Pan-Fried Noodles with Chicken
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Recipe courtesy of Andy Liang for Food Network Kitchen

Crispy Pan-Fried Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables (Gai See Liang Mein Wong)

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 5 hr 45 min (includes soaking time)
  • Active: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
Crispy pan-fried noodles originated in the Shanghai and Suzhou region of China. As Shanghainese people migrated to Hong Kong, the dish came with them and became very popular there. It’s known by a number of names, including “Hong Kong–style noodle” and “pan-fried noodles” in English; in Cantonese, it’s often called “gong sik chow mein,” and also the traditional “liang mein huang” (literally “two face golden,” describing the two golden sides of the noodle nest). This recipe is the restaurant-style version with crunchy deep-fried noodles surrounding sautéed chicken and vegetables covered in brown gravy. As the gravy coats the noodles in the center, they soften and become similar to lo mein in texture. You can substitute other proteins for the chicken (beef, pork or shrimp, for instance); just adjust the cooking times.



Special equipment:
a 14-inch wok; a deep-fry thermometer
  1. Combine the dried mushrooms and 2 cups cool water in a medium bowl. Cover and let soak at room temperature for 4 hours.
  2. Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a 14-inch wok over high heat. Cook the noodles according to the package directions until tender all the way through, about 3 minutes. Strain the noodles and divide them between two plates. Lift small amounts of noodles up and down with chopsticks to cool the noodles and form each plate of noodles into an 8-inch “bird’s nest” shape. Let them cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, lightly cover with plastic wrap and set aside. 
  3. Meanwhile, cut the chicken thighs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Mix the chicken and 3/4 teaspoon each salt, sugar, cornstarch, light soy sauce and Shaoxing wine together in a medium bowl and toss to coat. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon neutral oil until combined. Cover and refrigerate. 
  4. Once the mushrooms are nearly rehydrated, bring 6 cups of water in the same wok to a boil. Blanch the carrots until slightly tender, about 1 minute. Strain the carrot out of the water with a spider or slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool slightly. Bring the water back to a boil, add the bok choy and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Strain the bok choy and place with the carrot. Set aside.  
  5. Prepare the scallions by cutting them into 2-inch pieces, then thinly slicing them lengthwise. Chop the garlic so everything is ready for stir-frying. 
  6. Meanwhile, mix the oyster sauce, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon light soy sauce, and the dark soy sauce together in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside. 
  7. Mix 2 tablespoons cornstarch and 5 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.  
  8. Remove the mushrooms from the water with a slotted spoon (reserve the soaking water). Squeeze the water from the mushrooms, cut off and discard the stems and thinly slice the caps. Mix the sliced mushrooms with 1/2 teaspoon each salt, sugar, cornstarch, light soy sauce and Shaoxing wine in a small bowl. Add 1/2 teaspoon neutral oil and mix until combined. Mix the mushroom soaking liquid with the oyster sauce mixture until combined. 
  9. Pour enough neutral oil into a wok (about 5 cups for a 14-inch wok) so it comes 2 inches up the sides but not above halfway up the wok. (See Cook’s Note.) Heat over high heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F on a deep-fry thermometer.  
  10. As the oil is heating up, loosen the noodles again just before frying by using chop sticks to separate and fluff them. Transfer one cooled noodle nest into a large spider, slowly and carefully lower it into the hot oil (step away from the wok as the oil may splatter for the first few seconds). Fry for 5 minutes. Flip the noodles using the spider and chopsticks, push any noodles back that are sticking out to keep the shape, and fry until the edges of the nest are crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the crispy noodles to a paper towel–lined plate. Wipe off as much oil as possible; the nest will crisp more as it sits. 
  11. Repeat with the remaining nest of noodles, adding more oil to the wok if necessary to make sure the noodles are completely submerged. Drain on another paper towel–lined plate. Carefully discard the oil.  
  12. Heat the wok over high heat until smoking. Pour in 1 tablespoon neutral oil and swirl it around the wok to coat the surface. Spread the chicken in an even layer and fry undisturbed until it starts to brown, about 2 minutes. Toss and stir-fry until the chicken is opaque, about 1 minute. Add the shiitake mushrooms and chopped garlic; stir fry for 1 minute. Pour the remaining 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine around the sides of the wok and stir fry until the wok is dry again, about 30 seconds.  
  13. Add the oyster sauce mixture, carrots, bok choy and scallions. Bring to boil, slowly drizzle in half the cornstarch slurry and mix until thickened, about 30 seconds. Add more if needed.  
  14. Transfer the noodle nests to plates or platters and pour the sauce into the middle of the crispy noodles. Serve hot. 

Cook’s Note

Make sure that the oil reaches at least 2 inches in depth, but don’t fill the wok more than halfway; the oil will expand and bubble up when the noodles are added and it’s important that it doesn’t spill over and possibly cause a grease fire. If you only have a smaller wok that’s less than 14 inches in diameter, divide the noodles into 3 or 4 smaller portions.