200 g (6 oz) fresh wide rice noodles
1/2-1 teaspoon dark soy sauce (optional)
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled
pinch of salt
100 g (3 oz) chicken breast fillet, cut into about 10 slices
1 tbsp yellow bean sauce
ground white pepper (to season)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp white sugar
100 g (3 oz) young Chinese broccoli, cut into approximately 3 cm lengths (about 1 cup)
1 tbsp tapioca flour, mixed to a slurry with 2 tbsp water
1 tsp light soy sauce, to taste
1 tsp fish sauce, to taste
chillies steeped in vinegar (to serve)
extra fish sauce, white sugar and roasted chili powder (to serve)
1. Spread and tease the noodles. If they have been steamed, rub them with the dark soy sauce. Heat the wok and spread the noodles over its surface, allowing them to char and crisp before lifting and turning. Try not to break up the noodles. Once they are charred, add a drop of oil if the wok seems too dry. The noodles should be dark and aromatic, almost burnt in parts. Divide between two bowls and keep warm.
2. Crush the garlic to a somewhat coarse paste with the salt—either by pounding it using a pestle and mortar or finely chopping it with a knife.
3. In a small pan—or the cleaned wok—heat the oil, add the garlic paste and fry until it is beginning to colour.
4. Add the chicken and continue frying until the garlic is golden and the chicken is sealed.
5. Add the yellow bean sauce and fry for a minute or so. Sprinkle in a pinch of pepper and fry for a moment before adding the stock.
6. Bring to the boil and add the sugar and broccoli. Simmer until the broccoli is wilted and quite tender—it must not be too crispy.
7. Pour in the tapioca slurry. Simmer, stirring constantly, as the sauce thickens and swells slightly: it should be really quite thick, almost translucent and pleasingly glutinous. Season with the light soy and fish sauces: it should taste salty, sweet and smoky.
8. Pour the sauce over the noodles and sprinkle with white pepper. Serve with fish sauce, white sugar, roasted chilli powder and sliced chillies steeped in vinegar.
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