Although pasta is still tops, for me, I’m still a fan of Asian noodles, especially if I can get them in whole grain. A few years ago, I discovered Annie Chun’s brown rice mai fun, which looks, tastes, and feels exactly like the white variety, to the point that I doubted their actual nutritional content. Over time, however, I did notice the discrepancies, but only because I’d train myself to — as with different pasta varieties, and the like. Typically, mai fun is dominated by, well, mai fun, and is more or less a simple starch with vegetables as an accoutrement. I can’t really eat like this, but if you’ve got the right ingredients, you can ‘chop’ the mai fun and fry it to a good crisp on all sides, without worrying about degrading the oil, then add as many vegetables as you want. It’s not exactly mai fun, in the way it’s traditionally made, but has much more substance, with the crisp giving it a Western feel, to boot.
One thing to watch out for is wet ingredients, as they’ll prevent a good crisp from forming, or at least make you overcook things in your quest for such. Rinse all ingredients in a colander, shake off the excess water, and cover with a paper towel to soak up the rest a few hours before cooking.
Chopped Mai Fun Recipe (Serves 2):
- 1 package of brown rice mai fun
- 2 fistfuls of fresh bean sprouts
- 2 fistfuls of chopped cabbage
- 1 large red carrot, chopped into 1/2 inch sticks
- 2-3 oz frozen peas, rinsed, thawed, and completely drained
- 8 oz shrimp, thawed in salt water, drained
- 4 quality eggs
- 3-4 tbsp of rice bran oil
- 3-4 tbsp of soy sauce
- a few shakes of cayenne or Korean red pepper
- Boil noodles for no more than 2 minutes, drain completely, and set aside.
- Add rice bran oil to a large wok or pan, and saute carrot for 5 minutes.
- Gradually add cabbage, peas, and bean sprouts, until cabbage is translucent.
- Break 4 eggs into pan, add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, and a few shakes of the pepper. Mix until egg is fully cooked.
- Add shrimp, mix well, and cover pan for 2 minutes.
- Throw in the mai fun, alongside another tbsp of oil, soy sauce, and more cayenne.
- Mix well, then turn the heat up to high. Listen for the ‘crisp’ and smoke from the bottom, 3-4 minutes.
- Mix again, chopping the shrimp into pieces with your spatula. This will chop the mai fun, as well.
- Let final mix crisp some more under high heat, until the mai fun is brown in many parts.
- Cool the thing a little, and you’re done.