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Goan Curry "Chow Mein" With Seitan, Eggplant and Green Beans

Goan Curry "Chow Mein" With Seitan, Eggplant and Green Beans

Seattle is synonymous in my mind with good Asian food. Texas? Not so much. During my time there, I was hard-pressed to find a Thai, Chinese or Japanese restaurant that was up to snuff. To satisfy my need—and yes, I do mean need—for quality Asian cuisine, I had to learn how to cook it. 

I can make a mean stir-fry by following a recipe, but for a long time, I hesitated to try inventing my own. Asian cooking is a fine art, tested since nearly the dawn of human civilization. How could I possibly compete with recipes that have been refined since before my ancestors were farming potatoes? While my brain can now identify a good Thai or Chinese recipe from a bad one and my palate can discern what balance of flavors is correct, I wasn't sure I was up to riffing just yet. 

Until one day, on my weekly pilgrimage to Pike Place Market, I stumbled across the best thing to happen to noodles since Ottolenghi got his hands on them: Goan Curry Angel Hair from Pappardelle's Pasta. These noodles are positively life-changing. With their pleasant burnt-yellow hue and their subtly smoky, spiced flavor, I immediately started using them in a myriad of curries and noodle soups. 

Then one day, it hit me: These would be great in a stir-fry. I instantly pictured them laced with dark soy sauce and tossed with vibrant purple Japanese eggplants and bright green beans, standing in delightful contrast to the sunny yellow noodles. Finally, I was ready to try my hand at freestyle Asian cooking!

So I grabbed some plump eggplants and crisp green beans from the market, pulled some giant scallions out of our patio garden, busted out my wok and got down to business. The colors were just as wonderful as I had imagined, and the end result was absolutely delicious. I imagine it would also be lovely with the vegetables tossed in a smaller quantity of corn syrup-thickened sauce and served over plain cooked noodles, rather than stir-frying everything together at the end. But my husband and I gobbled up this riff on chow mein and loved every bite, so I hope you enjoy it, too!

Goan Curry "Chow Mein" With Seitan, Eggplant and Green Beans

8 oz seitan, cut into thin strips
1 very large or 2 medium Japanese eggplant, cut on an angle into 1” - 2” pieces
8 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into 3” - 4” pieces
2” ginger, peeled and minced
4 large or 6 small garlic cloves, peeled, smashed and minced
1-2 Thai chiles, stemmed and minced
1/2 lb. Pappardelle’s Goan Curry Angel Hair pasta
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
3 scallions, trimmed and chopped, light and dark green parts separated

For the sauce:
1 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tsp sugar dissolved in 1 tsp hot water
Sprinkle of Chinese five-spice powder (optional)

For the marinade:
1 tsp corn starch
1.5 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp peanut oil, plus more to fry the eggplant

While you are cooking the eggplant and the seitan, cook the noodles for about 6 minutes (or until al dente). Drain and set aside.

Set a burner to medium heat and add enough peanut oil to cover the bottom of a wok or frying pan (I used a frying pan, due a prior traumatic eggplant-burning incident burning in my wok). When the oil is hot, add the eggplant to the pan and fry gently without stirring until one side is golden brown (a few minutes; exact time will depend on your stove and pan). Flip the pieces and cook until both sides are golden brown, then remove to a plate. In the same pan, add the seitan and cook until golden brown (3-5 minutes). Remove the seitan to a plate (it can be the same one as the eggplant). If you aren't already using a wok, swap out your pan for a wok and turn up the heat to high.

Once the wok is nice and hot, add 1 tbsp of peanut oil (watch out as it will smoke). Add the ginger, garlic, chili and light part of the scallions and cook, stirring constantly to avoid burning, for 30 seconds. Add the green beans and cook for another 30 seconds, then toss in the Shaoxing wine to deglaze (this may smoke and sputter, as well). Add the eggplant and seitan to the pan, give everything a quick stir and toss in the cooked noodles. Pour the sauce over the top, and throw in the green parts of the scallions.

Using two utensils and a "scoop, lift and turn" motion, stir-fry the whole mixture until the noodles are uniformly colored with the sauce (this shouldn't take more than a minute or two, tops). 

Remove from the heat, serve immediately and enjoy! 

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