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23 Mar 2010

Oriental beef noodles (two ways) and stir-fried vegetables; more birthday cake and trifle for dessert. Oriental beef noodles (two ways) and stir-fried vegetables; more birthday cake (pinwheel cake iced with chocolate buttercream frosting) and trifle for dessert.

So a while back, I picked up some hoisin sauce. (Actually, first I knocked a jar over, broke it, paid for it, then picked up a jar, bought it, and managed to get it home in one piece, yay). I'd seen it called for in some Asian recipes, and it's one of very few Asian sauces we didn't yet have, so finally I decided to get some. Just so it could sit in the cupboard. *coff*

So I was hunting for something in which to try the hoisin sauce, and came across this noodle dish, which caught my eye because, in the version I first read it in, it has Szechuan in the name. It has no szechuan in the recipe, I note, so I've changed the name. It does, however, have 260 reviews at the moment, and I read through several. Many of the ones I read through said they didn't have hoisin sauce, so they used oyster sauce (another sad, neglected sauce in my collection); many who used hoisin said it was too sweet, so the amount should be pared down. Reading the directions, I realized it wouldn't be too difficult to do SCIENCE to this dish and try both in one go, side by side. So that's what we did.

We divided the sauce in half, just before adding the hoisin, and added hoisin to half and oyster to half; the part that got hoisin got less than it should have, by half. Then each got tossed with noodles (actual noodles, not pasta, which just seemed odd to me) and beef and served. I did cut the red pepper called for, but we'll add more next time.

The results, you ask? There wasn't much difference. The oyster sauce one was saucier (which makes loads of sense, though I hadn't thought that far ahead before eating it), and I liked that about it - it's not much sauce at all, really, no matter which way you do it. Chris preferred the hoisin, so we'll try that next time. We didn't find it even vaguely approaching the "sweet" mark, so we'll up the hoisin to 3/4 the called-for amount, and top it up with oyster sauce.

I used a lot of the same elements of the sauce for the noodles in the stir-fry, to tie it together a bit. Those came out nicely.

The birthday cake was starting to stale this night. Can't blame it, I suppose.

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