Welcome to our expanded food coverage for The News & Observer.
Every Wednesday, I will be sharing a new recipe in our community newspapers.
It may be one inspired by the weather or the season, a new cookbook that has landed on my desk, or what I happen to be cooking right now in my own kitchen.
At least once a month, I will share a recipe from a Triangle restaurant for our Specialty of the House column, which also appears monthly in The News & Observer. Those recipes are for dishes that so delighted a reader that I was asked to see if the chef would share. Luckily for us, we have a generous community of chefs willing to divulge their kitchen secrets. Next week, I’ll share the recipe for apple cake from Durham’s Mother & Sons.
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Today, I want to share a recipe that I crave when I’m sick with a cold. When my sinuses are stuffed and my body aches, I crave Chinese food. I’m not talking about the refined version you might find at An Asian Cuisines in Cary or excellent renditions of Cantonese, Szechwan or Taiwanese cuisines that you might find at any number of excellent Chinese restaurants in the Triangle.
I’m talking about Chinese-American food found in many American strip malls. Specifically, I crave chicken lo mein. I think it’s the sauce-drenched noodles that I love. The taste is strong enough to satisfy my cold-dulled taste buds. I add more flavor with dashes of Sriracha sauce or a spoonful of kimchee.
My starting point was a chow mein recipe from Food Network star Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman. The recipe lends itself to adaptation: Use leftover spaghetti instead of rice noodles, add leftover cooked shrimp or beef instead of chicken, vary the vegetables to your liking.
By prepping the vegetables and cooking the noodles in the morning, this dish can make a quick weeknight dinner.
Just don’t wait until you are sick to make it.
Chicken, Vegetables and Stir-Fried Rice Noodles
This recipe is inspired by the chow mein recipe in “The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Dinnertime,” by Ree Drummond (William Morrow, 2015). This recipe is ideal for additions; add 1/2 cup bean sprouts with the noodles or 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms or diced broccoli florets with the carrots.
1 to 2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 cup julienned carrots
4 green onions, sliced, divided
1/2 large head Napa cabbage, thinly sliced
8 ounces thin rice noodles, cooked per package directions
1/2 cup diced or shredded, cooked chicken
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Sriracha sauce or kimchee, optional
Heat 1 tablespoon peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add carrots and half of the green onions. Stir and let vegetables cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Stir in cabbage and 1 tablespoon peanut oil and cook for 2 to 4 minutes until cabbage wilts. Add noodles, chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil and remaining green onions. Toss to full incorporate.
Serve hot with Sriracha sauce or kimchee to season to your preferred level of spiciness.
Yield: 6 servings