Makes: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes
Just by adding a little extra liquid, you can turn virtually any stir-fry into an excellent sauce for tossing with noodles, rice, or other grains. Asparagus is particularly nice here because it browns beautifully, but you can use green beans or sliced broccoli as alternatives. (I peel thick asparagus, which isn’t strictly necessary, but it only takes a minute and makes it much less fibrous. Or skip the whole thing and use broccoli florets.) For a spicier sauce, add a couple dried red chiles to the skillet along with the garlic and ginger.
1 1⁄2 pounds asparagus, peeled if thick, cut into 2-inch lengths
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup chopped scallions
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 ounces of noodles such as rice, buckwheat (soba), or wheat noodles. I used these
1 -2 cups of fresh or frozen snap peas
1⁄4 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup mirin, or 2 tablespoons honey mixed with 2 tablespoons water
1. If the asparagus is thick, parboil it, then shock it in a bowl of ice water and drain. If the spears are thin, don’t bother.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put a large skillet over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the oil, wait a few seconds, and add the asparagus and scallions. Cook, stirring, for a minute, then stir in the ginger and garlic. Cook until the asparagus is dry, hot, and beginning to brown and get tender, 5 to 10 minutes; remove the pan from the heat.
3. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. Check them frequently: The time will vary from a minute or 2 for thin rice noodles, to 5 minutes for soba, or up to 12 minutes for wide brown rice noodles. Drain the noodles, reserving some of the cooking liquid.
4. Turn the heat under the asparagus to medium. Add the noodles, snap peas , soy sauce, mirin, and about 1⁄2 cup of the reserved water to the skillet; continue to cook, stirring, until the asparagus and snap peas are heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls, spooning any extra broth in the pan over all. Serve hot.
You could easily add chicken or swap the vegetables for other types. The original recipe called for edamame instead of snap peas. Just use what you have on hand!
Adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe