Posts tagged ‘noodles’

Five Spice Chicken and Noodle Stir-fry

I have a confession.

Stir-fries make me a little nervous.

Why you ask?

All that heat!
You have to cook everything very quickly, and at a really really high temperature.
The result?

Spitting oil,

excessive smoke,

smoke detector going off,


At least, that’s pretty much how it goes in my head.

In reality it’s not quite as dramatic. It’s more like I just get really busy flinging everything in the skillet, stirring it around, trying to avoid any spitting oil (okay, that part is true), and not being able to hear anything my husband is saying because the vent for our stove is so ridiculously loud.

So, I honestly don’t make all that many stir-fries. Plus, I have an electric stove, and I think you really need a gas stove and a wok to make really good stir-fries, but that’s just my opinion.

I decided to try out this stir-fry recipe from Jamie Oliver, however, because it sounded interesting yet yummy, is really fast, and quite simple, really.
I wondered if such a simple and fast recipe could be really good or not, so I tried it out.
And it was really good!

It’s called Chicken Goujons with Noodles, but I call it Five Spice Chicken and Noodle Stir-fry. Whatever you call it, it’s definitely tasty, but not your average stir-fry. If you have a really busy night coming up, give this a try. The five spice powder gives it an intriguing flavor that’s delicious with the chicken. Did I mention it’s fast?

Five Spice Chicken and Noodle Stir-fry

(serves 2)

  • 8 oz. dried flat egg noodles
  • 3 Tbsp. peanut or canola oil (or any high heat cooking oil)
  • 2 medium chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried red chili
  • 2 tsp. five spice powder
  • 5 – 6 green onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • large handful of cilantro, washed and roughly chopped
  1. Cook noodles according to package instructions (typically these only need to cook for a few minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken, ginger, and chili. Stir around quickly, then add the five spice powder.
  3. Once the chicken is browned, add the green onions, soy sauce, and honey, and mix everything.
  4. Add the drained noodles and cilantro to the skillet. Toss everything together, adjust the seasoning to taste (add more soy sauce, honey, or five spice powder as desired), and serve.

recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Chicken Goujons with Noodles


November 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm Leave a comment

Vietnamese Shrimp Vermacelli Bowl

I think I mentioned recently how I’ve been on a big Asian food kick recently. I always love Asian food, but I’ve been fixing it multiple times in a week recently.

One thing I recently discovered that I’ve fallen in love with, is vermicelli bowls. They have them at Vietnamese Pho restaurants, and if you’ve never had them, they’re awesome. They’re also a great alternative to pho in the summer time when you want something a little bit cooler.

If you don’t know what it is, usually you get a bowl of rice vermicelli noodles with some kind of marinated and grilled meat (or tofu) on top, along with lettuce, cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, bean sprouts, chopped up peanuts, and often a chopped up egg roll or two. It usually comes with the famous Vietnamese fish dipping sauce, nuoc mam cham. I’ve also fallen in love with this sauce. It’s tangy, salty, spicy, and sweet all at the same time. It’s brilliant. And delicious. You pour the sauce over everything, mix it up a little, and enjoy the taste of heaven in your mouth…

As you can probably tell by now, I like this dish (no, really?). I don’t know how it took me 25 years to discover it. I decided I should try to make my own version at home, and while it may not be quite as wonderful as the vermicelli bowls you get in a restaurant, it’s still pretty dang good!

I adapted my recipe from the recipe I found on The Ravenous Couple, here.

The recipe may seem complicated with all the different parts, but it’s really not. It’s basically just adding the stuff to different bowls and mixing it up. It’s not hard! I promise!

I forgot to add the lettuce before I took these pictures. Doh! Because that’s how I roll…

Shrimp Vermicelli Bowls

(serves 2 – 3)

For the pickles:

  • 1 c. carrot matchsticks
  • 1 c. daikon matchsticks (or you can use sliced radishes if you couldn’t get your hands on a daikon, like me)
  • white distilled vinegar
  • salt
  • sugar

For the fish dipping sauce, nuoc mam cham:

  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1 Tbsp. white or rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 chile, diced, or 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/8 c. fish sauce (add more or less to taste)

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 c. minced lemon grass (you can leave this out if you can’t find it)
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 – 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce


