I totes love Asian food and don't love not knowing exactly what's in it, especially considering that MSG plays a major role in most Asian cooking. I also wanted to make a vegan version of chow mien. So, after much research on Pinterest and otherwise, I came up with this recipe. I know my plating skills don't show through in the above photo but you can totally make it look amazing.
Here's the details:
1/2 package of rice vermicelli noodles
1/2 head of napa cabbage, sliced into strips
1 cup of vegetable stock
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon coconut aminos (instead of soy sauce or tamari)
1 tablespoon freshly peeled and chopped ginger (the best way to peel ginger is with a spoon. Scrape the spoon on the root and the skin peels right off. It's rad.)
1 - 2 tablespoons of freshly minced garlic (although the jar stuff is fine if you don't want to smell of garlic for days afterward)
3 - 4 spring onions (aka scallions), chopped
1 cup mushrooms of your choice (I used shiitakes), sliced
How to do it:
Chop up all the veggies first, because it's easier. Put a pot of water on to boil while you're doing it. When the water starts to boil, break up the rice vermicelli noodles and stir a few times so they don't stick together. Unlike Italian food, you don't need to add salt or oil to the water. After the noodles have boiled for a bit, take about 1/2 cup of the starchy water from the pot and set it aside. Boil the noodles until they are tender. Drain and set aside.
In the meantime, in a large frying pan, add the olive oil, ginger, garlic, and spring onions. Cook on medium heat until aromatic. Add in the mushroom and the napa cabbage, being cautious of crowding everything together too much. If you crowd mushrooms, they won't cook right and you'll end up with mushy mushrooms and that's just no fun to eat at all. Cook the whole lot of it until the napa cabbage leaves start to wilt. Add the vegetable stock and the coconut aminos. Stir until blended. Add the noodles and the 1/2 cup of noodle water and turn the heat down after a minute or two. Continue to stir until the noodles have absorbed the stock and the starchy water. It's time to serve!
Garnish with more spring onions or even some cilantro on top to make it look pretty.
Serves up to 4, depending upon the appetite.
I've made this several times now and you can tweak it here and there, adding whatever vegetables you have in your refrigerator or even chicken, minced pork, or egg, if you like. The coconut aminos and rice vermicelli noodles ensure that it's totes gluten-free and, if you go sans animal protein, it's also vegan. If you have any questions about the recipe or want to share your variations, please do!!