Friday, April 30, 2010

The Squirrel Can Cook - Oriental Beef Noodle Bowl

Maybe it has something to do with growing up in the Pacific Northwest. The Pacific Northwest is an interesting blind of European, Asian, & Native American cultures and cuisines. The Pacific Northwest is probably the area of the United States most influenced by Asian cuisine. I grew up around wonderful Asian restaurants, and Asian style food has always been a favorite with me, and has featured strongly in The Squirrel Can Cook features (and will, no doubt, continue to in the future.)

One of my favorite places to eat has always been the Mustard Seed, an Asian café that opened in Missoula back in 1978, when I was 13. It quickly became one of my preferred places to take a date when I was in high school and college. (The Fireworks Chicken [“Deep-fried boneless breast of chicken topped with a spicy hot tomato sauce flavored with sherry and Asian chilies.”] is a must-try dish!)

In 1992, the Mustard Seed started a fast-food little cousin, called Noodle Express. Today’s recipe is a knock-off of the type of food served there.

We will need:

1 - 8oz steak, sliced into thin strips
1 – “bundle” of Somen noodles
1 – 28oz can of La Choy Chop Suey Vegetables
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
2 tablespoons of olive oil (garlic infused)
2 tablespoons of soy sauce

Cook the noodles for 4 minutes, rinse well with cold water until the noodles are cool to the touch, drain & set aside.

Open and drain the can of Chop Suey vegetables. You need to reserve ½ cup of the liquid from the vegetables. We’ll use this as the base for our sauce.

Combine the ½ cup of vegetable liquid with the sugar, sesame oil, olive oil & soy sauce, mix well, and set aside. I make sauces like this a lot, and I like to use a jar with a tight lid. It’s easier to shake it all together to mix the sauce.

Heat wok or cast iron skillet over high heat for about 2 minutes on a gas range. It will take a little longer on an electric range. As you can tell from the pictures, I used my cast iron skillet. In retrospect, I wish I’d used my wok. The higher sides and the round shape would have made it much easier to combine all the ingredients at the end.

Cook the steak strips for about 2 minutes until done, being careful not to overcook the meat. It should still be a little on the pink side when you add vegetables. Add the vegetables, mix well and cook another minute, stirring continuously. Then mix in the noodles and stir until the noodles are heated through.

Give your jar of sauce a good shake (or your bowl a good stir) and pour it into the pan. Bring the pan to a boil while stirring. When it reaches a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat and serve.

Serves 4. Enjoy!

The Squirrel shall not live by bread NUTS alone!

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