Today, we’re going to share a dish that we’ve been making for as long as we can remember. It’s just about as simple as it gets, with only a small handful of ingredients involved and no special skills beyond boiling a pot of water and heating up a pan.
You can find the noodles and the special sauce (to be discussed in a moment) at any Chinese grocery store.
So let’s get started, shall we?
First you’ve got your noodles. You’ll need a particular kind of noodle for this dish. The “Hong Kong Style Pan-fried Noodle,” to be exact. Not to be confused with “won ton noodles,” which can look a little similar. Apologies for the glare in the picture there. It was the lunchtime light coming through the window.
We used to make this dish with a simple chili garlic sauce (kind of like Sriracha, but with a chunkier consistency). But then…we found THIS:
It’s probably the best sauce ever conceived by man. Uh…woman. Uh……….man?
It’s called “Lao Gan Ma,” which means “Godmother.” We didn’t realize that at first, so we always just called it “the sauce with the lady on it,” which then got shortened to, “Lady Sauce.” You can see her in the picture…gazing sternly off the label.
One day, however, we had friends over for a dinner party, and someone mentioned, “Hey, I found this great sauce over at the Chinese supermarket. But I have no idea what it’s called.”
“Did it have a picture of a lady on it?” we asked.
“No, no. It’s a picture of a man.”
Cue…like, 10 minutes of speculation in which we go over every possible hot sauce brand and ingredient we can think of until one of us has the sense to pull out a bottle of Lady Sauce and brandish it in our guest’s face.
“Is this it?!”
“YES! That’s the MAN!”
“Dude…that’s a woman.”
So the godmother has lost touch a bit with her soft, girlish side. But hey, what she doesn’t know about feminine, face-framing haircut options, she makes up for in her knowledge of sauce making.
It’s a spicy mix of dry roasted chili peppers and fermented black soybeans that is just…uncommonly good. We put it on everything from noodles, to dumplings, in soups. The list goes on. But we use it most often for this dish. You can find it online at places like Amazon, but it’s a lot cheaper at your local Chinese grocery, if you have one in your area.
So you’ll want to put a pot of water on to boil. We’re using our handy wok burner and wok, cause it boils in under five minutes flat. Which is cause for celebration when you can’t wait to stuff your face with these noodles.
When it’s boiling, drop in the noodles and boil them for just ONE minute. No longer! Or you won’t get the crispy texture you’re looking for in the next step.
After your minute has elapsed, go ahead and drain them in a colander. (Excuse the mess in the sink. We were heating up chili. And…peeling carrots.)
Heat up a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Drop in a handful of your noodles and spread them out in an even layer.
Then just let ‘em do their thing.
Take a peek every so often to see if they’ve turned golden (and maybe use a pair of chopsticks that actually matches).
When they’re crispy and golden, flip them over all at once with one of them fancy restaurant-chef flipping motions. Or, if you have coordination issues/aren’t yet confident with your flipping skills, a spatula or a pair of chopsticks should do the job nicely.
Once their golden on both sides, slide them onto a plate. Drizzle with about 2 teaspoons of soy, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and some of that Lady Sauce.
Stir it all up and dig in.
It’s super easy to make, and if you don’t find yourself in proximity of a Chinese grocery too often, stock up on the noodles! You can throw them in the freezer for later.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the noodles and boil for one minute. Drain.
Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Take about a quarter of the noodles and spread them evenly in the pan.
Let them cook until golden brown on both sides. Slide onto a serving plate and toss with about two teaspoons of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, and some hot sauce.