Monday, November 29, 2010

"T'is the Season for Lo-Mein Noodle Stories"

Hands down, my mom’s most universally appealing signature dish is her lo-mein noodles.  If there’s a big, extended-family potluck, by popular demand, mom always brings her noodles.  For family holidays, even if we have a traditional Easter brunch with egg casseroles and cinnamon rolls, we must have a pan of mom’s noodles.  And best of all, when my siblings or I host big parties with a hearty cocktail buffet, we can rely on mom to whip up a huge platter of her noodles.  Even if I hire a caterer, I still ask mom to make her noodles to round out the menu.  When my dear friend from NYC visits over the holidays, we host an intimate cocktail party for her and her husband.  She always anxiously asks, “Is your mom going to make her noodles?”  Yup, even the finest restaurants in New York can’t match the Dragon Lady!

The best part of my mom’s noodles is that she always makes a huge mound.  (My family gets really nervous if we don’t have piles of at least twice as much food as we need.)  So if you’re

Dragon Lady Lo-Mein

Dragon Lady Lo-Mein, aka the ultimate party noodles:  double (or triple) the recipe, make ahead, then cover with aluminum foil and re-heat in the oven at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Also very buffet-friendly because it also tastes great at room temperature.  Offer plenty of hot sauce on the side!

 Serves 4
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 teaspoons corn starch
3 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, divided
2 tablespoons + 4 tablespoons oyster sauce*, divided
¼ cup sesame oil*
1 pound asparagus, rough ends trimmed; cut at an angle into 1 ½” pieces
1 pound Chinese noodles*
1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided

Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce*
Hot Chili Oil*

* in Asian food aisle of most grocery stores

Trim off excess fat from chicken thighs, and cut meat into 1/2” pieces.  Place in a shallow bowl.  Sprinkle corn starch on chicken and turn to coat.  In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons oyster sauce.  Pour over chicken and turn to coat.  Set aside. 

In a large stock pot, bring 5 quarts of water to boil.  Add noodles and cook until done (about 5 minutes).  Drain noodles in a colander, and rinse with cold water.  Shake out excess water completely.  Transfer noodles to a 9x13 Pyrex dish (or large platter).   In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons soy sauce, remaining 4 tablespoons oyster sauce and sesame oil.  Pour over noodles and toss to coat evenly.  Set aside.

In a large wok or sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat; add chicken and marinade juices, stir-fry until 90% done (about 5 minutes).  Remove chicken from wok into a clean bowl and set aside.  Add remaining tablespoon of oil to wok; add asparagus, sprinkle lightly with salt; stir-fry until heated through (about 1 minute).  Add chicken and juices back into wok.  Continue stir-frying for 2 more minutes, or until chicken is completely cooked.  Pour over noodles, toss gently and serve with Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce or Hot Chili Oil on the side.