The other day I came across a show called Just Cook This. It's hosted by Sam Zien, a no nonsense kind of guy who seemed to actually be cooking in his own kitchen. Or so he claimed.
Regardless, he was making beef chow mein and it looked delicious. Also, it was super simple: just peanut oil, tomatoes, beef strips, frozen chow mein noodles, and black bean garlic sauce. Nothing else. He didn't even season the meat, the sauce was sufficient flavor. So he claimed.
You see my theme? As straightforward as Sam appeared, I had to try this at home. Since the available chow mien noodles are usually made with things I have to avoid (eggs and wheat), I opted for saifun noodles. Saifun is thin threads made of mung beans, also called cellophane noodles, mung bean threads, Chinese vermicelli, or any variety of names. They come dried in a package of 3 bunches and are found in the ethnic or international aisle of the supermarket.
The first time I tried this recipe, I made it with beef strips. That was fine, but I wanted more veggies. So when I made it with chicken (which I DID season, lightly) I threw in some orange bell peppers and wilted red leaf lettuce. And because this was a test, I was only cooking for one. Which meant just one chicken breast, and a few other changes reflected in the recipe. You might want to use more noodles or vegetables if you're cooking for more than just yourself.
Chicken & Saifun Noodles
1 large chicken breast
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 ripe small-sized ripe tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges each
1 small orange bell pepper
2 large leaves of red leaf lettuce, chopped
1 bunch of saifun noodles
2 tablespoons black bean sauce (also found in the Asian aisle of most supermarkets)
Adobo seasoning to taste
1. Soak noodles in warm water for about 15 minutes before cooking. This will allow them to soften up.
2. Slice chicken into very thin slices. Season lightly with the Adobo seasoning.
3. Preheat a pan or wok on stovetop and heat really well over high heat, then add oil. When the oil is smoking,add chicken and stir fry for a couple minutes until it is cooked through. Remove and set aside.
4. With the pan back on the heat and smoking again, add a teaspoon of oil and the vegetables. Stir-fry about a minute.
5. Drain the noodles. Add them with the chicken and black bean sauce to the vegetables. Stir until the sauce is thoroughly covering everything and all is heated.
Yields 2 small portions
It was a solid dish. I had half of it for dinner and the other half for lunch the following day. It's even good cold.