Longevity Noodles with Chicken, Ginger & Mushrooms
Lunar New Year is a time for long-honored food traditions and delicious celebrations. In many countries, meals include fish, fruit, and dumplings, which are symbols of luck and prosperity. Longevity noodles — the longer the better, since they signify a long life — often are one of the most delicious parts of a New Year’s holiday meal.
This recipe includes all the elements that make a well-balanced stir-fry, along with a few culinary tricks to make it shine. For example, the noodles are tossed in the wok separately, in just a modicum of oil, so they stay light and springy (not clumpy!). And the chicken marinates in sherry, soy sauce, fresh ginger — and just a bit of cornstarch, which keeps it moist when we throw it on a sizzling hot wok with grapeseed oil and red pepper flakes. This method of coating the meat in cornstarch is called velveting. Keep it in your back pockets, home cooks.
Add chewy shiitake mushrooms, sharp green onions, and plenty of crisp Napa cabbage to the wok, and you’ve got a stellar start to the new year. The entire dish is infused with warmth and depth. As our test kitchen chef so eloquently put it, “The veggies get kissed by the heat of the wok, and the red pepper flakes and ginger bloom beautifully in the oil.”
Chile oil is a must here. You can bring your favorite bottle to the table, or try making our deeply aromatic homemade chile oil. Start with a slow drizzle over part of your plate, then taste and add more if you like — it rounds out the dish beautifully.
Longevity noodles are lovely hot or cold, so save the leftovers (if there are any) for tomorrow’s lunch. In the test kitchen, our tasters polished off the samples in one sitting. The challenge: Trying not to bite through the tangle of noodles (or your longevity!) as you slurp them down.
Servings: 4 to 6
12 oz Gelson’s boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into ¼”-thick, bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp dry sherry, divided
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp soy sauce, divided
1 tsp plus 1 pinch kosher salt, divided
¼ tsp Gelson’s ground white pepper
1 10-oz pkg dried lo mein noodles
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil, divided
¼ tsp Gelson’s crushed red pepper
5 oz (about 3 cups) thinly sliced Napa cabbage
4 oz (about 2 cups) fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
½ cup thinly sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
Chile oil, for serving
Place the chicken in a shallow bowl. Add the ginger, 1 teaspoon dry sherry, cornstarch, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, ¼ teaspoon salt, and white pepper. Mix gently to combine.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons dry sherry and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Set aside.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil over high heat. Add a pinch of salt and the lo mein noodles, and cook to al dente, stirring periodically to prevent sticking, about 3 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool, then shake well to remove the excess water.
Return the noodles to the saucepan, add the sesame oil, and toss to coat. Set aside.
Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Swirl in 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, add the red pepper, and stir-fry for 10 seconds.
Add the chicken in a single layer. Let cook, undisturbed, for 1 minute, or until the chicken begins to sear.
Stir the chicken and red pepper together, continually tossing in the wok until just cooked, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.
Add the cabbage and mushrooms to the wok and stir-fry until just wilted and toasted but not cooked, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the veggies to the bowl with the chicken.
Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, and add the noodles. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, tossing and moving constantly to heat throughout.
Swirl the soy sauce and sherry mixture and add it to the wok.
Add the chicken and vegetables, green onions, and remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the chicken and vegetables are heated through.
Garnish with additional green onions and serve hot with your favorite chile oil.
Recipe adapted from: The New York Times (Grace Young)