Tian Tian Chao Mian (Everyday Fried Noodles)
Master this technique for a layered, salty-sweet, northern Chinese staple.
Food writer Lillian Chou shared this carefully layered salty-sweet stir-fry from her friend Sun Guoying, who introduces dry and wet ingredients to the wok in a strictly prescribed order. Dark soy sauce and rice cooking wine—two staples of Chinese stir-frying—are added and boiled along with sugar to create the noodles’ concentrated sauce, which beautifully clings to the rice noodles and fresh, salted cucumber.
- ½ small seedless cucumber, peeled and julienned
- Kosher salt
- 3 tbsp. canola oil
- 1 medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ lb. ground pork
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- One 1-in. piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 6 scallions, finely chopped
- 1½ tbsp. dark soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp. rice cooking wine
- 1½ tsp. sugar
- 2 cups bean sprouts
- 6 oz. dried flat noodles, boiled and rinsed under cold water
- 1 tbsp. Asian sesame oil
- In a small bowl, toss the cucumbers and a pinch of salt together; let sit for 5 minutes.
- Heat a large wok or stainless-steel skillet over high heat until it begins to smoke. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and swirl to coat the bottom and sides. Add the carrots and onions and cook, stirring continuously, until softened, about 1 minute. Transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside.
- Return the wok to high heat and add the remaining oil. Add the pork, garlic, ginger, and half of the scallions; cook, using a spatula to break the pork into small pieces, until the meat is browned, 3-4 minutes.
- Add the soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, bean sprouts, and cooked vegetables to the wok. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 30 seconds.
- Add the salted cucumbers, remaining scallions, noodles, and sesame oil to the wok; cook, tossing, until hot, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt, transfer to a wide bowl, and serve warm.