Easy Spicy Vegetable Noodles are one of our favourite make-it-at-home take out dishes. The recipe is easy to follow, the ingredients are inexpensive, and the flavours are adaptable to your personal tastes.
I lay awake at night and dream about these noodles. They are really that good. (And, maybe – just maybe – I’m addicted to delicious food!) The events that follow are real. There are no actors playing the parts and the events have not been dramatized or fictionalized.
(By the way, if you’re reading this, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, or Quentin Tarantino, and you decide to capture my story for the big screen, I would like one of the following actors to play me. You can choose between Jake Gyllenhaal, Ben Affleck, Zachary Quinto, or Ryan Reynolds, and in that order please. Thanks!)
Allow me to put aside my fantasies and get to the actual story. Oh, Dear Reader, you will not believe the drama that led to this delicious creation! On Sunday, I was really craving Chinese food, but rather than order from our favourite restaurant, I thought it would be best to make noodles and save myself some money and calories.
When we order Chinese food, we can’t seem to order just one or two dishes, so it always ends up being rather expensive. The main reason for this, of course, is that John.e is a vegetarian and I am not. And also, just as a side observation, I personally feel that Chinese food is the reason my shirts are tighter than they should be.
On this particular Sunday, I had just finished baking some cookies. John.e was sitting outside on the balcony drawing up some sketches for my Pinterest photos, and dinner time was quickly approaching. I prepared all of the vegetables – washing, trimming, chopping, mincing, dicing, etc., which I love to do. (It’s always good to practice one’s knife skills whenever possible.)
The skillet was fully heated, the oil was at optimum temperature, and I had the counter lined up with veggies, seasonings, nuts, condiments, and sauces, etc. When I was about to get everything started, I realized that I didn’t have any noodles in my pantry. I had a complete meltdown!
Picture it: it’s summer; I had the oven on, and it felt like 4000 degrees in my kitchen. I had worked so hard to prepare everything so that I could just stir fry everything quickly and dinner would be ready. Have you ever watched as a full grown, overweight man, in the dead of summer, has a mental breakdown? It’s not pretty, but certainly Oscar nomination material. (Do you hear me, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, James Cameron, or Quentin Tarantino?)
John.e offered to go to the store to get noodles, but I wouldn’t have it. I was too stubborn to allow him to do something nice. I was ready to toss everything in the garbage, including the cutting board, prep bowls, and even the damn skillet. I would have plopped myself in front of the television and drowned my frustration with a Diet Coke and a bag of chips.
Preparing something else was completely out of the question! I wouldn’t have it. I was done with the kitchen for the day! At that point, I would have preferred setting fire to it rather than starting over from scratch to prepare dinner. (Even though I could have used the same veggies and almost the same technique with some rice instead of noodles. I can be extremely stubborn, but it’s the Meryl Streep in me. I can’t help it!)
So, what did we do? We ordered Chinese food from our favourite take out restaurant. A few years ago, I introduced John.e to this great little hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant here in Toronto and ever since then, we’ve never ordered from any place else. We tend to be loyal like that; or maybe when we find a good thing, we refuse to try something new. Why bother? Am I right, Dear Reader?
Anyway, after I went back to my on-site movie trailer, where my personal assistant was waiting with a cocktail, my temper began to cool off, and I was able to think a little more clearly. I soon realized that I had all of these prepped veggies to contend with. I wrapped everything well in plastic wrap and placed the bowls into the crisper section of the refrigerator. It was with joy that I pronounced Monday night’s dinner all prepped!
On my way home from work the following day, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up the noodles. Since these particular noodles are dry and can last quite some time in the pantry, I bought four packages. There was no way I was going to be left unprepared again.
You see, Dear Reader, it might be just a bowl of noodles to you, but to me, it had seemed like I had filmed my last scene. And, it wasn’t a happy, joyous scene that would bring a tear to the eyes of my captive audience; it was a terrible and frightful tragedy.
Maybe I’m over dramatic, maybe I’m channeling my inner diva, or maybe – just maybe – Easy Spicy Vegetable Noodles are so delicious, they deserve a standing ovation, awards and accolades, and the adoration of many, many fans.
Easy Spicy Vegetable Noodles
- 454 grams chow mien noodles, cooked according to package instructions
- 1 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, sliced 1/4 inch thick
- 1 large green bell pepper, sliced 14 inch thick
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
- 4 cups cabbage, thinly sliced (I used savoy cabbage
- 1/4 cup peanut butter, smooth
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 cup green onions, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- In a large sauté pan or wok on medium heat, begin by heating the olive oil and the sesame oil. Add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until they become translucent.
- Add the garlic, peppers, ginger, and chilies. Cook for at an additional 3-4 minutes.
- Add the cabbage and cook until slightly wilted - approximately 2-3 minutes.
- While the cabbage is cooking, prepare your noodles according to the directions on the package.
- Once the cabbage is done, add the hoisin sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and peanut butter. Stir well to coat all of the vegetables.
- Add the noodles to the pan along with the green onions. At this point, add the black pepper as well.
- Toss to coat all of the noodles. Fry the noodles for 2 minutes.
- Add the peanuts and green onions. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Plate and top with fresh green onions. You can certainly add sesame seeds too if you prefer. Serve immediately.
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