Tag Archives: noodles

A Take On Takeout: Sichuan Noodles

If there’s anything you’ve heard me griping about, it’s that my children are so weird with their food choices. They are keen to eat junk all day (if I’d let them) but I’d say about half the time I make a meal at home, I can barely get them to eat half of it. But NOT when we make anything from some other continent. Spaghetti? Pizza? They gobble it up. Asian food? They pretty much inhale it and then lick the plates (not really but they really really like Asian food. And Indian food.) Weird?

So I’ve been trying to add to my repertoire, if you will. Mr. foodie has already bought a wok and tried his hand at General Tso’s chicken (amazing), Lo Mein (also delish) and in our regular rotation is the Korean Beef Bowl from How Sweet Eats. I can’t describe the goodness of this bowl…impossibly delicious!

So a loooooong time ago, I saw Maggie Zhu’s recipe of Omnivore’s Cookbook for Sichuan Chicken aka “Saliva Chicken” and it included her Red Oil Sauce. You’ve seen similar sauces at Asian restaurants and maybe at the store. But homemade is best, obvs.

And I have yet to make that recipe…but I have all the ingredients. But I am still going to, honest. It’s not even a difficult recipe…I have no excuse really.

Then I saw Tieghan Gerard’s “easy” Szechuan noodles recipe on Half Baked Harvest and I decided to use HER noodle recipe and marry Maggie and Tieghan’s chili oil recipe to make a little Mag-Tiegh chili oil baby. 😀

It also helped that I had some ground chicken I needed to use up. 🙂

I jooshed up both recipes to incorporate what I had on hand and what I know my kids like, but I’m so glad to have these ladies for inspo. Like I say, you get inspiration from all over…just keep your eyes and mind open. Note: Maggie’s tip says you can use bay leaf and star anise in your aromatics. After playing, I love the combo of flavors below.  You can make the oil in advance and use it on all kinds of things later. The noodles themselves come together in less than 20 minutes (if you count cooking the noodles).

Oh, and in case you were wondering….yes indeedy, this dish was a hit and gobbled right up by all the humans. Go figure.

Sichuan Noodles with Red Chili Oil
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: 30 min.)
Serves 4 (you should make double, for real)

Chili Oil (adapted from Omnivore’s Cookbook & Half Baked Harvest)
1/3 cup peanut oil or vegetable oil
4-6 cloves garlic, sliced or minced
2 tsp. Sichuan chili flakes (these are what I used), regular is fine too
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tsp, ground Sichuan peppercorns (optional + I left mine whole and it was fine)
1 inch knob fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 TBS. sesame seeds

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add garlic and cook 3-5 minutes until it sweats down a bit. Add all the remaining ingredients except sesame seeds and simmer for another 3 minutes. The oil will  turn a beautiful amber red color. Add the sesame oil and the sesame seeds and simmer for another minute. The oil will be probably be sizzling but don’t let it go hard or it will make your chili flakes and sesame seeds taste bitter. Carefully transfer to a heat proof glass jar or bowl.

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Sichuan Noodles (adapted from Half Baked Harvest)
(Prep: 5 min, Cook: -20 min)

16 oz wide Chinese egg noodle (if you can’t find, pappardelli is fine)
1 lb ground chicken (ground pork is also fine) or leave out if vegetarian
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbs. honey or brown sugar
2 tbs. garlic chili sauce
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced (or more to taste)
2-4 green onions, chopped
2-4 stalks of bok choy, chopped

1. Cook the noodles
2. Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic chili paste + 1/3 cup water in a bowl.
3. Place the same skillet  over medium high heat. Add the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper, crumbling as you go and cook for 5 minutes.   Add the onions and bok choy, and cook until slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Pour in the soy sauce mixture.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the chicken is coated with the sauce, about 5-8 minutes.
4. Once noodles are cooked, drain and add to the chicken mixture. Add 2 TBS. chili oil and toss well.

Remove from heat, serve immediately and top with more chili oil, green onions and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Note: You can add more or less seasonings to taste. You can also add mushrooms if you love them and omit the meat if you prefer.

sichuan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thai Harmony

From Chow in YES! Weekly.

It wasn’t so long ago that we were oh-so-excited about Pho and Sweet Chicken (no Sesame) …you can read that story here (if you feel it’s worth your time, ugh).  Then boom! The restaurant that we reviewed was gone. Oh…and just for fun (not), here’s what my little one thought about the closing.

Without missing a beat, enter in Thai Harmony & Sushi, which has taken up residence in the former Xia Asian Fusion in the Sharpe building at 102 West 3rd Street in downtown Winston- Salem. To say we were shocked by Xia’s closing is an understatement. We have an office very near there and we visited a lot. For the sweet chicken (really Sesame chicken, no sesame) and the Pho. So good. My little one was truly devastated. And I questioned the need for yet one more Thai restaurant in Winston-Salem, particularly downtown.

ThaiHarmonyInside

Thai Harmony is definitely different than its predecessor. No pho.

Okay here’s where this blog post gets different than the article.  I asked if  there was pho and I swear and was told not yet. I looked and looked on the menu on my 3rd visit and could not find the words pho and I am not an expert, but noodle soup is not always pho, or am I crazy?) Anyway in the above linked article, I said there’s wasn’t pho, but there IS! That’s good news. I love love love pho. So stay tuned soon for an update pho sho! 

There’s a good amount of curry. Much more noodles. And we still have sushi. And fortunately for the under four-feet in my crowd, we still have sweet chicken. And it’s pretty great. Dare I say better?

Thai Harmony has pretty decent sushi from what I’ve tried. They offer an incredible deal of two rolls for $9.99 for lunch and it includes the soup of the day. Actually all lunch items include the soup. The sushi offerings on the lunch deal are quite simple, but fresh.

ThaiHarmonysushi

2 sushi rolls for $9.99

I recommend some curry dishes or noodle dishes such as Pad Thai or Drunken Noodles. They are pleasantly spicy with plenty of flavor. There’s an item on the menu called American Pad Thai. And described as “Our favorite Pad Thai but with a flavor you are familiar with.”

“What’s American about it,” we asked.

“It has ketchup in it,” was the reply. Hmmm …as an American, I am slightly offended that to make it “American” it needed ketchup.We’ll give them a pass this time. I didn’t ask if they sell a lot of it and I pray that they don’t.

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Drunken Noodles w/ Chicken 

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Chicken Pad Thai

Mr. foodie ordered the curry and he said the flavor was on par with some of his favorite curry, but Thai Harmony’s version is packed with crispy, colorful vegetables which make it more filling. And beautiful. It looks like a small bowl, but you actually get a nice portion.

About that sweet chicken? We just get sesame without the sesame and all is right in our little ones’ worlds. The lunch version comes with rice, spring roll, salad and soup. Plenty of food. You like spicy? Order General Tso. It’s lightly fried with that great rich sauce and with just the right amount of heat. The sauce isn’t too sweet and the breading isn’t too thick.

ThaiHarmonySweetChicken

Sesame Chicken w/ no Sesame aka Sweet Chicken to a microfoodie

 

Service is excellent and speedy. The bar is still there. The servers are polite but be mindful of that possible language barrier. Use the numbers if needed on the menu.

Speaking of the menu, it’s pretty extensive and we’ve only had a chance to try a few things. And only at lunch. But so far, everything has been stellar enough to give it a thumbs up. Now for the pho!

What’s your favorite Thai restaurant? ThaiHarmonysign

Thai Harmony 
102 W. 3rd Street
Winston-Salem, NC