It doesn’t take too much effort to do better than takeout.
That was our theory when we set out to improve on this classic of Chinese takeout. And we were thrilled with the results. The slightly salty noodles act as a base for a saucy-spicy beef. The sauce uses hoisin and chili-garlic paste to really punch up the flavor without much effort.
Chili-garlic paste and hoisin sauce are both sold jarred in the Asian or international section of most grocers. The heat in this dish is moderate, so consider easing up on the chili-garlic paste if you prefer things on the mild side.
Spicy Hoisin Beef with Ginger-Soy Noodles
For the noodles:
Two 9-ounce packages fresh egg noodles (sold alongside produce and tofu)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin, 2-inch long strips
3 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
3 tablespoons soy sauce
For the beef:
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon five-spice powder
1 pound flank steak, cut into 1/4-inch thick strips across the grain
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons chili-garlic paste
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Sesame seeds, to garnish
To prepare the noodles, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Return the saucepan to the stove. Add the sesame oil and heat over medium-high. Add the ginger, bell pepper and scallions. Saute for 1 minute, then add the noodles and soy sauce and toss well. Cover and set aside.
To make the beef, in a shallow bowl stir together the cornstarch and five-spice powder. Toss the steak strips into the mixture until thoroughly coated.
In a deep skillet over high, heat the oil. Saute the steak strips until crispy, browned and cooked through, turning occasionally, about 3 minutes. Drain off any excess oil. Stir in the hoisin, chili-garlic paste and rice wine vinegar.
Serve the beef over the noodles. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Yield: 6 servings
Approximate nutrition per serving: 674 calories, 34 grams fat (7 grams saturated, 44 percent fat calories), 31 grams protein, 64 grams carbohydrate, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 7 grams dietary fiber, 1,904 milligrams sodium.