Immediately after I returned from Vegas, Joe and I jumped in the car and went to Columbus, Ohio. In spite of being a Michigan gal, I like Columbus. They have a nice food scene. Okay, it's not New York or Chicago (two cities I most definitely want to spend more time eating in), but there are plenty of places to explore. To start, there's Jeni's Ice Cream. No trip to Columbus can be complete without a stop at Jeni's. We brought back many pints for ourselves and some friends, including Vanessa of Gastronomy, Et Al, who wrote a lovely detailed review. This trip we also discovered the Latin American restaurant El Arepazo, right in downtown Columbus. (Photos from El Arepazo will be forthcoming. And when we're down there again in a few weeks, we'll also hit Zen Cha, which we've been told by a friend is an outstanding teahouse.)
So what does any of this have to do with the photo above? Well, not much really, but after so much travel, the fridge was rather on the empty side. And I wanted dinner, and I wanted it fast. And... it is spring, and I had just planted my basil. While I have a week or two yet before I can start harvesting fresh basil from my garden, I have plenty of frozen basil from last summer's harvest, which I use for stir fries. With frozen shrimp (my emergency protein stash), frozen peas, and frozen basil... my idea of a frozen dinner.
You can buy these noodles in the fresh noodle section of Asian grocery stores. They're yellow and look a bit ramen noodle-ish. I don't know the "official" method for cooking. I've just played around and found something that works for me.
I don't have exact amounts. I'm usually a "start with a recipe and modify from there" kind of chick, but this is one of those rare time when I just throw stuff in the pan until it looks right.
Pan-fried Noodles with Shrimp & Basil
Adjust amounts for the number of people you're serving.
fresh Chinese thin egg noodles
one egg, beaten (or more, if serving 4 or more people)
minced garlic and/or ginger
shrimp, peeled and deveined
perhaps a small amount of carrot, thinly sliced
basil (Thai basil preferred)
green onion, thinly sliced
cornstarch or other starch for thickening, mixed with a bit of water
Heat a bit of oil in a small pan and pour in the beaten egg. Swirl the egg around to set it like a thin pancake. When the egg is set and cooked until golden, slide out onto a board. Let it get cool enough to handle, roll it up like a cigar, and cut into thin strips. Set aside.
Heat a bit of oil in a saute or frying pan large enough to accomodate your noodles. You may need to gently pull the noodles apart so that they can be laid in the pan to create a nice round pancake-like shape. Add a bit of water to help soften the noodles. When they've browned on the bottom side, flip them over.
If you're having trouble flipping them, here is a method: loosen them if necessary and slide noodles out on to a plate. Lay a second plate over the noodles (like a sandwich). Flip the plates over. Now you can slide the noodles back into the pan with the uncooked side down.
Add a bit more water. Remove noodles from the pan when they've begun to brown. Watch out for hot spots where the noodles might burn!
Heat some oil in a wok or another frying pan. Add garlic and/or ginger and fry for a few seconds; enough to release the aroma. Add shrimp and stir fry until, say, halfway done. Add peas and carrots and stir fry a bit more. Add oyster sauce — enough to make a nice amount of sauce, but not too gooey. Taste and add a bit of sugar to balance the saltiness, if desired. Add basil and green onion. If the oyster sauce is too runny for your tastes, add a bit of starch with water to thicken it up. In all this, try to avoid overcooking the shrimp.
Pour shrimp on top of noodles. Top with the strips of egg. Serve immediately.