janet @ the taste space

Chinese Five Spice Vegetable and Noodle Stir Fry, Take 2

In Mains (Vegetarian) on January 22, 2013 at 5:46 AM

Chinese Five Spice Vegetable and Noodle Stir Fry, Take 2

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I reflect on where I have been and I wonder how I managed to pull through. How did I manage to survive 4 years of medical school? Nearly 5 years of residency? Cycle between Ottawa and Kingston and back again? In the thick of it: I don’t think, I just perform.

During medical school, for the first two years, I routinely had lectures from 8am to 5pm every day, interspersed with small group sessions, anatomy labs and clinical skills workshops.  Even when I go to conferences, I don’t subject myself to 9 hours of lectures in a day. It is just nuts. However, this weekend I sat through 3 days of intense review-type lectures. Rapid fast compressed learning, except it was more of a reminder of things I already knew. However, after 10 hours of lectures on Saturday, and a lengthy 3 hour drive home (thank you Toronto traffic), I was positively pooped. The next day, too. The last thing I wanted to do was to cook… it was that bad. I ended up sleeping at 8pm. 😉

Meals stashed in the freezer are a definite boon these days. However, I find cooking therapeutic. A way to destress as I chop and julienne vegetables, stirring patiently as I saute onions or peacefully munch through the leftovers.

When I finally made it back into the kitchen, instead of reinventing the wheel, I revamped an old favourite. This is a variation of my Chinese Five Spice Vegetable and Noodle Stir Fry. Same flavours, mostly different vegetables. Turns out the original recipe called for winter vegetables like Brussels sprouts. My first incarnation included parsnips, carrots, green beans, oyster mushrooms and Swiss chard; basically the odds and ends in my fridge. This time, I included thinly sliced Brussels sprouts, enoki mushrooms, carrots and parsnips: the current odds and ends in my fridge. The hardest part is chopping all the vegetables, but a quick saute in the wok yields a flavourful meal from the Chinese five spice. I use kelp noodles, which I like in Asian stir fries, but feel free to use your favourite noodle. Gena recently wrote a great post all about kelp noodles if you have yet to try them. I am already imagining my next incarnation, likely including edamame. 🙂

Chinese Five Spice Vegetable and Noodle Stir Fry, Take 2

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Marta.

Chinese Five Spice Vegetable and Noodle Stir Fry, Take 2
Adapted from River Cottage Veg Every Day! (original recipe here)

16 oz kelp noodles, rinsed and drained (or your favourite noodle) [cut kelp noodles into smaller pieces for easier mixing]
2 tsp coconut oil, or oil of choice
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into matchstick (340g)
1 large parsnip, peeled and thinly sliced (140g)
1 package enoki mushrooms, trimmed and coarsely chopped (200g)
8 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced (200g)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce (I used Bragg’s Liquid Aminos)
2 tbsp sake
2 tsp Chinese five spice powder (homemade or store-bought)
juice of half a lime juice (1-2 tbsp), to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. Cook your noodles as per the package directions. For kelp noodles, rinse and drain.

2. Have all of your vegetables cut before starting.

3. In a non-stick wok over high heat, heat the oil. Add the chopped onion and chile flakes and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the carrot and parsnip and cook for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and garlic and stir-fry for a couple more minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from the wok.

4. In the same wok, over medium-low heat, add your cooked noodles. Add the soy sauce, sake, Chinese five spice powder and stir to mix well. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the vegetables and toss together and keep warm. Squeeze lime juice overtop and mix well. Season to taste.

Serves 3.

  1. How did you make it through all that, Janet? I know why and it’s easy to explain. It’s because you are AWESOME!

  2. It’s amazing what you can do when you do’nt have a choice, isn’t it? I mean, you had a choice to sign up, but once you’re in it you either get it done or fail. and there’s no way we’re going to fail! 🙂

  3. Wow that’s insane!! You are seriously a superwoman! I’m inspired now to stop complaining about my own busy schedule and just power through because you’re right- it’s amazing what you can do if you just power through!

  4. Oh my goodness this brings back memories of my 8 years in Toronto. It was too cold for me so I moved to California. Without a doubt Toronto is now the leading culinary city in North America. When I first went there most of the restaurants were boring and just terrible. Now their is a Kaleidoscope of really good food choices. Los Angeles has a long way to go before they catch up to Toronto with it’s fabulous collection of Chinese, Sri Lankan, Portuguese,Greek,Italian, Polish,Tibetan, Malaysian and other restaurants.

  5. You went to med school? How did I miss that one? A quick and easy dish of noodles and veg sounds like a perfect way to wind down after a day of crazy brainwork! 🙂

  6. We only had class for five hours a day when I was in the first two years of med school and even THAT seems like a lot! Sheesh…9 hours. Don’t think I could handle it!

  7. I think I missed this—what specialty is your residency? And are you going on to a fellowship now?

    This recipe sounds wonderful—but does the coconut oil make it too coconuty? (I know you have been cutting down on using extra oil, so I am sure you feel it really needs it—and I can’t imagine stir frying without oil.) Thanks for the links to the five -spice powder; we will use it to make our own with our new spice grinder. Will see how the brusel sprouts (aka angry little cabbages do wokked instead of their usual yummy roasting).

    And thanks so much for this blog. I’ve learned so much and it has helped me tweak a pretty healthy vegetarian diet into an uber-healthy whole foods vegan one. I know you went into medicine to help people with their health—-but this blog also does that. My husband just got diagnosed with a lot of coronary artery calcification (probably mostly due to genetics as well as years of stress while working), but this nutrarian way of eating should really help stabilize and even reverse it (but being foodies, we couldn’t adhere to it if there weren’t inspiring photos and delicious recipes on your site.

    • Check your inbox, Ellen. 🙂

    • Hey Ellen,

      I saw this post and then realized I hadn’t written back specifically to you yet.

      Totally not a failure!! As long that it tastes good, it sounds like a success to me. I actually have not had very good luck with black sesame seeds, to be honest. It may be that I have only bought that in Chinatown, but they never taste as flavourful as the unhulled ones from the bulk store. I think freshness may be the key in this case.

      • The pinterest photos were fun and made me feel better about my black sesame cooking project. Now the next experiment is to see whether I also find regular seeds to be more flavorful than black. I was so enamored with the black that this never crossed my mind, but come to think of it, I don’t really notice much taste with them.

      • Let me know what you think.. perhaps it is just my source of black sesame seeds.

  8. I love the colors in all the foods you cook. You cook so well but it’s like you’re also an artist playing with the colors of your food. I love it.

  9. […] roasted them, roasted them, and roasted them again. I added them to soups, stirfries and […]

  10. […] I prefer Brussels sprouts roasted, I also like them slipped into scrambles, skillets, stir fries, pastas, soups and salads. The last on my bucket list (I think) was to try them raw, shredded into […]

  11. […] Chinese Five Spice Vegetable and Noodle Stir Fry – The Taste Space […]

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