Noodles are most popular in the wheat-growing north of China, but all Chinese enjoy a steaming bowl of noodles as a light meal or midnight snack. In Asia, noodle shops or noodle vendors with their carts are everywhere.
Recipe courtesy of Easy Asian Noodles by Helen Chen; Copyright Wiley, 2010
|12 ounces Chinese wheat or egg noodles, or thin spaghetti or vermicelli||1 teaspoon cornstarch|
|4 cups canned chicken broth, plus 4 cups water||1 teaspoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry|
|3 slices unpeeled fresh ginger||1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, shredded, about 2 cups|
|1 teaspoon salt, or to taste||5 cups spinach, watercress, or napa cabbage, cut into 2-inch pieces|
|1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper||2 teaspoons sesame oil, for garnish|
In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until a little more tender than al dente. Stir occasionally to keep the noodles from sticking together. When done, drain, rinse thoroughly with cold water, and set aside to drain again.
While the noodles are cooking, mix the chicken broth, ginger, salt, and pepper together in a saucepan and heat to boiling.
In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and wine together and add the chicken. When the broth is boiling, add the well-stirred chicken mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the chicken shreds are separated and white, about 1 minute. Stir in the greens and cook, stirring, just until wilted; if using napa cabbage, cook until the white parts are translucent, about 2 minutes.
When ready to serve, reheat the noodles by rinsing them with a kettle of boiling water or under hot tap water. Drain and divide the noodles among 4 individual bowls. Remove and discard the ginger, if desired. Ladle the hot soup over the noodles and top with pieces of chicken and vegetables. You can also reheat the cold noodles in the soup and then divide them into bowls with the chicken and vegetables, and ladle on the hot broth. Drizzle 1⁄2 teaspoon sesame oil into each bowl. Serve hot.
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