  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 14 oz. rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1/2 c. cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 c. fresh bean sprouts (or canned if you can’t find them fresh)
  • A few handfuls of leaf lettuce, torn into pieces
  • 1/2 c. toasted peanuts, chopped
  • A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
  • egg rolls (optional)
  1. First, make the pickles. Add the carrot and daikon matchsticks to a small bowl. Cover with vinegar until the vegetables are just covered. Add salt and sugar gradually, until the desired taste it reached. Note: you’ll need more sugar than salt, as the vinegar solution should be tart, sweet, and only a little salty. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
  2. Second, make the marinade. Add all the marinade ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Add the shrimp and mix until all the shrimp are well coated. Cover and refrigerate one or more hours (30 minutes minimum).
  3. Next, make the fish sauce. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Cover and refrigerate.
  4. Cook the vermicelli noodles according to the package instructions. Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  5. Cook the shrimp in a med-hot skillet or on a grill until completely cooked through.
  6. Divide the noodles into bowls. Place the cooked shrimp on top, along with the strained pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, bean sprouts, lettuce, peanuts, and cilantro (if desired). Serve with the nuoc mam cham sauce and chopped up egg rolls if desired.

July 11, 2012 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Shrimp

I’ve been on a big Southeast Asian food kick recently.

I always like Asian food, but recently I’ve been making it more often than usual.Especially Thai and Vietnamese food.

This recipe for Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles I originally found on Skinnytaste. I changed the chicken to shrimp and a few other things to suit my own tastes better.

If you want to make something Thai, but are tired of Pad Thai and curries (albeit it would be pretty hard to ever get tired of either of those in my opinion), these peanut noodles are a nice change.

I suggest you add the Sriracha sauce gradually to find the spicy level you’re most comfortable with. It can get pretty hot pretty fast with Sriracha sauce, but man, it’s so darn good. I love Sriracha sauce. Forget the Tabasco sauce. Give me Sriracha any day! Sriracha on pho, Sriracha on vermicelli bowls, Sriracha on spring rolls, Sriracha mixed with mayo on sandwiches…..
I digress.

Anyway, try out this noodles for a nice change from your regular Asian fare, and go as easy or as heavy on the Sriracha as you like. We don’t judge here. ūüôā

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Shrimp

(serves 5 – 6)

For the marinade:

  • 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
  • dash of salt and pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1 3/4 c. chicken broth
  • 5 Tbsp. natural peanut butter (not the sugar pumped kind)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger paste
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce (use more or less, depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 1 lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 Tbsp. peanut oil
  • 8 oz. rice noodles
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 2 c. shredded broccoli slaw
  • 1 c. fresh bean sprouts (optional)
  • 1/4 c. chopped peanuts, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
  • lime wedges and cilantro for garnish (optional)
  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the shrimp, and mix until the shrimp is well coated. Cover and let marinade for about 30 min. to 1 hour.
  2. In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sauce ingredients. Heat slowly, stirring occasionally until sauce becomes smooth, about 5 – 8 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Boil noodles according to package instructions.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a large wok or skillet over high heat. Add peanut oil. Add the shrimp and saute, stirring constantly, until completely cooked, about 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from wok.
  5. Add garlic, scallions, broccoli slaw, and bean sprouts to wok. Saute, stirring constantly, for 1 – 2 minutes, until slightly tender, but still crisp. Remove from wok.
  6. Drain cooked noodles and return to pot. Add the sauce, shrimp, and stir-fried vegetables to the pot. Mix until everything is well coated. Divide noodles between individual bowls. Sprinkle with toasted peanuts and cilantro (optional), and serve with a lime wedge.


July 3, 2012 at 8:48 am Leave a comment

Chop Chae (Jap Chae / Chap Chae) – Korean Noodles With Vegetables and Beef

Hisa and I are moving out of our apartment in less than a month!

The final countdown has begun!

*cue music*

Ba da da duuun

Ba da da da dun

Ba da da duuuun

Ba da da da da da

duuuun da da duuuuuun da da duuuuuun da da da da da da duuuuuuuuun da di da di duuuuuuuuun

Ah, sorry. I love that song though.

So we’re moving out of our apartment in less than a month. I’ve been trying to gradually get rid of things as it gets closer. Getting rid of things in Japan is not that simple though. You can’t just donate stuff to Goodwill (no such place around here), and you definitely can’t just throw stuff away.

Well, let me rephrase that. You can throw things away, but it takes careful planning and thought. All trash has to be separated according to the city’s standards and thrown away in the proper manner on the proper day.

