Longevity Noodles

5.0
(6,225)

This quick dish pairs light, umami-seasoned lo mein noodles with crunchy snow peas and water chestnuts.

Longevity Noodles
Photo:

Jen Causey / Prop Styling byJulia Bayless / Food Styling by Margret Monroe Dickey

Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
35 mins
Servings:
2 to 4

In Chinese culture, the custom of eating longevity noodles during Chinese New Year and celebrations such as birthdays and anniversaries dates back to the time of the Han dynasty. These noodles are thought to bring luck, prosperity, and, as their name suggests, a long life.

Food & Wine first published chef and cookbook author Eileen Yin-Fei Lo’s recipe for Longevity Noodles in January 1999. 

In 2022, F&W editors named it a F&W Classic — one of four holiday recipes that stand the test of time. Lo passed away in November of 2022 at the age of 85, shortly before the issue was published. She’d recently spoken with F&W about the recipe and its meaning in her life.

“Longevity noodles are passed down from generation to generation,” said Lo. “I was so young when I learned this dish from my grandmother — it’s in my memory forever.” As a grandmother, Lo made these noodles with her granddaughter and said it was rewarding to pass the baton to the next generation. Though longevity noodles are typically reserved for special occasions, their delicious simplicity can, and should, be enjoyed year-round. It helps that they’re incredibly easy to whip up, requiring just 20 minutes of active cooking time. “The recipe is so simple to make that it’s surprising how delicious it is,” Lo said. 

Chinese egg noodles deliver a satisfying chew, and they’re packed with umami thanks to the combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, and peanut oil. Water chestnuts, fresh snow peas, and sprouts add crunch, and fresh ginger gives the dish a warming kick. Look for fresh Chinese egg noodles in the refrigerated section at Asian grocery stores. Fresh chestnuts can be found at specialty grocery stores or online at nuts.com.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts water

  • 2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts or soybean sprouts (about 5 oz.)

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 8 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles (such as lo mein noodles)

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon light soy sauce, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil

  • 1 (1/4-inch-thick) slice unpeeled fresh ginger, lightly smashed

  • 4 ounces fresh snow peas (about 1 cup), strings removed

  • 3 large (1-ounce) fresh water chestnuts, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick (about 1/3 cup) or 1/3 cup drained canned sliced water chestnuts

Directions

  1. Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a large saucepan over high. Place bean sprouts in a metal strainer; lower into boiling water, and blanch bean sprouts until crisp-tender, about 10 seconds. Remove strainer from water (do not remove water from heat), and rinse bean sprouts under cold water about 30 seconds to stop the cooking process. Drain well, and set aside.

  2. Add salt to water in saucepan, and return to a boil over high. Add noodles, and return to a boil over high. Boil, stirring often, until just under al dente, about 1 minute. Drain noodles thoroughly in a colander, and rinse under cold water about 1 minute to stop the cooking process. Drain. Briefly rinse again, and drain, lifting noodles to separate and dry the strands. Set aside.

  3. Stir together stock, soy sauce, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

  4. Heat peanut oil in a wok over high until shimmering and fragrant; swirl to coat wok. Add ginger; cook, stirring constantly, until sizzling and starting to brown around edges, about 10 seconds. Add snow peas; cook, stirring constantly, until bright green, about 1 minute. Add water chestnuts; cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds. Add bean sprouts; cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 1 minute.

  5. Stir sauce, and add to mixture in wok; bring to a boil over high. Add noodles to wok; cook, stirring constantly, until noodles absorb sauce, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard ginger. Season with additional soy sauce to taste. Transfer noodles to a platter, and serve immediately.

Note

Find fresh Chinese egg noodles at Asian grocery stores, and find fresh water chestnuts online at nuts.com.

Suggested Pairing

Softly citrusy white: Joel Gott California Sauvignon Blanc

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