A Totally Not Politically Correct Asian Meal

chen leftovers

I’ve mentioned this before, but Sunday night is not THE big dinner night over at our place. I know big, cooking, homey Sunday Dinners maintain a long tradition in many cultures (especially my Italian friends growing up) but I’ve always considered Sunday to be order-in night. Ask DAD GANSIE, he’ll concur.

As such, this past Sunday, after a trip to see my sister play rugby in PA (yes, BS, Alex, 80P, SAG, Morgansm and I all tailgated for this monster event) and party at my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah, we ordered in Mr. Chen’s Organic Chinese Cuisine. Now, Chen’s has gotten some love from District residents, but I really don’t see it.

Last time I ordered there I got the Rice Noodles with vegetables. And I didn’t like it. But of course, I totally forgot when I ordered this past Sunday, and ordered it again. (Rice noodles are the kind you get with Pad See Eaw, a dish I do love.) I was craving thin, long noodles and what I got were those thick, wide noodles. I mean, who doesn’t love twirling noodles on a fork? Or fumbling with chopsticks?

After I finished eating, I marked a “NO” next to its name on the menu; but that still didn’t alleviate the immediate problem: leftovers.

Seared Rice Noodles

My inspiration for this redone version of the noodles was baked spaghetti pie. Well, a loose interpretation of it. Oh, and this is a real, scrapping together what I have kind of dish. I was away last weekend and I’m going home this coming weekend (re: Passover) so I didn’t bother going to the store.

I first sliced half of a white onion into circles. I dropped that on a super hot pan with a coating of sesame oil, chili oil and fish sauce. After the onion browned a bit, I took them out of the pan and added some of the left over veggies (broccoli, carrots, snow peas, mini corn – which I hate, but eat anyway) from the original meal, plus the rest of my jar of roasted red peppers. Once that was warmed through, I added that to the pile of onion.

While things were going in the pan, I chopped up noodles so they would lay flat (from the fridge they kinda clumped together). I then got the pan really hot, added some sesame seeds and then added in that same coating as stated before. Careful not to let the oil splatter, I placed in the noodles and the veggies and pressed everything down to make it a flat surface on the top and to try to make as much of the food as possible be in contact with the pan. I also put a lid on it. Not really sure why or if it was the right thing to do.

I then tried to flip the noodles to get the other side brown. I also added in a few splashes of soy and some chili garlic sauce, because, the best way to make something better is to either (a) add cheese, (b) add heat or (c) if you’re BS, add bacon. At the end, I spritzed on lime juice.

If you checked out the inspiration link, I wanted this to be frittata-like, meaning I wanted it to be cohesive. Well, I’m not sure how I thought that would work without some sort of binder, so yes, it didn’t stick together. But that’s okay. The sear on the noodles, plus the flavor enhancers, truly helped this previously dull noodle dish. Man I love re-doing leftovers.

Disclaimer – I clearly have no clue regarding authentic cooking from different Asian countries. Which is one thing I do want to learn. But for now, I’ll throw anything that I think has an Asian persuasion into a dish (re: sesame seeds, soy sauce, chili garlic sauce…) Advice would be nice.

Mr. Chen's Organic Chinese Cuisine in Washington

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  • BS April 17, 2008  

    wow I love this idea. I really like it when you recook noodles in a pan and you get a crispy brown coating thing going on. As for the cohesiveness, is it the cheese that holds it together in that spaghetti recipe? I guess you can’t do cheese in Asian, huh? hmm, I dunno, good q.

  • gansie April 17, 2008  

    i was thinking egg as the usual binder…not sure if that would work here, though.

  • BS April 17, 2008  

    maybe you could do egg. Egg is allowed in Asian.

  • gansie April 17, 2008  

    you, but then i think i’d have to bake it, right? otherwise it’d just scramble in the pan?

  • miked. April 17, 2008  

    not so g. You can just use the tortilla de patata (aka tortilla espanola/aka tortialla de papas) flip technique… haven’t I shown you this? When you think it’s ready to flip, put a plate face down on your pan. Hold firmly to the top of the pan and flip it over, holding it above your shoulder like a waiter with a tray. Then you lift the pan off, and the cooked side of the “tortilla” is face up on the plate. Put the pan back on the burner and then slide the tortilla into the pan… The good thing is that is slides easily because of the uncooked eggs… Does that make sense? Might require a visual.

  • gansie April 18, 2008  

    well, i tried to do the plate flip trick, but i guess w/o the egg, it didn’t stay together at all (hence the no mention of this.)

    so, for next time i’m redoing leftovers, i should mix the noodles, veggies and eggs in a bowl and then place that in the pan?

  • miked. April 18, 2008  

    i would cook everything up like you did and pour the egg in after. You can mix it around in the pan to ensure even distribution.

  • Maidelitala April 21, 2008  

    Speaking of mixing asian food was some weird as things. I cooked eggplant marinara and whole wheat spaghetti on Friday night for my last pasta-lovin dinner for eight days (trying to be a good jew this year and keep kosher for passover… I cheated on saturday night in the midst of general drunkeness I forgot and ate some definitely not-kosher for pesach cereal… damnit! but I had matzo farfel in the morning to make up for it…) Anyway, I digress. Last night I had the disntinct displeasure to sit next to the BF while he chowed down on the eggplant marinara and spaghetti with an apple flavored italian sausage on top mixed with (wait for it) mixed vegetables and steamed tofu in garlic sauce from Banana Leaves http://www.mybananaleaves.com/BLMenu.htm. Ewwwwwwwwww. AND he said it was good.

  • Pingback: Open Thread: The Pasta-bilities | Endless Simmer February 8, 2010  

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