Tuesday, April 24

Creating a Noddle Bar

Noodle bars and noodle houses, have been a staple in Chinese, Japanese cuisine for decades, and most likely even centuries. They started to appear here a few decade ago, but it wasn't until recently that they became the "in" place to eat. I like making noodle bars for when friends come over for dinner. It is a great way to get interactive when dinning with friends.

It really allows people to independently build their own meal to their liking. Imagine walking into a friend's house for dinner and being told, I made this exactly the way you want it! I really love allowing my friends and relatives to have exactly what they want. Plus as a bonus you can feed a lot of people with very little work during the meal!

There is a little work a head of time, but it will pay off in the end. Here is what you'll need to do to create a great noodle bar for you guests.

This serves 8-10
Full time: 30-60 minutes (based on multi tasking)
You will need:

2 lbs. chicken breast tenders, cubed
2 lbs. thin slice pork chops, cubed
2 lbs. Chinese udon noodles
1 lb. spinach
1 lb. baby corn
1 lb. snow peas
1 quart sliced mushrooms
1 small bunch green onions, diced
3 tbsp butter, divided
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp Chinese five spice, divided
2 tsp salt, divided

For add ins:

Soy sauce
Duck sauce
Wonton Noodles, you can find these in bags in grocery stores, they are the little fried noodles you get from Chinese take away restaurants.

For broth:

10 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/4 cup green onions, diced (use same bunch as above)
1 tbsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Lets get started:
  1. In a large pot combine all broth ingredients, bring to boil over high heat, reduce heat to simmer and hold there until ready to serve
  2. Get a pot of hot water boiling: Blanch baby corn for 2 minutes-remove from water but don't drain water. Now blanch snow peas for 2 minutes-remove from water but don't drain water. Add in noodles and cook according to package, drain and return to pot. Stir in 1 tbsp olive oil and butter to prevent sticking
  3. In a large skillet melt 1 tbsp butter with 1 tbsp olive oil. Add in pork, sprinkle over 1 tbsp five spice and 1 tsp salt, saute until cooked. Remove from pan
  4. In the same skillet melt remaining butter and olive oil, add mushrooms-saute 4-5 minutes or until the just begin to become tender. Remove from pan
  5. In the same skillet add in chicken, sprinkle over remaining five spice and salt, saute until cooked. Remove from pan
  6. Lets set up the bar: place a stack of bowls at one end of the table (my table goes right to left), close to the bowls place the noodles in a large bowl
  7. In a small bowl place raw diced green onions
  8. In a large bowl place raw spinach
  9. Plate remaining ingredients on plates or individual bowls
  10. Have the add in set up near the eating area with chop sticks and spoons
Invite your guests to build their bowls, layering noodles with their favorite ingredients. A little hint putting the spinach first under the noodles, will allow the spinach to wilt under the heat of the noodles and broth. Once they fill there bowl, top with one or two ladles of broth and enjoy!