If the trash is large (there’s specific measurements as to what qualifies), then it automatically becomes “over-sized trash”. For over-size trash you have to buy a special stamp (usually costing either 400 yen or 800 yen, about $4 or $8) to put on the item when you throw it away, call the city trash division, and make an appointment for them to come pick it up. Needless to say, over-sized trash is a bit of a pain in the butt.

I’ve been figuring out what needs to be thrown away and when, trying to sell other things, and figuring out what food we have a lot of that needs to be eaten/used before we leave.

For some unknown reason, we have a lot of noodles. Mainly Japanese somen and soba noodles (although we also have some Thai rice noodles). I’ve been trying to think of interesting recipes that I can use them for other than the basic cold soba/somen and hot soba in soup. It’s too chilly for the basic cold noodles, and although soba noodles in hot soup is good, honestly, I’m not a huge fan. So I’ve been improvising a bit.

I was searching online yesterday for interesting noodle recipes, and came across chop chae (also called jap chae), a Korean noodle dish with vegetables and beef. I love chop chae, but I haven’t had it in years, so I decided spur of the moment to make it for dinner last night.

Now if you know what chop chae is you might be thinking, “But wait! Chop chae involves neither somen nor soba!”. My answer to you would be yes, friend, this is true. But that’s what improvising is all about!

Chop chae uses cellophane noodles (also called glass noodles), which are made from sweet potatoes and turn clear when you cook them.

I used somen. Because I have a lot of somen. So there!

I also didn’t have any mushrooms or spinach (common ingredients for chop chae), and instead used Chinese cabbage (hakusai in Japanese). It still tasted great!

If you make chop chae, your noodles will be cellophane noodles and clear looking, unlike my somen noodles here. Or you can be cool like me and make it with somen!

I went a little crazy with the sesame seeds on top, but I just really like sesame seeds. Don’t hate.

Chop Chae (Jap Chae)

(serves 2 – 3 as a main dish)

  • About 250 – 300 grams cellophane noodles
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. cooking sake
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet cooking sake (mirin)
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced beef
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
  • 3 – 4 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced (or half of one Japanese negi)
  • 2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  1. Mix cooking sake, mirin, and 1 Tbsp. soy sauce in a bowl. Add beef and mix so that beef is coated. Set aside and let marinade.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook cellophane noodles according to package instructions. Drain and rinse noodles, mix with 1 Tbsp. sesame oil in a bowl, and set aside.
  3. Heat a little oil in a skillet over medium heat. Pour beaten eggs into pan and cook until egg is solid, without scrambling/stirring. Place egg onto cutting board and cut into thin strips. Set aside.
  4. Add a little more oil to skillet. Add onion, carrot, and mushrooms, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Add beef to skillet and cook until brown. When beef is almost completely browned, add green onion, garlic, and spinach. Cook for another 3 – 4 minutes.
  6. Add remaining 3 Tbsp. of soy sauce, and sugar, and mix. Continue cooking for 1 – 2 more minutes.
  7. Add egg, vegetable mixture, noodles, and remaining 1 Tbsp. sesame oil to skillet. Mix everything so that noddles and vegetables are well coated with sauce and heated through. Serve with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

I served my chop chae with a spicy Korean vegetable soup.



October 20, 2011 at 11:10 am Leave a comment

Today’s Lunch

I have a sudden desire to learn French these days.

I have no idea why, except for the fact that I’ve always found the French language beautiful.

I’ve been looking/listening/watching various resources online for learning French.

I honestly don’t know if this will last or be just a passing whim, but still, it’s fun trying to learn something completely new and different! Good stimulus for the brain! …or something like that.

Today’s lunch:

Leftover sesame somen noodles with veggies and chicken (same as the sesame soba noodles recipes, just somen instead of soba) and an orange

August 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm Leave a comment

Menu Plan Monday for Aug. 29 – Sept. 2

Man, I’m beat.

For whatever reason, I’ve been super busy at home this morning. It’s like Monday morning comes, and suddenly I have a million things to do. I actually haven’t stopped moving and sat down until now, and it’s 1pm. Of course in 30 minutes I have to leave to go to karate. **must fight the urge to stay home and take a nap instead**fight the urge!**go to karate!!**burn fat!!** At least I’ll sleep well tonight…



Menu plan for Aug. 29 – Sept. 2:

May your Monday and your week be less hectic than my morning has been!

August 29, 2011 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

Sesame Soba Noodles With Veggies and Marinated Chicken

I randomly came across a documentary called “The Business of Being Born” today (thank you facebook). It ended up watching it while I ate my lunch, and it was incredibly eye opening and moving. And by moving I mean it made me feel all warm and fuzzy by the end.

