Monday, April 23, 2012

Crispy Noodle Cakes With Hoisin Chicken

     So while I am not trying to do tasty meals for $70 for the week, I am starting to figure what do the meals actually cost.  I figured: rice sticks: 2.55, chicken 5.35, sherry 0.35, hoisin sauce 0.52 , Shiitake 7.00 , spinach 2.25, meal total 18.02.  Almost half of  the cost are the shiitakes which you could sub out regular mushrooms for $4 less.  I still think not too bad for a meat, veg and a starch for 4.  I happen to adore mushrooms and shiitakes are one of my favorites so I totally think they are worth the splurge.  Bonus for me, mushrooms are one of the two items my son is allowed to veto eating, so I get his portion.  YAY!  I would count having hoisin sauce as part of my pantry, but since most wouldn't I have figured it into the cost.
     So the good news, you could shave another buck twenty five off because there is no need to make so many rice noodles because there was too much noodle cake.  The bad news, the whole dish sucked!  The noodles were flavorless except where the sauce from the chicken got on them; where the sauce go on them they became  soggy and texturally unpleasant.  Even my beloved shiitakes didn't taste great and couldn't help the dish.  We all kind of gave a collective grimace, plowed through our food and decided not to make it again.

Crispy Noodle Cakes With Hoisin Chicken

8 ox dried rice sticks (vermicelli)
2    Tbs. plus 2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
4    small boneless,skinless chicken breast halves (about 3/
2 t  dry sherry
Kosher salt
4    Tbs. hoisin sauce
2    Tbs. soy sauce
4 t  rice vinegar
6    Tbs. canola oil
6 oz. shiitake mushrooms stemmed and thinly sliced (1-1/2 cups)
8 oz baby spinach (8 lightly packed cups)
Asian chile sauce,like Sriracha (optional)
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat,
add the noodles, and soak them until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain,
transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels, and pat dry. Toss
the noodles with 1 Tbs. of the sesame oil.
Toss the chicken with the remaining 1 tsp. sesame oil, the sherry, and
1/4 tsp. salt.
In a small bowl, mix the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, and vinegar.
Heat 1-1/2 Tbs. of the canola oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over
medium-high heat until shimmering hot. Add the mushrooms and cook,
stirring, until softened and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the
chicken and cook, stirring, until it just loses its raw color, about 2
minutes. Add the spinach and cook, stirring, until it wilts, about 1
minute. Add the hoisin mixture and cook, stirring, until the chicken is
cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl.
Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Heat the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs.
oil over medium heat. Divide the noodles in half and spread them in the
pan, forming two oblong cakes (if they become entangled, just cut them
apart with scissors). Sprinkle lightly with salt and cook until the
bottoms are lightly browned and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip, sprinkle
lightly with salt, and cook until the second sides are browned and
crisp,   about 4 minutes more. Transfer to serving plates, top with the
chicken,  and serve with chile sauce, if using.

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