I am the first to admit that my skill cooking Chinese stir fries is lacking. In fact, I’m downright horrible at concocting meals that best should be ordered as take-out, and will never match what can be delivered in those ubiquitous white boxes.
However, I still try to stir-fry veggies and meat together. I don’t know if I continue to attempt this based on foggy memory, or out of sheer stubbornness that one of these days I can triumph. I always fail, and end up with a gloppy, overcooked mess of vegetables and meat, served over white rice. Even a healthy dose of soy sauce doesn’t help; all that does is add a layer to salt the sogginess.
Then one day, my brilliant daughter Isabelle suggested I divide in order to conquer. “Why,” she asked me, “do you have to cook it all together? Each is nice by itself. Try that.”
Thus armed with the incontrovertible assurances of a seventeen-year-old, I came up with the following recipe. It’s great. You’ll end up with a spicy-sweet panfried steak, nestled next to udon noodles bursting with crunchy baby bok choy and white beech mushrooms, tossed with a hint of hoisin sauce. I promise it won’t be soggy.
Lamb Sirloin with Hoisin Sauce and Udon Noodle Stir Fry Recipe
What you’ll need:
1 package udon noodles (they come in bands of three; I usually cook all at once according to package directions)
4 (8 oz) lamb leg sirloin steaks
4 T sesame oil, divided
2 tsp Chinese Five Spice powder
Splash of saké (Japanese rice wine)
3 heads baby bok choy, separated, rinsed, stem ends trimmed, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup low salt beef broth
1 package fresh white beech mushrooms (enoki mushrooms are available at most larger grocery stores, and come in white and brown varieties) rinsed, root ends removed, and separated into separate mushroom stems
1/4 cup hoisin sauce (Lee Kum Kee brand contains the lowest amount of salt)
Low sodium soy sauce
Rinse lamb steaks and pat dry. Sprinkle with Chinese Five Spice powder and rub into meat. Place on wire rack over plate to air dry and drain. Steaks may sit at room temperature for an hour.
Heat water in large pot to boiling. Cook udon noodles according to package directions. Drain, return to pot, and add several tablespoons sesame oil to drained noodles, stirring to coat. Cover and set aside.
In large heavy skillet, warm remaining 2 T sesame oil over medium-high heat. Brown sirloin on all sides, until it releases easily from the skillet. This is a great method of knowing when your meat is browned; if you have to pull on it to flip it, it’s not ready. The steaks will let you know when they are! Remove to clean plate.
With heat off, add splash of saké. Turn heat back on to medium-high, and add bok choy, stirring. Lower heat to medium.
Add beef broth, mushrooms, hoisin sauce and a splash of soy sauce. Stir to combine, tossing to coat vegetables with sauce. Cook for 2 minutes, until slightly tender.
Add vegetables to udon noodles with a splash of soy sauce, combining gently with a pasta fork. Cover.
Return lamb to skillet, simmering until coated with sauce and warmed, and meat is cooked to desired temperature, about 2-3 minutes for medium-rare.
Serve noodles with lamb overlapping.
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