The recipe hails from Jack Bishop’s cookbook A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. I LOVE this book! It’s a four hundred and fifty page collection of recipes organized by the four seasons. He suggests using one medium head of bok choy for this dish, but I had success with baby bok choy (it’s just so cute!). If you’re in a pinch and you can only find one of the two, take heart knowing either type of bok choy can be used.
The instructions may look long, but this is in fact a super simple dish to prepare. I strongly encourage you to make it. Halve the recipe if just eating for two. Enjoy!
Pan-Fried Noodle Cake with Stir-Fried Bok Choy
for the pan fried noodle cake
1 Pound fresh Chinese noodles (such as lo mein noodles)
1 Tbsp sea salt
3 Tbsp roasted peanut oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
for the stir fried bok choy
1 Medium head bok choy (about 1 3/4 pounds)
1/3 Cup water
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- Fresh ground black pepper
1 Tbsp roasted peanut oil
4 Medium garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp minced gingerroot
- Sea salt
1) First prepare the noodle cake: In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the noodles and salt then cook until al dente. Drain the noodles, leaving them still dripping with water. In a large bowl, toss the noodles with 1 Tablespoon of the oil and the soy sauce (the noodles can be set aside for up to 30 minutes).
2) (You may want to cook the noodles in two separate large pans for optimum crispiness. The choice is yours). In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 Tablespoon of the remaining oil until shimmering. Spread the noodles evenly across the bottom of the hot pan and use a spatula to flatten them into an even cake.
3) Cook the noodles until the bottom of the noodle cake is brown and crisp (about 5 minutes). [Lower the heat if the noodles start to burn.] Slide the noodle cake onto a large plate. Cover the plate with a second plate and invert. Heat the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil in the empty skillet. Slide the noodle cake, browned side up, back into the pan and cook until the second side is browned and crisp (about 4 minutes). Carefully slide the noodle cake onto a serving plate.
4) Next prepare the stir fry: Separate the leafy green portions of the bok choy from the thick white stocks. Then trim the ends of the stalks and slice them crosswise into 1/4 inch thick pieces (you should have about 6 cups of stalks). Stock the green leaves and cut them crosswise into 1/2 inch thick strips (you should have about 7 cups of leaves). Combine the water, hoisin sauce, vinegar, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl or measuring cup.
5) Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Add the bok choy stalks and stir-fry until softened (about 2 minutes). Then add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until aromatic (about 30 seconds). Add the bok choy leaves and the hoisin mixture and stir-fry until the bok choy is tender and the liquid in the pan has evaporated (about 3 minutes) – NOTE – for me, it took much longer than 3 minutes for the sauce to evaporate – don’t panic if this happens, just up the heat a smidge and don’t be afraid to serve the dish with a little extra sauce in the pan.
6) Adjust the seasonings and add salt and pepper to the stir fry to taste. To serve: Cut the noodle cake into four wedges and place each one on a serving plate. Spoon some of the bok choy mixture over the top of each noodle cake wedge. Serve immediately.