Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Chicken and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Rice Noodles

The great thing about stir-fries is that they're fast and very flavorful with fresh ingredients and a variety of sauces. Here, I made a simple, five-ingredient sweet-and-sour sauce—no hot spices, just lots of flavor.

If you've not worked with rice noodles, good news: no boiling required. Rice noodles are so delicate they need only soak in water that has been brought to a boil, then removed from the heat. They're very starchy, and, as with wheat pasta, the starch helps the sauce stick to the noodles. If you don't want all that starch, you can rinse the softened noodles under cold water before adding them to the stir-fry.

The beans need to blanch in simmering water about three minutes, so prepare those first and remove, then steep the noodles in the same water with the heat turned off. Once the noodles are drained, the pan (or wok, in this case) is ready for the oil and remaining ingredients. Easy, fast cooking—in one pan.

Note: Japanese shishito peppers are sweet and mild, very thin, and two to three inches long, with firm but wrinkled texture. They’re often bright green, but they also come in a variety of “stages,” from green to yellow, orange, red, or a mixture, as I had for this recipe. You can find them in bulk at general Asian markets or in supermarkets with a really good variety of fresh produce.

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 lb boneless chicken breast, trimmed, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1/2 lb green beans, trimmed, snapped in half (or into thirds, if long)
  • 3 oz rice noodle sticks
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil, divided
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 thinly sliced shishito peppers
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts

Prepared Ingredients
  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients (through brown sugar) in a bowl, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
  2. Toss the chicken and 2 teaspoons cornstarch together in a bowl.
  3. Stir together the remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl. Set aside and re-stir just before using.

Stir-Fry Sauce
  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a simmer in a wok. Add the green beans and blanch 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a bowl of iced water.
  2. Remove the wok from the heat and add the noodles to the hot water. Steep 9-10 minutes, until softened but still firm. Drain the noodles in a sieve and rinse under cold water, if desired.
  3. Re-heat the empty wok over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil, swirling to coat. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Stir-fry until browned and just cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Simmered Green Beans

Steeped Noodles

Chicken Beginning to Cook

Stir-Fried Chicken
  1. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok and add the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry 30 seconds.
  2. Add the peppers, onion, and water chestnuts and stir-fry 2 minutes.
  3. Drain the beans and add to the wok. Stir-fry 2 minutes.
  4. Return the chicken and accumulated juices to the wok and add the noodles and reserved sauce. Re-stir the reserved cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Simmer, stirring often, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 1-2 minutes.

Garlic and Ginger

Pepper Mixture Added

Green Beans Added

Cooked Stir-Fry
Divide the stir-fry among 4 shallow bowls and serve.

Chicken and Green Bean Stir-Fry with Rice Noodles

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