Chinese 5-Spice Noodles with Broccoli

For some reason broccoli just screams “stir fry” to me. Not sure why, but every time I try to think of what I can do with broccoli, all I can think of is stir fry. I’m gonna have to work on that, because I am thinking there is a lot more to do with it then throw in a wok. Nevertheless, it does make a great addition to any stir fry. It provides a great crunch, turns a lovely vibrant green when cooked, and is a great source of Vitamin C. Here it is paired with cellophane noodles, shredded carrots and cabbage, but a “just-vegi” stir fry with mushrooms or snap peas instead of noodles is also delicious. And just as the vegis in a stir fry are interchangeable, so is the sauce. I like it salty and spicy with a touch of sweetness, but certainly taste the sauce before you throw it in—so you know what you’re getting into. One unchangeable step in my book is the addition of nuts. Adding a handful or toasted almonds or cashews on top provides a wonderful crunch, so make sure you have some on hand.

Chinese 5-Spice Noodles with Broccoli
serves 4

8 oz. cellophane noodles
2 T soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
2 t Chinese garlic paste
1 t fresh ginger, minced
2 t Chinese 5-spice powder
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 c onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 c vegetable broth
1 large bunch broccoli, stems removed
1 c shredded carrots and cabbage
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 c sliced almonds, toasted
salt and pepper

In stockpot, boil water. Add cellophane noodles and cook for 30 seconds. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic paste, ginger and 5-spice powder.

In a large wok, heat vegetable oil over high heat until sizzling. Add onion and cook, stirring, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Stir in broth, broccoli, carrots and cabbage. Add soy sauce mixture and stir until vegetables are well coated. Cook 3-5 minutes until broccoli is tender and liquid begins to reduce. Add scallions and cellophane noodles, stirring well and separating noodles throughout the vegetables (cutting into smaller pieces, if necessary). Top with almonds and season to taste with salt and pepper.

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