Basically it’s about the business of having birth by hospitals and insurance companies versus a natural birth and home birth. It talks about some of the history of giving birth in the U.S. as well as some frightening statistics, such as the fact that although midwives attend almost 70 – 80% of births in other developed countries, in the U.S. less than 1% of births are attended by midwives (instead of doctors in hospitals), and yet the U.S. has the second worst newborn death rate in the developed world. This documentary will really make you think. I recommend it to any woman planning on having a baby either really soon or just someday.

You can watch the trailer on the website here.

You can also watch the documentary on youtube here.

*        *        *

There are so many things in Japanese grocery stores that were (and for some, still are) new and strange to me. Some I’ve grown to love, some not so much, and some I still have no clue what they are (vegetable? fruit? toxic ooze?).

One item that initially weirded me out a little, but that I’ve grown to love over time is shirasu. They’re basically baby sardines or anchovies that are boiled and dried, and then packaged and sent to the stores.

Although you can use them for pretty much anything, my husband made a side dish with them that I love and have since copied numerous times. You just mix a lot of grated daikon (Japanese white radish) with the shirasu, and then add a little ponzu (a citrus and soy sauce based sauce). Mix it up a little and serve it cold. Delish. Here’s a close-up so you can see what shirasu look like.

I know a lot of Americans are weirded out by the idea of eating whole fish, but these are so little that’s it’s no biggie. Trust me, this is good.

Another food a lot of people in the U.S. are unfamiliar with (but a lot less likely to make them squirmy unlike shirasu) is Japanese soba noodles. They seem to be growing in popularity recently though, and I think you can find them available in most health food stores in the U.S. these days. Soba noodles are simply noodles made with buckwheat flour and are very good for you (whole grains people! whole grains!).

Although I love soba noodles served Japanese style (especially when served cold in the summer), sometimes something a little different is nice too.

This recipe is kind of a Japanese fusion recipe for soba noodles. It’s based on a recipe from this book, but like most recipes, I tweaked it a bit here and there to suit my tastes. Both my husband and I really liked this dish!

Like a lot of stir-fry recipes, you can use whatever veggies you want for this. It’s even good for cleaning out the veggie drawer. I would suggest, however, using fresh and in season vegetables. That’s my advice for pretty much any recipe, but I just wanted to throw that in there.

Sesame Soba Noodles with Veggies and Marinated Chicken (serves 3 – 4)

  • 300 grams (about 10 1/2 ounces) dried soba noodles
  • one large chicken breast
  • Marinade:
    1/4 c. soy sauce
    1/4 c. cooking sake
    1/4 c. white vinegar
    1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • Dressing:
    3 Tbsp white vinegar
    2 Tbsp soy sauce
    2 Tbsp sesame oil
    dash of cayenne pepper
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 leek (or several green onions), sliced
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp sesame seeds (for garnish)
  1. Cut chicken breast into bite-sized pieces. Combine marinade ingredients in a wide, shallow bowl and add the chicken. Mix so that all chicken pieces are coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or up to several hours.
  2. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Break the soba noodles into 3 or 4 even lengths (optional), and cook them in boiling water according to the package instructions. When finished cooking, drain, and run under cold water (unlike pasta, you always need to wash soba noodles after cooking). Set aside.
  4. Heat a large pot of boiling water. Add the broccoli florets and carrots and boil until al dente. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  5. Heat a about 1 Tbsp of oil in a skillet over med-high heat. Add the red pepper and leeks (or green onions), and stir-fry briefly until they get some brown on them (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat.
  6. Turn the heat down to medium, and add a little more oil to the skillet. Using a slotted spoon, add the chicken pieces to the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until completely cooked through. Remove from heat.
  7. In a very large bowl, and the soba noodles, vegetables, and chicken, and then pour the dressing over everything. Toss (using you hands is the easiest) well until everything is well mixed and evenly coated with the dressing. Add to individual serving plates, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve.

I served this dish with miso soup and the above mentioned shirasu and grated daikon dish.


June 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm Leave a comment

About Me

My name is Rachel. I'm a small-town girl born and raised in Oklahoma, currently living in Japan, who likes cooking, baking, reading, working out, and traveling. Join me in my culinary adventures, my domestic doings, and the story of my life, one day at a time.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 12 other followers

July 2018
« Dec