PREP TIME: 15 MINUTES ; COOK TIME: 15 MINUTES
This dish shows you how to get the crispy white noodles that garnish many stir-fries in Chinese restaurants. Use the finest dried vermicelli rice noodles or stranded dried bean noodles – they look very similar in the package. Fried in oil, they swell and give any dish a satisfying crunch.
1 cup vegetable oil, divided
3 slices of fresh ginger, peeled, each the size of a quarter
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small white onion, cut into thin, long vertical strips
1 large handful of snow peas, strings removed
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
½ shrimp (all sizes, peeled and deveined) or fish, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon black bean sauce or commercial black bean sauce (optional)
½ rice or dried bean vermicelli by the pound
- Heat a wok over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Pour 2 tablespoons of oil and stir to coat the bottom of the wok. Season the oil by adding the ginger slices and a small pinch of salt. Let the ginger sizzle in the oil for about 30 seconds, swirling gently.
- Add the bell pepper and onion and sauté them quickly by turning them in the wok with a wok spatula. Season lightly with salt and continue to sauté for 4-6 minutes, until the onion appears tender and translucent. Add the snow peas and garlic, stirring and turning until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute longer. Transfer the vegetables to a plate.
- Heat another tablespoon of oil and add the shrimp or fish. Mix gently and season lightly with a small pinch of salt. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the shrimp turn pink or the fish begins to flake. Put the vegetables back on and stir for another minute. Discard the ginger and transfer the shrimp to a platter. Tent with aluminum foil to keep them warm.
- Wipe the wok dry and return it to medium-high heat. Pour in the remaining oil (about ¾ cup) and heat to 375°F, or until it bubbles and sizzles on the end of a wooden spoon. As soon as the oil is hot, add the dried noodles. They will immediately begin to swell and rise from the oil. Using tongs, turn the noodle cloud over if you need to fry the top, gently remove oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.
- Gently break the noodles into small pieces and scatter them over the sautéed vegetables and shrimp. Serve immediately.