If you want a really fast dish, try this Chinese noodle and vegetable stir-fry. Once the cooking starts, you're done in five minutes. And you have the perfect dish to celebrate Chinese New Year, which begins February 19.
What makes it so fast is fresh Chinese noodles. They cook in only two minutes. Gai lan, also known as Chinese broccoli, cooks very quickly too, remaining bright green and slightly crisp. The mushrooms are soaked and sliced well in advance. And you can make the stir-fry sauce ahead of time, so there's no last-minute work.
A tip: use light-colored Chinese soy sauce, which adds saltiness without darkening the ingredients. Look for the words "thin soy" on the label. Low-sodium soy sauce may sound "light," but it's not the same.
STIR-FRIED GAI LAN WITH FRESH NOODLES
2 small dried shiitake mushrooms
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup mushroom soaking liquid
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons thin soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 to 4 stalks gai lan, about 3 ounces
1 cup fresh Chinese noodles, about 4 ounces
1 tablespoon oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced ginger root
Soak the shiitake mushrooms in water to cover generously until softened. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup water. Cut the mushrooms into thin slices and set aside.
Place the cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir in a little of the mushroom liquid until smooth, then add the remainder of the mushroom liquid, the chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. Set aside.
Cut the gai lan crosswise into 1-inch slices and set aside.
Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Add the noodles and stir. Boil 2 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. You can prepare them slightly in advance.
Heat the oil in a wok. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the gai lan and mushrooms and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the sauce mixture and cook until boiling and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
Add the noodles and toss until heated through and mixed with the vegetables, about 1 minute. Turn out onto a heated plate and serve at once.
Makes 1 main dish serving or 2 servings if accompanied by other dishes.