Noodle snack: Mi xao

mi xao

If you’ve ever lived, vacationed, or worked with me, you know that I can EAT.  Former office mates will attest to my early lunch cravings (10:30-ish) and constant snacking.  In fact, at work retreats that lasted over several days at my former boss’ beach house, ample snacks were provided to prevent me from rummaging through the kitchen every couple of hours. Essentially, I eat every 2-3 hours–not always huge meals, but definitely something satisfying.  My cravings tend to the savory rather than sweet side, so my desk drawer usually had beef jerky, nuts, seaweed, dried fruits, and potato chips (especially the ones from Cosi that come with every sandwich).  Now that I’ve been at home, the refrigerator has been a good friend, full of yummy leftovers and bits and pieces of things that I often throw together on a whim.

Today, after a lunch of grilled ham and cheese, grape tomatoes, and a yogurt, I was feeling  hungry and still unsatisfied.  A quick inspection of the fridge yielded egg noodles (leftover from wonton soup), baby carrots, already chopped ginger and scallions (leftover from steamed fish) and rendered pork fat (leftover from roasted pork belly makings over the last couple of years).  The light bulb went off in my head and I fondly recalled my family’s obsession with mi xao: stir fried noodles with veggies and oyster sauce.  Right next to the egg rolls, mi xao showed up at every family gathering, so much so that I got sick of it and usually skipped it.  But today, a noodle snack was exactly what I needed! Quick note: I only found three servings of egg noodles though they usually come in fours, so scale up (or down) as needed.

3 servings fresh egg noodles, loosened (each package usually contains 4)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rendered pork fat (or two tablespoons canola oil)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, chopped
3 tablespoons ginger, chopped
3/4 cup sliced carrots
1 small onion, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce
black pepper

Bring a pot of water (about 2 quarts) to a boil, add the noodles and cook for about 60 seconds, swirling as needed.  Drain noodles and toss with sesame oil.  Set aside.

In a heavy pan, heat the pork fat until melted, then add garlic, ginger, sliced onions, and half of the chopped green onions.  Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add sliced carrots and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 minute.  Reduce heat to low and add noodles, oyster sauce and black pepper.  Toss to combine, taste and adjust flavorings as needed.  Sprinkle the rest of the green onions on and serve immediately with some hot sauce or chili peppers.  Makes about 4-5 appetizer size portions.

You can easily add any other vegetables or protein elements to the dish as well.  Just add chicken, pork, shrimp, tofu or beef to the pan and cook thoroughly before adding the noodles.

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