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Cheater Noodles


One of the first things I check out on the menu of a Chinese restaurant is the pan-fried noodle section. I love pan-fried noodles--but I always feel a little guilty ordering them. At home, I decided to try come up with a good-tasting low-fat pan-fried noodle recipe. It's not Chinese, but it is delicious, sort of an Asian-inspired version of California cuisine.

I like fat noodles for pan-frying so I used perciatelli noodles. Then I cheated to get the smoky flavor I like in restaurant fried noodles--I sprayed the wok with mesquite flavored nonstick cooking spray. I topped the noodles with scallops in cream sauce, garnished with caviar-like roe. Of course, my cream sauce isn't a true cream sauce--I use nonfat chicken broth, nonfat milk, egg substitute and a touch of white wine. If I had made the pasta with traditional ingredients it would have had 657 calories, 1081 milligrams sodium, 319 milligrams cholesterol and 25 grams of fat. Contrast those numbers with the figures below and you won't feel guilty at all.

* Natural kappa shell charger plate from Pottery Shack, Laguna Beach.


3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon butter

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can nonfat chicken broth

2 cups nonfat milk

2 tablespoons dry white wine

2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup nonfat egg substitute (equivalent to 2 eggs)

1 pound scallops

1 (3-ounce) package seasoned smelt roe

1/2 pound perciatelli noodles

Salt, pepper

Serve with fresh pea sprouts and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.


* Rub 2 cloves minced garlic over scallops in glass baking dish. Cover. Let stand while preparing cream sauce and noodles.

* Saute 1 clove garlic in butter in large saucepan. Set aside 3/4 cup chicken broth. Add remaining broth to saucepan. Stir in milk, white wine and nonfat dry milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Blend together remaining chicken broth and flour until smooth. Stir into boiling sauce.

* Heat and stir until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Blend little of hot sauce into egg substitute. Return all to saucepan. Heat and stir until slightly thickened. Set sauce aside and keep warm while pan frying noodles and grilling scallops.

* Grill scallops on hot pan grill sprayed with mesquite-flavored non-stick cooking spray until scallops are just cooked through and tender.

* Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well. Divide noodles into 4 portions shaping into round nest to fit bottom of wok. Slide noodles, 1 portion at time, into hot wok sprayed with mesquite-flavored non-stick cooking spray. Let noodles brown on bottom, then turn to brown other side.

* Spoon scallops over noodles on plates. Stir 1/4 cup caviar into cream sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon over scallops and noodles. Garnish with remaining smelt roe.


Makes 4 servings.

Each serving contains about:

272 calories; 861 mg sodium; 158 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 23 grams carbohydrates; 30 grams protein; 0.08 gram fiber.

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