Noodles, Garlic & Gai Lan
Get ready. After a long absence we are re-introducing a Big Bowl favorite; fresh rice noodles. Thursday marks the beginning of the November specials card and Big Bowl continues its mission to provide locally produced, seasonal foods. Rice noodles, actually a combination of wheat and rice flour with tapioca starch, are made locally and delivered to our stores several times a week to keep them fresh and from drying out before cooking.
Most noodles are made by rolling and cutting a course dry mixture either by hand or through a series of progressively smaller rollers. Some noodles are handmade in an impressive display of pulling and stretching soft dough into thin strands of noodles. Rice noodles get their start as a batter poured onto cheesecloth and cooked over intense steam in bamboo baskets. Unlike noodles made from pure wheat flour, the rice noodle gets its soft, tender texture from the addition of gluten free rice and tapioca flours. After steaming, the large circular noodles (shaped like the steamer basket they were cooked in) are brushed with peanut oil to prevent sticking, cut in half and stacked. The noodles, wrapped in wax paper, are delivered to the restaurants where the chefs cut them fresh each morning.
This month, we feature these hand cut noodles in Crispy Rice Noodles with Steak and Gai Lan (Chinese broccoli). The noodles are browned in the wok on one side, giving them two textures, crunchy on the outside and tender and chewy on the inside. We also feature locally grown garlic, sweeter and milder than commercially grown garlic, from our network of farms we developed over the summer. Gai lan, a super nutritious dark green leafy vegetable, combined with Fresno peppers, ginger and a generous portion of marinated steak make this a hearty dish for a cool fall day. Join us this week through the month of November for a helping of these popular noodles.