We don't want to talk about Sunday's football game. We don't want to talk about the Google bus protests. We don't want to talk about the drought. We just want to bury our heads in bowls of deep fried noodles.
Like these Crispy Noodles with X.O. Chicken and Bok Choy from M.Y. China, straight out of Carolyn Jung's cookbook San Francisco Chef's Table. Few things heal like the restorative properties in Chinese cooking: A little yin here, a little yang there, and you've got yourself almost whole again. While the recipe doesn't come with M.Y. China's famous hand-pulled noodle show, it does save you a trip to the Westfield mall.
Crispy Noodles with X.O. Chicken & Bok Choy
For the marinade:
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1∕8 teaspoon ground white pepper
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
For the sauce:
4 tablespoons chicken broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon X.O. sauce (available in jars at Asian markets)
1 teaspoon chili bean sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
For the rest of the dish:
8 ounces fresh, thin Chinese egg noodles
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 fresh hot red chili, thinly sliced
4 fresh shiitake mushrooms, caps only, sliced
1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
To make the marinade: Combine the rice wine, cornstarch, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and stir to coat evenly. Let stand for 10 minutes.
To make the sauce: Combine the broth, soy sauce, rice wine, X.O. sauce, chili bean sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
To cook the noodles: In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water, and drain again.
Place a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, swirling to coat the sides. Spread the noodles in the pan and press lightly to make a firm cake. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Turn the noodle pancake over, add 1 more tablespoon oil around the edges of the pan, and cook until second side is golden brown, 3–4 minutes. Remove to a serving plate and keep warm.
Place a stir-fry pan over high heat until hot. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, swirling to coat sides. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the marinated chicken and stir-fry until no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Transfer chicken to a small bowl and set aside.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan over high heat, swirling to coat the sides. Add the mushrooms and zucchini and cook for 1 minute. Add the sauce and bring it to a boil. Add the bok choy, cover, and cook for 1 minute.
Return the chicken to pan and stir to heat through. Pour on top of the noodle pancake and serve immediately.
Reprinted with permission from San Francisco's Chef's Table by Carolyn Jung, copyright (c) 2013. Published by Lyons Press.