Crisp Pan Fried Asian Noodles (aka Crisp Pasta Cake)

I’d been long inspired to make a crisp pasta cake after reading the recipe for “Rossejat De Fideus Eldorado Petit” in the May 1992 issue of Gourmet Magazine (p.173).  I was further inspired by NYC’s Chinatown restaurants’ crispy pan fried noodles that I had had when I was growing up.

So recently, I tried my hand at making this ‘crisp pasta cake’ based on a recipe found at Epicurious. The online recipe can be found here:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Crispy-Noodle-Cake-233934

6 oz of dried noodles

6 oz of dried noodles

In that recipe, it called for cooking asian noodles (dried chow mein noodles) for about 1 1/2 minutes

Cooking the noodles before shocking them

Cooking the noodles before shocking them

(I did it for two) and then shocking them to stop the cooking process.  Shocking them is a critical step because failure to do so would result in the ~6 oz of pasta sticking together and causing problems in

Letting the shocked, drained noodles dry and cool off a bit

Letting the shocked, drained noodles dry and cool off a bit

the subsequent crisping/frying process.

I got my wok nice and hot and then reduced the heat to medium (50% max power) as mentioned in the Epicurious recipe) and added 2 oz of rice oil, brought it to a shimmer and evenly distributed the shocked

Rice oil for pan frying the noodles

Rice oil for pan frying the noodles

noodles.  The recipe called for the pasta to be cooked ~6 mintues/side.  As it would turn out, ~6 minutes was not enough time, nor was the heating power strong enough to achieve the golden-brown-and-delicious crust on the pasta.  As I was adjusting to the conditions, I determined that the heat had to be brought up to about 70% max power and another oz of rice oil was needed.

'crisping' the noodles in the wok

‘crisping’ the noodles in the wok

What I did managed to accomplish was ok and I poured leftover “grandma’s chicken curry” to try the dish.

Chicken curry on crispy pan fried asian noodles

Chicken curry on crisp pan fried asian noodles

It wasn’t bad – but NOT quite what I wanted .  I am going to repeat this dish in the very near future and will be adding an update to this write up.

At this point, given my wok, I think the recipe needs to be adjusted to:

3 1/2 oz asian pasta (I’d like to take a crack at this with ramen noodles)
2 x 1 1/2 oz rice oil

Boil the noodles in about half to 2/3rds of the indicated cooking time, blanch, drain well and set aside. To fry the noodles – bring the wok up to 66-70% max power, add 2oz of the oil; bring it to a shimmer and add the pasta.  Cook for ~8 minutes aside to get it nice and crisp.  Try not to touch the pasta for at least two minutes before lifting to check to see if it’s getting that nice golden brown crisp texture.  Once the first side as reached it’s crisp state, flip the pasta to cook on the other side. If need be, add the last ounce of oil and cook another ~8 minutes the same way as the first side.

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