Simple stir-fried rice noodles stretch the protein

Gretchen McKay
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Noodle dishes are a menu standard in homes, restaurants and food stalls from Japan to China to Italy to Peru.

Often made with easy-to-find, everyday ingredients, they’re both wonderfully economical and oh-so versatile: They can be tossed in tomato sauce or pesto for a taste of Italy, simmered in broth with meat, tofu or veggies for an Asian-style soup, or tossed with seafood or cheese for a one-pot meal.

Noodles also make for great stir-fry, as Milk Street’s terrific new cookbook, “Noodles,” makes abundantly clear. From fast and saucy dishes such as shrimp with orzo and tomatoes to noodle soups, Japanese macaroni salad and Italian pastas, Christopher Kimble and his team travel the globe to gather recipes you can’t wait to slurp from a bowl or twist on a fork.

One that immediately caught my eye was a stir-fry combining thinly sliced flank steak with broccolini and rice stick noodles in a soy-garlic sauce. I don’t buy a lot of meat these days because it can break the bank, especially steak, so I like recipes that can stretch the protein into several servings by tossing it with other ingredients.

Rice stick noodles should be easy to find in the international section of your grocery store; Milk Street suggests wide noodles but I could only find medium and they worked just fine.

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Rice noodles with thinly sliced flank steak and broccolini is an easy stir-fry. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)

Rice Noodles With Thinly Sliced Flank Steak and Broccolini

  • 2 teaspoons plus 1/4 cup soy sauce, divided, plus more to serve
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons dry sherry or Shaoxing wine, divided
  • 4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, divided
  • 3 teaspoons oyster sauce, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Ground white pepper
  • 12 ounces flank steak, cut with the grain into 2-to-3-inch pieces, then thinly sliced against the grain
  • 8 ounces dried rice stick noodles
  • Boiling water, to soak the noodles
  • 3 tablespoons broccolini, halved lengthwise if thick
  • 1 small yellow onion, halved and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths

In medium bowl, whisk 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons sherry, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, 1 teaspoon oyster sauce, cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper. Add beef and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours.

Place noodles in a large heat-proof bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let stand, stirring once or twice and separating any strands that are sticking together, until noodles are pliable, about 15 minutes, then drain. Toss with remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons sherry, remaining 2 teaspoons oyster sauce, 3 tablespoons water and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Set aside.

In a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, heat grapeseed oil until barely smoking. Add beef in an even layer and cook without stirring until well browned on the bottom and pieces release easily from skillet.

Add broccolini, onion and garlic; cook, stirring and scraping up any brown bits, until onion is lightly browned and broccolini is bright green, about 3 minutes.

Add noodles, reduce to medium and cook, tossing to combine, for about 1 minute. Add soy mixture and scallions; cook, tossing and scraping up any browned bits, until the noodles are tender and have absorbed the sauce and the broccolini is tender-crisp, 3-5 minutes.

Off heat, taste and season with additional soy sauce and white pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

— “Milk Street Noodles: Secrets to the World’s Best Noodles, from Fettuccine Alfredo to Pad Thai to Miso Ramen” by Christopher Kimball (Voracious, $35)