Sorry it’s been a little bit. I have been cooking up a storm but it’s been tricky to find time to sit down and write the recipes out.
We are going away for ten days as of Thursday. So not sure how much cooking I will be doing. That said I have a slew of photos from the past week – so I can try to catch up on posting… I am set to bake cakes for 20+ people this coming weekend, so we shall see how that turns out! I haven’t baked a cake since I worked in a bakery a decade or so ago. Ha! But shall be fun to try and hopefully not fail that many people! Thinking of trying out an Earl Grey Rose Petal Cake to please myself (hehe) as well as a Chocolate Hazlenut Cake to please the crowds. Stay tuned for that!
But anyway onto the task at hand. Let’s talk some Mì Xaò Dòn! YUM. I love Vietnamese crispy egg noodles. They are sort of like crispy chow mein but with a lighter yet somehow more savoury sauce and crisper veggies – and without the slippery texture. You can add meat or seafood of course but I love ’em with just oodles of veggies in all the colours of the rainbow! Copious amounts of fresh cilantro and hot chili oil and this girl (lady/ma’am/woman) is in crispy noodle lala-land.
What Ya Need:
Crispy Noodles: (start these first because they take a while!)
- Fresh egg noodles (use the chow mein style ones!)
- Oil (enough to coat bottom of pan + more when doing the other side)
- Onion diced
Fry onion in a pan with a little oil til golden brown – set aside. Boil noodles briefly to separate (about 1-2 minutes or per package). Heat a large pan with oil on medium heat. Drain noodles well til no longer dripping. Cook in hot pan for a long time! Prep your veggies while the noodles cook. They pretty much take forever to get nice and crispy and golden. I would basically ignore them for at least 15-20 mins for the A side. Once you can tell they are doing their thing you can flip them over with more oil to do the B side. Once the noodles are crispy and lovely set aside and mix in the yummy onions.
The Vegetables!!! Lots of them! My favorite combination for this dish is:
- Snow Peas (trim off ends)
- Broccolini/broccolette sliced into 1/4 lengths (broccoli is of course fine!)
- Carrots sliced diagonally into oval coins (rainbow if you can get ’em)
- Celery sliced diagonally (try to use organic as generic celery is in the dirty dozen!)
- Red & yellow bell peppers sliced
- Oil for frying
While your noodles are getting gold you can clean and chop all your lovely veggies. Don’t do anything until you have your sauce and toppings prepped! But once you do:
Sauce: (prep before cooking your veggies!)
- 1/2 bouillon cube (I use a chicken flavoured veggie cube or if I am doing meat or seafood an organic chicken cube – you can also just use stock but then leave out the water in the recipe and use 1 cup stock in lieu – that said the sauce won’t have quite the punch and will be more liquidy ( not a word) – unless you reduce it even more**)
- 2/3 cup boiling water (not quite the full 1 cup the package says to use. One cube is usually 2 cups water and half a cube would use 1 cup…. But we are making a strong stock to lessen the reduction time later)
- 3* tablespoons coconut/palm sugar (cane or brown sugar is fine!)
- 3* tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 3* tablespoons fish sauce
- 3* cloves of garlic chopped
- White pepper to taste (I think I use about 1 tsp)
*remember the happy little rule of 3 for stir fry sauce 😀
Put cube in a bowl with boiling water. Add the other ingredients and stir til combined. Pour sauce into the onion pan (once the onions have left the building…err the pan to join their noodley friends). **Reduce the sauce a bit and let it take on some of the oniony goodness! As well this ensures the sugar is dissolved and then later you don’t end up with sauce that is too watery. Once you add liquid to veggies it creates more liquid – as the heat releases the moisture from the veg of course…. So you want to reduce the amount before doing so 😀
- Cilantro chopped (fresh – washed and spun dry)
- Chili oil (with chili flakes)
So once everything is prepped. Then you can finally stir fry your veggies in the biggest pan or wok you got! Turn up the heat to blast off baby aka the highest it will go. Heat up some oil. A combo of grapeseed and olive oil is nice. I prefer the taste of olive oil but grapeseed can take on more heat. Toss in all your veggies and let them get a little browned by leaving them alone for a minute or so. Then toss them about a bit til they seem like they are indeed cooking but are still quite firm – then add in your sauce. This will basically steam the veggies so you don’t want to cook them for too long once the sauce has been added other wise they will no longer be crisp/tender – nothing worse than over cooked soggy veggies with a crispy noodle! Well plenty of things worse than that – but you starting to see how enthusiastic I am about my food so – I dramatized a bit ;P
So you will only have mere minutes to work with here but while your veggies are cooking place portions of crispy noodles in large/wide rimmed bowls. Once the veggies are done portion them out with tongs or a slotted ladle so the sauce remains in the pan. With the heat still on full blast let the sauce reduce a bit further. Once it has boiled and bubbled it’s way into being a bit less watery and a lot richer then you can spoon it out all over the veggies and noodles. I like a reduced sauce myself because it lets the noodles keep their integrity. But some places I have had this dish and the sauce is almost broth like. Try it both ways see what you prefer.
Now I am sure this would be divine using a pho broth instead of regular stock or cubes. But I seriously don’t have the time for that! That said next time I make pho perhaps I will reserve some extra broth in the freezer and give it a whirl! I think the added kick of the amazing spices in pho broth could take this up a notch! Perhaps next time I will experiment with adding some of those spices directly to this sauce. Anyway I love this version as is. But it can always be played around with. Especially with the veggies you use and whether you care to add protein. Prawns, squid and scallops is nice for the Pesce set. Or tofu of course if you are keeping it veggie, but I feel like with the fried noodles you don’t really need fried tofu and the texture of soft tofu wouldn’t be right. I guess a lightly sauteed firm tofu would work. But again I find it works best with just the veggies mouth-feel-wise (oh no you didn’t). For meat eaters beef is great. I would use that over chicken or pork – in my humble opinion – especially if you went the pho broth way! I feel like Ostrich could be awesome. Hmmmm will have to try that down the line. Maybe when I make a pho broth version. Mmmm Ostrich Pho. I wonder?!?!?
Anyway have fun with it. I love this recipe so much.
Here are the snaps!