Ready before you can say "fried rice":
Why haven't I put up a post about fried rice or General Tso's in four months? Well, to be honest, since moving home my takeout consumption has lessened greatly. But, more importantly, I hadn't convinced myself to buy a few essential ingredients just yet. Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was destiny. Whatever it was I broke down yesterday.
This week mushrooms were on sale at the Giant. I love those hibachi style stir-fried mushrooms so I was itching to cook each and every one of them! A brief Internet search resulted in a recipe for "Stir-Fried Noodles with Eggplant and Basil" by Everyday Food. The photo looked great, ingredients were accessible and the reviews were positive. Although the original recipe used eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini were listed as delicious substitutes.
I was only missing one thing: sesame oil (toasted). So, after work I hopped down the street to get a bottle. I spotted the stuff immediately; cafe-au-lait colored and sporting a red label. But the site suggested "toasted" sesame and this was just the plain Jane original. I did find a bottle of "toasted" sesame oil but it was $7.99!? The plain version was only $2.99. Need I tell you which one went home with ME?
The minute I opened the bottle I was slightly regretful for not buying the fancier stuff. It smelled so toasty and so much like dozens of sushi dinner-dates I was immediatly seduced into paying whatever price next time. My advice: settle for the plain sesame oil if you're skeptical but, once you've tried it, dish out the green for the upgrade. You will only use a little at a time so it will last for a while. But, the flavor, even of a cheap brand, is really irreplaceable in Asian food so make sure you don't skip it! I nixed most of the zucchini and doubled up on mushrooms in the recipe because, well, the mushrooms were really, really good!
Note on Ingredients:
Lo mein noodles are great if you can find them. If not, linguine or fettuccine noodles are a handy substitute. I used cellophane noodles because I had some. I've only ever had them fried or in small quantities so I was a little grossed out when I pulled yards of it all limp and wormy looking from the pot. They were great cold the next day but I would still suggest the fettuccine or other Asian style noodles. Although I don't condone it, Ramen could work as well. I've doubled the sauce recipe so it makes a little more than you need for this but it was sooo good, and simple, I think you'll want some on hand to toss with your leftovers the next day.
NEVER: rinse mushrooms. Use a paper towel or damp cloth and wipe gently to remove dirt. The stems should pop right out.
4 ounces lo mein noodles (or linguine or Ramen)
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
2 cups sliced portabello mushrooms
1 clove fresh garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon pre-chopped)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves or 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1. Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat. Cook your noodle of choice according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.