How To Stir-Fry Noodles
Serves 2 to 4
- 12 ounces
fresh or dry noodles, such as Chinese egg noodles or rice noodles
- 4 to 5 cups
other mixed stir-fry ingredients, like chicken, pork, beef, tofu, red and green peppers, mushrooms, napa cabbage, bok choy, and so on
- 2 to 3 tablespoons
vegetable or peanut oil
- 1 to 3
garlic cloves, thinly sliced, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon
Soy sauce, rice wine, chicken broth, or oyster sauce, to taste (see Recipe Note)
Saucepan for cooking the noodles, if needed
Bowls, for holding ingredients
14-inch flat-bottomed carbon steel wok (not nonstick)
Wok spatula, fish spatula, or another spatula with a thin, metal blade
A second spatula or bamboo chopsticks (not plastic)
Prepare the noodles as needed: Prepare the noodles according to package directions. If using dried rice or cellophane noodles, soak in water until softened. Be careful not too overcook the noodles — it's better to slightly undercook than over cook.
Drain the noodles: Rinse the noodles with cold water. Drain the noodles and shake the strainer a few times to get the noodles as dry as possible.
Toss the noodles with a little vegetable or peanut oil: Return the noodles to the pan you used to cook them and toss them with a little oil. This prevents them from sticking and forming a big mass in the wok.
Cut the noodles: Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the noodles a few times directly in the saucepan. Aim for roughly 6- to 8-inch pieces. This makes the noodles easier to mix in with the other stir-fry ingredients. Set the saucepan near the stove.
Prepare any other stir-fry ingredients: Make sure any other stir-fry ingredients, like chicken or bok choy, are cut into bite-sized pieces so they cook at the same rate and are ready for the wok. Keep them in separate bowls within reach near the stove. If you're making a sauce or using any other flavoring ingredients, make sure they're ready near the stove.
Heat the wok: Set your wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two of contact.
Add 1 tablespoon of oil: Pour 1 tablespoon of oil down the side of the pan. Swirl to coat the bottom and lower sides of the wok evenly.
Stir-fry the aromatics: If you're using garlic or other aromatics, add it now. Stir-fry just until fragrant, 10 to 20 seconds. When done, push the aromatics up the side of the pan to make room for the next step.
Stir-fry any meat or vegetable ingredients: Start with stir-frying the meat. Sear for 1 minute without stirring, then stir-fry another minute to work in the aromatics. Add the vegetables. Stir-fry another minute or so until everything nearly cooked, another 1 to 2 minutes.
Add the noodles: Swirl another tablespoon of oil around the hot wok. Add the noodles and use two spatulas to gently toss the noodles with the other stir-fry ingredients, like tossing a salad. Do this a few times until the ingredients are mixed. Note: Your wok may move or wobble as you do this; it's helpful to have a kitchen helper to hold the wok steady for you.
Add the stir-fry sauce: Season the stir-fry with the salt, and swirl in any liquid sauce ingredients, like soy sauce or chicken broth. Stir and toss the noodles and other stir-fry ingredients to coat evenly.
Stir-fry one more minute: Once the sauce has been added, stir and toss the stir-fry just another minute or so, until the noodles are warmed and any meat you're stir-frying is cooked all the way through.
Serve immediately: Transfer the noodle stir-fry to a serving dish or to plates. Serve immediately while still hot with extra seasoning ingredients on the side.
Stir-fried noodles in a skillet: A wok is preferred over a skillet for this recipe because the amount of ingredients can make stir-frying in a skillet tricky. If you use a skillet, stir-fry the meat and vegetables on their own, transfer them to a plate, then stir-fry the noodles and the sauce. Mix everything together at the end, working in batches if necessary.
Stir fry sauce: Grace Young's favorite simple sauce for these noodles is a mix of 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry. You could also add a tablespoon of oyster sauce or chili garlic sauce.