These Long Life Noodles are a quick and easy, incredibly delicious, traditional dish you’ll love to serve for Chinese New Year. Tender noodles are stir-fried in a simple sauce along with chicken, savory mushrooms, fresh ginger, and scallions.
When are Long Life Noodles Served?
During Chinese New Year, long noodles are eaten in all corners of China. “Longevity noodles,” also presented at birthday celebrations, are never cut or broken by the cook, and if they can be eaten without biting through the strands, it’s considered even more auspicious. Longevity noodles are most often stir fried.
To learn more about Chinese New Year and the foods traditionally served, you may enjoy reading Celebrating Lunar Chinese New Year or Celebrating Chinese New Year: History, Customs, and Foods.
Ingredients for Long Life Noodles
Specific ingredient measurements are in the recipe card below, but here is an overview of what you will need to make these delicious noodles for Chinese New Year or anytime you’re craving a delicious Asian-inspired dish!
- Thin fresh noodles: like lo mein or tagliarini
- Toasted sesame oil for cooking
- Boneless, skinless chicken: I like to use thighs for best flavor, but you can also use chicken breasts or tenders. This will be sliced into about 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Sometimes the market has already thinly sliced chicken which makes this job even easier!
- Fresh ginger, which adds tremendous flavor
- Napa cabbage, which will be thinly sliced and stir-fried. You can substitute any cabbage your prefer.
- Mushrooms: I prefer fresh shiitake mushrooms
- Scallions (or green onions)
- Marinade and cooking sauce: Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry), cornstarch, soy sauce, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
How to Make Long Life Noodles
Step by step recipe instructions are below in the recipe card, but here is an overview of how quickly these noodles come together!
- Cook the noodles according to package instructions, drain with cold water and toss with sesame oil.
- Toss chicken strips into a marinade of add ginger, one teaspoon rice wine, cornstarch, one teaspoon soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining rice wine (or dry sherry) and soy sauce; set aside.
- Heat a wok, add oil and stir fry red pepper flakes for a few seconds. The add the chicken strips and sear. Then stir fry until cooked and remove to a bowl.
- Add cabbage and mushrooms; stir-fry one minute until just wilted and transfer to bowl with chicken.
- In the wok, add remaining oil and stir fry noodles for a few seconds. Swirl in reserved soy sauce mixture with the chicken and vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and cook until heated through.
Tips and Long Life Noodle Questions
Noodles should be stir-fried alone and lightly oiled so that they don’t clump together in the wok, and all ingredients must be completely dry so they sear properly. Cooking with fresh noodles makes this easier
They are not the same. Rice wine is made with alcohol and rice wine vinegar is made with vinegar. The two should not be substituted. For a non-alcoholic substitution, try white grape juice.
Helpful Kitchen Equipment
You will need a large shallow skillet to stir fry the chicken, vegetables, and noodles. A wok is traditional and makes cooking all of your stir-fry’s simple and easy!
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Longevity Long Life Noodles with Chicken and Mushrooms
- 1 Wok
- 12 ounces thin fresh noodles like lo mein or or tagliarini
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 12 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1/4-inch bite size strips
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger finely grated
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine vinegar or dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil like peanut
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cups napa cabbage thinly sliced
- 4 ounces mushrooms like shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup scallions thinly sliced
- Follow package instructions to cook noodles until just done; about 3 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water until cool and shake well to remove excess. water. Return noodles to the pot, add sesame oil and toss.
- Put uncooked chicken in a shallow bowl and add ginger, one teaspoon of dry sherry, the cornstarch, one teaspoon of the soy sauce, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine. In a separate small bowl, combine the remaining sherry and soy sauce.
- Heat a wok over high heat until a bead of water evaporates almost on contact. Swirl in one tablespoon peanut oil, add red pepper flakes and stir-fry 10 seconds using a metal spatula. Push pepper flakes aside and add chicken, spreading in a single layer to maximize contact with the wok. Let cook undisturbed one minute, until chicken begins to sear.
- Stir-fry chicken and pepper flakes together, tossing in the wok, for a minute or 2 until just done. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add cabbage and mushrooms and stir-fry one minute until just wilted but not cooked. Transfer to the bowl with the chicken.
- Reheat the wok and swirl in the remaining one tablespoon of peanut oil and add noodles. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, moving constantly to heat through.
- Swirl in the reserved soy sauce-sherry mixture and add to wok along with the chicken-vegetable mixture and scallions. Sprinkle on 3/4 teaspoon salt and stir-fry a minute or 2 until chicken and vegetables are heated through.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Recipe featured in the New York Times, “The Long Pull of Noodle Making.”