Jul 11, 2024

Hot and Sour Glass Noodles for One (The Less Fiery Looking Kind)

English names for Chinese dishes can be misleading or confusing sometimes. The hot and sour glass noodles I'm making here is not the same as the fiery looking "suan la fen." Suan la fen is a Sichuan dish that looks red and oily, almost devilish in the eyes of someone who can't handle the heat at all.


The version I'm having here is much milder, but still with a kick from the Chinese aromatics. It's spicy, but in a way refreshing too, perhaps the julienned cucumber has something to do with it.


Hot and sour glass noodles for one - 


Hot and sour glass noodles for one


Ingredients?

  • 1 serving dried glass noodles 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 small stalk scallion
  • 1/3 skinny cucumber
  • 1 teaspoon toasted white sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons light-tasting oil

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon black vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 small pack/single serving chicken essence 


How?

Julienne the cucumber. Destem the red chili and give it a fine chop. Peel and fine chop the garlic clove. Destem and chop the scallion.


100% rice glass noodles

Mix all the ingredients listed under the "sauce" section. If you don't have essence of chicken, use some stock instead. Stir and make sure most of the sugar has been dissolved.


Take the serving bowl, add in chopped scallion, garlic, and red chilies. Also add in toasted white sesame seeds.


Chinese aromatics for single serving glass noodles

Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of light-tasting oil to a small pot and use medium to medium high heat. Wait till the oil gets really hot then pour that right over serving bowl. The aromatics will start sizzling when in contact with hot oil.


Adding hot oil to Chinese aromatics

If unsure about the temperature, you can try to drop in one chopped scallion and see if it sizzles right away. Timing the temperature of the oil can be tricky. Not hot enough, it won't do much to the aromatics; but if too hot, the oil might burn the garlic bits thus creating a bitter note.


Use another medium pot and add in some water. Bring the water to a boil and cook the glass noodles till desired texture. Once ready, drain and pour over to the serving bowl. Mix a bit with the oiled aromatics first.


Adding cooked glass noodles and blend with Chinese aromatics

Then pour over the premixed sauce and mix till evenly blended. Top with julienned cucumber and serve immediately. 


Hot and sour glass noodles for one


This recipe is a bit fancier than usual especially when you're just cooking for one. Of course you can simply use soy sauce, black vinegar, sesame oil, and perhaps some chilies for a quick dressing, but this version definitely adds more depth to it.


But more depth doesn't mean a lot more work. So if you have spare time and would like to level up the regular single serving noodles once a while, I hope this recipe can serve as some sort of inspiration there.


Extended reading:


Jul 5, 2024

Ponzu Flavored Cucumber and Bean Sprouts Stir-Fry

You know with just a bit more money, you can buy the trimmed bean sprouts at the market? I'm sure I've seen it back in the states, and sometimes the vegetable vendors will pick out the tips and charge more when they have idle time tending the stand. 


Unfortunately, I have to do the labor work myself this time. Such a time consuming task, but in order to achieve a more clean-cut bite, this step cannot be skipped. At least one good thing from picking the bean sprouts myself, I can save the tip, not the root, to other dishes, so nothing goes to waste. 


Ponzu flavored cucumber and bean sprouts stir-fry - 


Ponzu flavored cucumber and bean sprouts stir-fry


Ingredients?

  • 3 loosely packed cups trimmed bean sprouts
  • 1 loosely packed cup chopped scallion (try to use the white section first)
  • 3 to 4 skinny cucumbers
  • 400 grams tender and lean pork 
  • 3 tablespoons ponzu sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Some coarse black pepper 


How?

Use tender and lean part of pork. I got a special piece from the shank, otherwise matsusaka pork jowl can be a good substitute. Slice to big bite size pieces and about 1mm thickness.


Trim-off both ends of the bean sprouts. Peel and chop the garlic. Destem and chop the scallion. Aim for the white section of the scallion and we need about 1 loosely packed cup of it. If not enough, mixing some green section is totally fine.


Trim-off the ends of skinny cucumbers then cut into about 2-inch sections. Now here's the fun part, use the side of the knife and smash the cucumber so it'll break into smaller sticks. We want that irregular edge so the sauce can better stay on the cucumber.


Smashed skinny cucumber

Bring out a pan and drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Switch to medium heat. Add in chopped scallion and garlic. Also add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of coarse black pepper. Stir-fry till aromatic but not burn the garlic.


Cooking the Chinese aromatics

Transfer the pork over and cook till about 80% doneness.


Add in the cucumber and stir-fry for one minute. Then add in the bean sprouts, stir-fry for another minute.


Making skinny cucumber and bean sprouts stir-fry

Season with 3 tablespoons of ponzu, mix and give it a taste test. Adjust the seasonings if needed. I prefer leaving some sauce so I can scoop that and add to my rice to eat together with. Otherwise you can use high heat and reduce the sauce a bit.


Plate and sprinkle some more coarse black pepper all over.


Ponzu flavored cucumber and bean sprouts stir-fry


This is a pretty big portion stir-fry recipe, so do halve all the ingredients used for a "regular" serving instead. 


So what did I do to the tips being picked out? Half of them went to a chopped veggies stir-fry dish, and the other half was used in a fried rice. Me and Mister's meals during that few days were fulled of bean sprouts.


Other bean sprouts recipes: