Monday, September 20, 2010

0 Recipe #174: Mongolian-Style Noodles with Lemongrass & Basil

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Want to bring the flavors of Mongolian barbecue back to your home? Then try this recipe!

This was tonight's dinner. I was craving Mongolian barbecue, but it was getting rather late by the time we actually started to get hungry. And neither of us exactly feel like going out for take-out or having a sit-down meal at a restaurant. You see, the closest Mongolian restaurant to us is not exactly that close. ;)

Mongolian-Style Noodles with Basil & Lemongrass

1 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
1 (heaping) c. yellow onions, peeled & sliced into 1/4" thick crescent slivers (about 1/2 small onion)
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled & finely minced (about a 1" piece)
4 c. water
1 block (2 servings) of dried chow mein stir-fry noodles (or soba noodles)
1 Tbsp. garlic, peeled & finely minced (about 2 large cloves)
2 stalks lemongrass, dried (or fresh, if available)
1 c. fresh shiitake (or "Baby Bella") mushrooms, thinly sliced (about 4 large mushrooms)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. red chili pepper flakes
1/2 c. green bell peppers, destemmed, seeded, ribbed, & diced (about 1/2 medium-sized pepper)
1/2 c. red bell peppers, destemmed, seeded, ribbed, & diced (about 1/2 medium-sized pepper)
1/2 c. water chestnuts, sliced (about 1/2 of an 8 oz. can)
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp. dry sherry
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 c. fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, diced (about 1 1/2 medium-sized tomatoes)
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. whole scallions (including green stalks), sliced crosswise into small rounds (about 2 small scallions)
1 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, tightly packed & julienned (about 12 large leaves)
1/2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Directions: In a large 12-13" sauté pan, heat sesame seed oil. Add onions & ginger & sauté on low heat for about 5 minutes.

While onions & ginger are cooking, bring 4 c. water to a rolling boil in a medium-sized saucepot (about 8 minutes) & then add chow mein noodles, cooking for about 3 minutes. Drain & set aside.

Add garlic, lemongrass, & mushrooms to the sauté pan, & cook for 5 more minutes. Season with salt & red chili pepper flakes, & stir. Turn up heat to medium. Add peppers, water chestnuts, lime juice, sherry, & rice wine vinegar, & continue to cook until slightly tender. Stir in noodles, tomatoes, & soy sauce, thoroughly mixing together all of the ingredients in the pan. Only cook just long enough to warm tomatoes; do not allow them to become soft & mushy. Quickly remove from heat & transfer to plates. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, basil, & sesame seeds. Serve hot.

Yield: Serves 2-3 as a main course, or 4-6 as a side dish.

Chef's Notes: Please note that the chow mein noodles listed/mentioned above are not the crunchy, fried variety that are usually served on top of American Chinese food. These noodles are dried & are usually sold in a sealed package, usually in multiples of 3 or 4 "blocks" of noodle "cakes."

If you are serving this dish as an entrée, it'd be a good idea to add a protein source like tofu, chicken, or beef, for nutritional balance. Anywhere from a 1/2 cup to a full cup is a good amount, depending on how many people you plan to serve.

If you'd like to pump up the heat of this dish, try adding 1 Tbsp. jalapeño pepper (about 1/2 small pepper). Destem, seed, rib, & then finely mince. Add them at the same time you add the bell peppers.

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