Tag Archives: Asian

Longevity Noodles

The perfect dish to begin our blog: Longevity Noodles.

I’m addicted – both to them and to the idea of longevity – within reason, of course. We’ve adapted this recipe from Grace Young, the food writer whose cookbooks adorn our shelves. Our daughter, Sara, introduced us to Grace in New York City 12 years ago, so I was delighted when I found this recipe in the New York Times and saw that it came from Grace’s Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge. And I was even more delighted to find that Longevity Noodles are both simple to prepare and delicious to eat. And they warm up beautifully on that day you don’t want to cook.  Just pop them in the microwave.

And, just so you know: these noodles are typically served during the Chinese New Year and represent longevity, intelligence, and prosperity. What more could we wish for you, our new and not-yet-devoted readers!  Plus, you’re packing big hopes into this little dish.  Now, according to the Chinese, just don’t break the noodles up – or all longevity goes by the wayside.

FYI: this recipe may be more labor-intensive than most of our other recipes, but it is so delicious – and starting out with longevity noodles is so perfect – that we couldn’t resist.  

Longevity Noodles

  • Servings: 4
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Adapted from Grace Young


  • 12 oz thin fresh egg noodles
  • 1 T sesame oil

Chicken and marinade

  • 1# boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into very small pieces (about 1/2″)
  • 2 tsp rice wine or dry sherry (optional)  I have read that gin makes a fine replacement for rice wine.  Go for it!
  • 1T very finely grated ginger
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (preferably white pepper, but I used black)

Ingredients for the stir-fry

  • 2 T peanut or vegetable oil (divided)
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  •  about 4 c thinly sliced Napa cabbage (about 1/2 of a large head)
  • 3 c sliced shiitake mushrooms with the stems removed.  I haven’t tried the ordinary already-sliced readily-available mushrooms.  It would save time – but might not be as good.  Report back if you try them.

To add at the very end

  • 1 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 T rice wine or dry sherry (optional) – or more gin
  • 2/3 c thinly sliced green onions
  • 3/4 tsp salt – depending upon your salt love


  1. Fill a medium-sized pot with water and bring to a boil.  Cook the noodles just until done (3-5 minutes is what Grace recommends).  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Return noodles to the pot and toss with the sesame oil.
  2. Put the diced chicken in a bowl and add the rice wine, ginger, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix gently.  This marinated chicken can sit for a bit – even enhancing the flavor.  I’d use it within an hour, though.
  3. Heat a wok (preferably) or large frying pan until very hot.  Add 1 T of the peanut oil and swirl, then add the marinated chicken and the pepper flakes.  Let the chicken sear for one minute and then stir-fry until the chicken is just done – less than 5 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the pan and put in a good-sized bowl.  Add the cabbage and mushrooms to the pan (once it’s hot again) and stir-fry until the cabbage is wilted but not completely cooked and the mushrooms are soft.  Add the cabbage and mushrooms to the chicken.
  4. Heat up the wok again to very hot, add the last 1 T of peanut oil and add the cooked noodles.  Stir-fry for about 30 seconds, then add the “add at the very end” ingredients – the soy sauce, rice wine, and green onions.  Add the chicken and vegetable mixture and the final 3/4 tsp of salt.  Stir-fry it all until everything is heated through.

And I swear it’s better warmed up the next day.  And it will freeze.

Pho-ish Chicken

‾‾Our daughter, Sara, just got back from a 10-day trip to Vietnam. According to her, one of the highlights of the trip was a boat ride through the fascinating and lovely Mekong Delta. Now I know I’m going to really date myself here, but I’m of the generation that has trouble not thinking of the Mekong Delta as the place where John Kerry commanded a Swift boat, patrolling those waterways and seeking out “hostile forces” and getting shot at. What a joy to think it’s now a much-heralded spot to visit.

Anyway, after hearing Sara rave about that fabulous food of Vietnam, I’m determined to make some for Andy and me. I love Sara’s Banh Mi recipe from her Picnics cookbook (shameless pitch), but I want soup on this chilly day, not a sandwich. We love beef Pho but have never tried chicken Pho, so here we go. I got my ideas from a Smitten Kitchen post and she got her ideas from Charles Phan of SF’s Slanted Door. And I also used ideas from a blog by Nadia Lim.

Pho-ish Chicken

  • Servings: 4
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This is a very simplified way to fix a Chicken Pho (pronounced Fuh, not Pho. It rhymes with Duh, not Dough. Obviously, homemade chicken stock is better, but we're in a hurry.


  • 2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered
  • 1 ½” piece of ginger, cut into 3 pieces and smashed
  • 6-8 c good quality chicken broth or stock
  • 3 whole star anise
  • ½ cinnamon stick (about 3”)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used Mary’s chicken – 7 thighs were in a pound, but the only reason that matters is that the cooking time might need to be increased with bigger thighs).
  • 1 T (or to taste) fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
  • 8 oz thin dried rice noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • Garnishes: Your choice of sliced green onions, bean sprouts, torn basil leaves (Thai basil is perfect but regular works too), chopped cilantro leaves, thinly sliced jalapenos.
  • Serve with quartered limes and sriracha sauce and/or hoisin sauce


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a pan with aluminum foil, place the onions, cut side down, and the ginger on the foil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Rinse the onions to cool and then peel off outer layer and cut off tops and bottoms.   Add the onions and the ginger to the chicken broth. Add the anise, cinnamon, coriander, and sugar, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon or small strainer, remove the chunky things from the broth. Add the chicken thighs to the strained broth and simmer for another 15 -20 minutes or until the thighs are just cooked. Remove the thighs and either cut up or shred with forks.   If you want a clear broth, as is typical in pho, you should strain the broth, using a fine mesh strainer.

Add about half of the cut-up thighs back into the broth and stir in the fish sauce.  Reheat, if necessary.

Dish up the cooked noodles into soup bowls; add the chicken and broth and top with the garnishes of your choice (see above).

Save the remainder of the chicken for a Banh Mi sandwich, a chicken salad, or fried rice. Freeze leftover Pho for another day.

Recipe provided by Big Little Meals and Andy and Ann
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