Culinary Experiment #8: Garlic Scallion Noodles

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Confession: I don’t normally cook/saute/fry things in butter.

I love butter. For toast. For cornbread. For baking. But with the exception of making pancakes, butter never hits my skillet.

It’s just not how I grew up. My mom always used canola or vegetable oil. And only recently did I discover the joys of using olive oil. Don’t get me wrong, buttery sauces are nice, but if I’m frying or sauteing something, I want a cleaner taste. I want to taste what I’m frying, not necessarily the oil/fat I’m frying with.

I wish I could say this recipe turned out amazing, but it just sort of fell flat. But I will say it wasn’t all the butter’s fault. Just most of it.

I just felt like this recipe couldn’t decide between producing a smooth garlic butter sauce or stir-frying the noodles. And maybe that was supposed to be the genius behind it: that you could potentially get the best of both worlds– fried noodles in a creamy kettle corn-esque sauce does sound kind of awesome.

But the meal just didn’t come together for me.

My photos are deceiving: Yes, even if you mess up, this dish still comes out visually appealing. It’s that whole supermodel sporting a burlap sack thing. Sure, the outfit is a fashion nightmare, but it’s still a supermodel stomping down that runway. Sure, the noodles didn’t taste that great, but it was covered in a shimmery golden dressing of butter, brown sugar and garlic. Then it was adorned with emeralds—I mean bright green onions. The dish was still made up of everything most people fantasize about when it comes to food: butter, sugar and bright colors.

Here are the pros: Visually appealing. Nice nutty flavor from the soy sauce. Slightly sweet. Scallions add bright color and freshness to the dish.

Here are the cons: The butter congeals after a while and left the noodles soggy. Yes, you have to eat this while it’s piping hot or it can get oily and greasy tasting after a while. Slightly overpowering bitter garlic flavor.

But here’s what I did wrong (A.K.A. Recipe Notes Part I):

  1. When sauteing the garlic and onions, I didn’t really pay attention to how long I let it cook and I’m sure I didn’t stir it enough. And so, some of the garlic  and onions burned and left a bitter taste in the sauce.
  2. I should have used more noodles. The recipe called for “half of a box of noodles” but I reduced it to a portion that I could actually consume. The problem was that I reduced the amount of the noodles without reducing the amount of sauce I was making and so the small batch of noodles I made was forced to soak up a ton of melted butter that was really meant for half of a box of noodles. This could have contributed to the soggy noodle problem mentioned  above.

Some variations I’d like to try with this recipe (Recipe Notes Part II):

  1. While I was cooking, I thought about adding some red pepper chili flakes to the noodles for some heat. I might do that next time. I love spicy food and the flakes might help cut through the richness of the butter sauce.
  2. While the noodles photographed beautifully with the green onions, I’d still like to see more colors pop through these golden brown noodles. So next time, I’d probably add broccoli, carrots and red bell peppers to this dish.

Thanks for reading this post! I’d love to hear any of your comments or questions, so feel free to post a note in the comments section below!

I’d also like to thank Joanne Choi of “Week of Menus” for posting this recipe.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

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