to miracle melty-ness, I remembered something important. Maddie, the 13-year-old daughter of our dinner guests, had fallen in love with pigs at farm camp a few years ago, and decided then and there to swear off pork for good. Not only do I, of course, respect this one hundred per cent, I was psyched to have a chance to experiment with my newly purchased supplies. I’d been meaning to recreate a fried noodle recipe that Andy and I used to order in Chinatown a hundred years ago — and it seemed as though all the stars and storms were aligning. Here’s what I came up with:


Vegetable Fried Noodles
Feel free to experiment with different vegetables. I would’ve added just about any green, but spinach was all we had. Cooked broccoli or steamed bok choy would’ve been great additions, too.

Stir-fry Sauce

2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
squeeze Sriracha
squeeze fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
tablespoon or so of packaged dried fried scallions (optional)

Noodles
1 tablespoon minced shallot (I would’ve used scallions but I ran out)
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
1/2-inch piece of ginger, minced
peanut oil
1 garlic clove, minced
16 ounces “Oriental Style” noodles (see photo) cooked, cooled, and tossed with a little grapeseed oil (they should pull apart, but still be a little sticky)
1 cup cooked baby spinach or thawed frozen spinach
Stir-fry sauce (above)
fried shallots (optional)
cilantro, chopped (for garnish)

In a small blender, whirl together all sauce ingredients. Set aside.

{Note: You’ll see in the next paragraph that I cooked the noodles in two batches. This is because I don’t have a very large wok — so feel free to do it all in one batch if you are better equipped than I am.}

In a wok set over medium heat, add half of shallots and half of lemongrass, and half of ginger to peanut oil, and cook for about one minute. Turn heat to medium-high and add half of garlic, stirring for about 10 seconds. Add half your noodles and toss once so garlic is distributed as much as possible (and not sitting on the bottom of the pan where it will burn). Let sit for about 2 minutes so the noodles get nice and crispy. Toss again and let rest to crisp up more. Add spinach and half the sauce, then toss to distribute and slide into a bowl. Wipe out the wok, add more peanut oil and repeat with remaining ingredients.

Top with cilantro and fried shallots. Serve warm.

What brands? Since a few of you asked me what brands I picked up, I thought I’d just post this photo, which shows the bounty from my latest trip. (It changes all the time, I’m not advanced enough to have brand loyalty.) I, too, get overwhelmed in stores where 90% of the labels are not in English, but I usually end up asking someone who works there for recommendations. I’ve also been known to choose products based on google image-ing…so forgive me if I label something completely wrong. (But please do correct me.) From Left to Right: Gochujang (red container, top), ssamjang (green container), oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice wine vinegar. Hope that helps.

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21 Comments

Renee

Jenny, I would love to know what brands of fish and oyster sauce you recommend from the Asian market. I’m ready to upgrade from the two varieties my supermarket carries. ( Just found an old Cook’s Illustrated article rating soy sauces, so I’ve got that covered. :-) )

Reply
Shiri

Jenny, any thoughts on how full a wok should get? I know a small amount of food is the secret to good stir-frying, so how big a wok do you think you’d need to make all of this recipe at once? Thanks!

Reply
Alyssa

which asian market did you go to? We live in White Plains (or will once again in the fall when we return from living abroad…) and I’d love to know where to go!

Reply
Jenny

We always go to Golden Village in Scarsdale — H Mart is good too, but sort of overwhelming to me. enjoy!

Reply
Lauren

Is it Hmart? If yes, could you please share brands of the sauces that you recommend? I love that store, but I
sometimes leave without the products that I need because I am so overwhelmed by the choices

Reply
Kelly

I live in Asia (Singapore, specifically) and those fried shallots are a mainstay in every kitchen. They’re great not just as a topping on fried noodles or fried rice. They work in soups as well – get slices of fish fillet and drop them into simmering broth, add some veggies (they normally use some curly lettuce, slivers of bitter gourd, tomato quarters) and drop in tiny strips of ginger. Throw in some rice noodles – thick rice vermicelli to be authentic! Just before serving, add in some milk to broth and throw in the fried shallots and bring to boil. The shallots become a little soggy and infuse the broth with their flavour. These shallots are used for a lot of other soup and noodle dishes, crossing across Chinese and Malay dishes (another fantastic dish is Mee soto).

Reply
Dana

Ha! Bo Ssam was my suggestion, and it is RIDICULOUS how proud I feel that you picked it. I love it, and one year it provided the best Christmas dinner ever – great for non-traditionalists (so not you, Jenny – I’ve been reading long enough to know)

Reply
Jenny

Yes, shout-out to Dana for the suggestion! You’re not going to believe me when I say this, but the last time we made Bo Ssam was for a CHRISTMAS EVE feast a few years ago. That’s as non-traditionalist as I get. Thanks for the great idea.

Reply
Jordan

I made something similar for dinner tonight, and sat down to read DALS while I ate. If only I had looked at it first, I could have made this recipe! I notice in the picture that you’re using oyster mushroom sauce, not oyster sauce. Can anyone comment if the taste is about the same? I’ve only ever bought the shellfish version.

Reply
Shell

Last weekend we had a Brussels sprouts side dish that had a sauce made with gochujang. It was so fantastic that we made our way to an Asian market and purchased the sauce to try to duplicate at home.

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MWANGAZA KITABU

I loved the part you honestly admit that ” I thought I’d just post this photo, which shows the bounty from my latest trip. (It changes all the time, I’m not advanced enough to have brand loyalty”.

So I also have a companion. ;-)
This article is so wonderful and informative. I love it!!!

Reply
sarajane

Awesome! I just impulsively bought a big tub of fried shallots and was wondering what to do with them, too! BoSsam is going into the project file.. unfortunately (for us project cookers), we didn’t have any snow, here in the Midwest.

Reply
Kate

Yum! This sounds great. My pantry is full of random stuff too that I toss in things here and there and see what happens. :) Making that Bo Ssam next weekend..so excited!!

Reply