Where has time gone?
No worries, this is no whimsical post about the finiteness of life.
I mean, seriously? Where did the last weeks go? Christmas, New Years, BAM! Exam time.
It has just been a bit too busy to really catch up. Does anybody else get that feeling sometimes that it is all just an endless stream of overlapping tasks, appointments and work? One little unforeseen bump in the road and the little car that is trying to bring me from A to B is up sh*t creek without a paddle (pardon my French).
Alright whiny little boy, it is time to get yourself together again.
Anyways. When times get tough, the tough get going (and I throw around idioms like they are on sale). And when it comes to cooking, I tend to rely on semi self-made (there may be something in that direction coming up in near future), unmentionworthy or quick and simple. This one is in the last category.
While it certainly is inspired by asian/oriental cuisine, it is by all means no authentic dish but that does not mean that it isn't delicious. Because it is. And quick. In fact, if you leave out the chicken, it can all be prepared in about 30 minutes! I know, the instructions seem a little lengthy but that is only because of all the little steps and preparations that need to be done.
Roasted sesame seeds may become one of my favourite ingredients. Like almonds, they are kinda meh when raw but once you give these bad boys some toasty action they just boast of deep flavour that complements perfectly the salty-sweet drizzle.
Sesame Rice Noodles with Honey-Soy Drizzle and Chicken
- 5 tblsp. water
- 5 tblsp. black soy sauce (also called dark thick soy sauce)
- 1 tblsp. brown sugar
- 2 tblsp. honey
- 1/2 ts chili flakes (the amount of heat the chili flakes are providing heavily depends on the kind you are using.)
- 400g (about 14 oz.) rice vermicelli (Bún tươi)
- 2 big carrots
- 150g (5.3 oz.) mung bean sprouts, washed and drained
- A dash of lime or lemon juice
- 1 chicken fillet (or to taste, customise amount of marinade accordingly.)
- 3 tblsp. thin soy sauce (the ordinary kind)
- 1 tblsp. oyster sauce
- 3 tblsps. sesame seeds
- thinly cut scallion for garnish (Highly optional. Frankly, I just put some on top because it adds some colour.)
- More soy sauce and honey for cooking as well as a bit of oil (I use either light sesame or rapeseed oil)
Before the actual cooking:
- In a large heat proof bowl, soak vermicelli in boiling water. The good thing about rice noodles is that most of them do not need to be boiled, making the whole process a lot quicker. From my experience, even the ones asking to be boiled do not have to as long as you soak them long enough. That is why this is the very first step. When your are not sure, try one before using in cooking process.
- Slice chicken fillet as thin as possible. Set aside, letting it marinade in 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce.
- Cut carrots diagonally, slice them in about 5mm thin sticks. Add dash of lime juice, stir until all sticks are covered. Set Aside.
For the drizzle:
- In a small pot, combine all ingredients for the drizzle and cook on medium heat until big bubbles develop, stirring occasionally. To check whether it is done. Drop a bit of the drizzle on a plate. If it thickens at becomes syrupy when it cools down, it is good to go.
- In the meantime, put a small pot on high heat. Pour in sesame seeds, stirring them continuously. Once the seeds starten to brown, instantly remove from heat. Remain in pot but keep stirring until pot cooled down a little and the roasting process stopped. Set aside.
- Heat up either a pan or a wok to medium heat. Put in carrot sticks, add another shot of black soy sauce. With a wooden spoon, stir continuously until all liquid has evaporated and carrots are heated through well (the carrots will be cooked but still on the crunchy side. If you want them to be softer in texture, add a bit of water in the process so they cook longer). Remove from pan and set aside.
- Add chicken along with the marinade to pan/wok, stirring continuously. Make sure that it does not brown at all. The moment they are done (it will not take too long and is easy to see as it is sliced so thin), remove from heat and set aside.
- Add a bit of oil to pan, strain noodles and pour them in.
- Add about 2-3 dashes of black soy sauce to the vermicelli, as well as another tablespoon of honey (the amount of soy sauce depends on how salty you like it. Remember that the drizzle will give the majority of flavour. 2-3 dashes will not make it too salty but will add a nice and deep colour).
- Add 2 of the 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds as well as the carrots. Turn of heat and carefully fold in mungo bean sprouts.
- Put servings on plate or into a bowl, lay slices of chicken on top.
- Drizzle with the sauce and garnish with remaining sesame seeds and a bit of scallion.