I went overboard and made the simple Chinese chicken stock from scratch for the noodles. You can always use store bought canned soup instead. If you're not in the mood of preparing the stock and there is no access to Chinese style canned soup, a high quality western style low sodium chicken soup will do the trick.
Ingredients (for two portions)?
Simple Chinese chicken stock - if you're up for it:
- 1 small Silkie chicken/black bone chicken
- 2 stalks of scallion
- 6 garlic cloves
- Some fresh plain noodles enough for two people (thin to medium thickness preferred)
- 5 cups of chicken stock
- 6 bak choy
- 5 stalks of scallion
- 2 tablespoons of dried shrimps (蝦米)
- 6 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of black bean soy sauce or oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoons of Shaoxing wine (紹興酒)
- 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of brown sugar
Discard the stems for two scallion stalks, peel the garlic cloves and chop off the ends. Put the chicken into a big pot and add in the scallion stalks along with garlic cloves. Pour in the water till the whole chicken is emerged. The red pot used here is the biggest one I have on hand, but I still tried to fill the water as much as possible in order to cover the chicken.
You can always substitute a small chicken with half large sized bird, which might also be easier to make stock with when no large pot is available.
Bring to a boil then lower to about medium heat to keep the stock simmering. Make sure to scoop out any floating grayish dirty bits during the process. More dirty bits come out when the stock is boiling but won't be too much after lowering the heat. Cook for two hours.
Once the stock is ready, save about 5 cups to make the noodles. The remaining stock can be strained and store in the freezer in few batches or as stock ice cubes. As for the chicken, I tore the meat into pieces and store them in the freezer. The meat can be revamped, such as cheesy bakes or spicy Chinese cold dish made before.
Rinse the dried shrimps and soak in cold water for about 10 minutes. Once slightly puffed up, drain and pat dry the shrimps with kitchen towel. Finely chop the shrimps.
Chop off the very bottom stems of the bak choy while the leaves are still intact. Blanch the bak choy as a whole. If the bak choy are too big, just tear off a few outer layer leaves and save them for other dishes in the future. Ideally, the bak choy should in one big bite size after blanching.
As for the remaining 5 stalks of scallion, discard the stems and chop some white section into smaller pieces for later use. Chop the remaining green part into about 2 inches in length. Take a pan with some depth or another pot, drizzle about 6 tablespoons of olive oil and turn to medium high heat. Add in the scallion strips and sear till semi-burnt.
Semi-burnt scallion is the key aroma for the noodles. The scallion strips should have somewhat brownish color when they're ready.
Add in the shrimps and be careful about flying hot oil. The shrimps contain water even after pat drying with kitchen towel, so when they hit the sizzling hot oil, it can get quite dangerous. I usually shield myself with a kitchen towel or with the lid during this step. Sometimes it's just like a battlefield in my kitchen.
Cook for about one minute then add in the soy sauce, black bean soy sauce or oyster sauce, Shaoxing wine, white pepper powder, salt, and sugar. Give it a quick stir then pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil.
Fresh and thin plain noodles are the best for this recipe because gooey sauce can easily cling onto this type of noodles. If using pasta as a substitute, try to find fresh ones that are still covered in flour.
Add the noodles to the boiling soup and cook till desired texture. Took about 5 minutes for the noodles I used. The flour on the noodles will make the soup gooey and sticky, that's what we want for this type of Chinese noodles recipe (煨麵).
Transfer the noodles along with the sauce to two bowls. Top with blanched bak choy and some chopped scallion.
The white section from the scallion has a stronger oniony kick compared to the green part. You can always use chopped green section if preferred.
Simple but very flavorful dish especially the aroma from the semi-burnt scallions. The small amount of Shaoxing wine also adds more depth and you won't even notice any alcohol burns. This can also be a good meal after hangover, nutritious (from the stock), comforting, and easy to eat.