Making Chicken Stir-Fry with Rice Noodles

Stand on any street corner in Far East Asia and you are immediately embraced by the smell of street food. It is one of the delights of the marketplace and should be experienced if only once in your life. One of those dishes will most likely be centered around the staple of  noodles. Dishes using them are extremely easy to prepare. For students, this is a must if you want to feed yourself properly. Here is chicken stir-fry with rice noodles. Once it’s prepared the smell of garlic and soy sauce smells of a Thai street corner.

This classic street food is based on a mix of Gordon Ramsey’s recipe with inspiration from Jamie Oliver and the myriad Youtube recipes that use rice noodles and you can knock-up as a simple dish for lunch and supper. Gordon’s view is that such a dish should be one third noodles, one third vegetables and one third protein that is coming from the chicken. 

Rice noodles are easy to use and prepare but they’re also easy to screw up. Chicken too is healthy – little fat see! The key is all in the preparation of the chicken because you want nice thin strips of meat for frying. The thinner these slices, the crispier and even coloured they are when fried. It only happens if the chicken is truly thin enough.

I know one large chicken breast will serve two people easily but I go for one each. Adding whisked egg helps bring the noodles and chicken/vegetables together. You can also use shiritaki noodles and egg noodles too but rice is so much more here. 

The skills you learn here are:-

a. preparing noodles

b. preparing a chicken fillet by butterflying it and then cutting off strips

c. handling a wok and coating it with oil

d. preparation of the vegetables and organization of the cut ingredients before frying.

e. using egg to bind the chicken/veg. with the noodles

Serves 2; Preparation time: 10 minutes; Cooking time: 10 minutes if that. Total time: 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet of dry rice noodles – 75g to 100g is enough per person.
  • 2 chicken breasts – medium to large
  • 2 cloves garlic – finely sliced
  • 1 broccoli head – sliced into strips
  • 1 tbsp olive oil although you can use vegetable oil such as groundnut and sunflower oil which would be better for frying in a hot wok.
  • A pinch of salt and black pepper.
  • 1 tablespoon of light brown soy sauce
  • Two eggs – whisk/blend and place in a bowl ready for adding to the noodles.
  • A pinch of salt and pepper for the scrambled egg.
  • 1 lime cut into quarters.

Preparation:

  1. Soak the rice noodles. Place the dry noodles in a large enough bowl. Pour freshly boiled hot water from a kettle over the noodles and let them rehydrate as they soak for between 12 and 15 minutes.
  2. Take a wok, skillet or frying pan with nice big sloping sides. Heat the wok. Take care not to burn yourself on the hot wok!
  3. Take a chicken fillet. Place flat on the surface and with one hand flat and firm on the surface of the fillet, slice in half horizontally to the palm. Use a sharp knife. Be careful not to leave any your fingers waving over the side of the fillet as cuts are not welcome.
  4. Create a butterflied chicken by cutting almost to the end of the fillet. Open the fillet out. 
  5. Take a rolling pin and press the fillet gently. It means the chicken fillet is even thinner and the pieces of meat cut away are also nice and thin. 
  6. Slice the fillet in half. Start slicing thin pieces off the fillet and with the grain of the meat. 
  7. Wash the knife and finely slice two cloves of garlic then a head of broccoli into strips. Do all the ingredient preparation now as the frying part will be fast.
  8. Add the frying oil to the hot pan and get it coated by moving the oil around. Jamie and Gordon just hold the pan and ‘wave’ it around so the oil coats most of the surface. That oil needs to just start smoking.
  9. Add the chicken first – there should be sizzling immediately.
  10. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. 
  11. Move the chicken around so that it seals and browns all over. 
  12. Add the garlic and spread both chicken and garlic around the pan so they are allowed to get nice and crispy. Keep the heat up!
  13. Add the broccoli, then the soy sauce. Sizzle for about a minute.
  14. Plate out.
  15. Wipe the wok (take care as its still hot) using a towel and add another teaspoon of oil. Make sure the oil coats the pan as before.
  16. Drain the noodles using a colander or sieve.
  17.  To the hot pan, add the egg and let it scramble in the heat. Jamie often just uses a balloon whisk so that the egg is spread up the sides. 
  18. Add the noodles to the pan followed by the chicken and broccoli in quick succession.
  19. Give the whole lot a good mix. Plate out in shallow bowls. See if you can get a good mix of meat and veg. with those noodles.
  20. Add quarters of lime for garnish and squeezing over the finished dish. 
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