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America's Test Kitchen 7x11

Staying in For Chinese Take-Out

Try serving a saucy stir-fry over an Asian-style noodle cake instead of the usual rice.

We love a good stir-fry served with rice, but sometimes a change of pace is welcome. A noodle cake, a savory round of tender noodles sautéed in a skillet until the exterior is crisp, is the perfect base for a saucy stir-fry. We’ve enjoyed noodle cakes in restaurants, but never at home. We set out to find the best way to make one. While we were at it, we also aimed to develop a chicken stir-fry with really juicy chicken in a fresh-flavored sauce. Too often, chicken can turn dry and stringy in a stir-fry and no amount of sauce can rescue dry meat. Another Asian classic, also more familiar at the restaurant table than in the average American home kitchen, is hot and sour soup—a spicy, bracing broth filled with pork, tofu, and wisps of egg. But is visiting your local Chinese restaurant the only way to enjoy this soup? We wanted to enjoy this complex-flavored soup at home. But with a host of hard-to-find ingredients and a long simmering time, we had our work cut out for us. We’d need to strategically choose our ingredients and find reasonable substitutions for those that are just too difficult to find at the supermarket. At the same time, we’d need to take a hard look at streamlining the soup’s lengthy preparation. And, we wouldn’t settle for a pale imitation of this heady soup—it would need to stand up to the authentic versions we often crave.

Recipes:

Stir-Fried Chicken with Bok Choy and Crispy Noodle Cake

Hot and Sour Soup

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America’s Test Kitchen: 7×11
Mar. 17, 2007

America's Test Kitchen season 7