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Penang Fried Rice Noodles

Published in Gourmet Live 11.09.11
Recipe by Alexis Touchet, With Food Styling by Paul Grimes

This streamlined version of a favorite Malaysian street food noodle dish, char kway teow, substitutes Spanish chorizo for the Chinese sausage sometimes used. The smoked paprika that flavors the chorizo may be far from traditional, but it adds another layer of depth to this seductive stir-fry of rice noodles with shrimp, egg, and jicama. There’s just enough chile paste for a mild buzz of heat, but not so much that your mouth is on fire.

If the jicama seems like a weird Mexican-Malaysian fusion idea, then you probably don’t know that jicama is used in Asia, where it’s known as Chinese turnip or potato. Its sweet crunch is reminiscent of fresh water chestnuts. Don’t expect a supersaucy dish, but rest assured there’s enough sauce to coat everything.

Makes 4 servings
Active time: 30 min
Total time: 40 min

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound (1/8- to 1/4-inch wide) dried rice stick noodles
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 1 tablespoon chile paste (sambal oelek) or Chinese garlic chile paste
  • 3 ounces Spanish chorizo, halved lengthwise, casing removed if desired (see Cooks’ Notes), sausage thinly sliced crosswise
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 pound jicama, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks
  • 1 bunch scallions (greens only), cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • Lime wedges for serving

EQUIPMENT

  • A 14-inch wok, preferably flat-bottomed, or a 12-inch heavy skillet

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Soak noodles in cold water to cover 30 minutes, then drain. Cook noodles in a large (5- to 6-quart) pot of boiling salted water 4 minutes. Drain noodles in a colander, then rinse thoroughly and drain well.
  • Stir together soy sauce and water, then reserve.
  • Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in wok or skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering, then add eggs and stir-fry until just cooked through, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and wipe out pan, if necessary.
  • Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan until shimmering and stir-fry shrimp and chile paste 30 seconds (shrimp will not be cooked through).
  • Add chorizo and garlic and stir-fry until shrimp are just cooked through, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Add soy mixture, cooked noodles, jicama, and scallions, and stir-fry until noodles are heated through and scallion greens are wilted, about 1 minute.
  • Remove pan from heat and stir in eggs. Serve immediately.

COOKS’ NOTES

  • In the 30 minutes it takes to soak the noodles, all other prep work can be done, including bringing the water to a boil to cook the noodles.
  • The chile paste is quite strong when it hits the pan, and will likely cause you to cough, so if you have a vent fan, turn it on high.
  • Some people prefer their chorizo with casing removed, but in Asia, they wouldn’t remove the casing on Chinese sausage, so it’s your choice whether you want to remove it or not.
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