Monday, April 4, 2011

Yakitori Noodle Bowls

Once upon a time, I used to watch daytime television.  Sometimes soaps, but most talk shows starting with Rachael Ray, ending with Oprah, then me saying, "Oh, crap.  It is now 5 pm.  What am I going to make for dinner??!"

I figured misery loved company, so I would call my best friend and we would talk briefly about Rachael Ray's recipe that we had mutually just watched her make before we would attempt to tackle our our personal dinner crises.  Before we would know it, an hour had passed, our kids were starting to whine, and by the time we would hang up the phone, we had sort of an idea which direction we each were going to go with dinner.  It was the life!  How I cherished those long dinner-prep conversations!!

This recipe is one that my BFF and I watched together, in our own respective homes.  This is one where we both said before Rachael Ray was done making it on TV, "What the heck are soba noodles?"  and "That looks delicious!"

So, we each put this meal on our menus, and the necessary ingredients on our grocery lists.  We knew we needed soba noodles, and since my BFF had grown up as a missionary in Indonesia, she kind of had an idea where to start to look for them in the grocery aisle.

I wish I could remember the exact number of cell-to-cell phone calls I made to her when I did my hunting shopping.  "Karla, go to the ethnic food aisle."  "Ok, I'll call you back when I'm closer."  "Ok, now, I just passed the spaghetti.  How close am I?"  "Ok, now I see chop suey in the cans.  Where exactly did you find the soba noodles?  What kind of package are they in?"  And so on.  With her cell phone guidance, I found them (they are near the bottom, Asian aisle, plastic packaging, yellow-ish noodles)!

I think that we both made this meal on the same night, and we both LOVED it!  I make this meal over and over, and this time around I was once again blown away by its simplicity, ease, and delightful taste!  I love how this story floods my mind every time I make this--it is a delightful trip down memory lane!

Yakitori Noodle Bowls (Soba Noodles and Sauteed Chicken)
Adapted from Rachael Ray

2 packages of soba noodles
2 tbl. canola oil
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed, trimmed, and diced
2-in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced (or 1 tsp. ground ginger)
freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches scallions, trimmed of roots and cut into 1-inch pieces on an angle
1/3 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup tamari (Asian soy sauce, or substitute regular soy sauce)
1 tbl. sugar
1 tbl. sesame oil (this is what makes the dish, so don't leave it out!!)
toasted sesame seeds, for garnish, optional

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, add some salt to the water; add the noodles and cook according to package directions (about 3 MINUTES!  They will cook fast!)*  Drain thoroughly.

In a large skillet, add the canola oil and diced chicken pieces and sautee until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink.  Add some salt and freshly ground black pepper and the ginger (whether fresh or dried).  Let the chicken brown in the skillet a couple of minutes.  Add the sherry, tamari (or soy sauce), sugar, and sesame oil; bring to a boil and let it simmer one minute.  Add the scallions.

*(It is usually at this point that I put the noodles in the boiling water).

Add the drained noodles to the skillet and toss to combine.  To serve, transfer to serving bowls and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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