Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cantonese chow mein - week 36 of 52

Cantonese chow mein is one of my favourite Chinese dishes – crunchy noodles topped with a meat, veggie and seafood with a tasty sauce. The best part of the dish is definitely the crunchy noodles on the outside of dish (the ones in the middle get a little soggy because the veggie/meat/seafood and sauce drench the once crunchy noodles. This week I wanted to duplicate that at home. I found a recipe on with some very good reviews and went to my local Chinese supermarket to pick up the ingredients. You can find the chow mein noodles in the refrigerated section.

The first step is to soften the noodles a little and then fry them to give them the characteristic brown crispies on the outside. I followed the instructions but was not successful in getting the noodles to crisp and become golden brown – I even fried for longer than the recipe suggested. After about 10 minutes and about twice the amount of oil, I gave up.

For the ingredients, I left out the barbeque pork and added calamari instead, which is often found in the dish. This was very easy but the sauce didn’t have quite enough flavour.
All in all, took a little time to make and I would have rather spent that time going to a Chinese restaurant to order some take out! Wasn’t sure what the dish was missing (or why the noodles didn’t crisp) – any suggestions?

Bon appétit!

Cantonese chow mein
Rating (out of 5) **
Flavouring mix
o 1 teaspoon salt
o 1 1/2 tablespoons chicken bouillon
o 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
o 1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce
o 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Meat ingredients
o 1/2 lb chicken breasts, sliced
o 1/2 lb barbecued pork ( char xiu)
o 6 -8 medium shrimp
o 7 -8 baby bok choy
o broccoli
o cauliflower
o 3/4 cup shiitake mushrooms ( rehydrated or fresh, i buy the dried black ones)
o 1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots
o 1/4 cup sliced water chestnuts
o 1/2 cup baby corn
o 3 tablespoons minced garlic
o 2 (250 g) packages fresh egg noodles

All other ingredients
o 1/4 cup water
o 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
o 5 tablespoons oil

1. Immerse egg noodles into boiling water for 30 seconds, then remove and set aside.
2. Heat your wok at high heat, keep it dry. Add 5 tbsp oil and coat the wok evenly with oil.
3. Fry the noodles for about 2 minutes, and keep shaking it back and forth, until the noodles turn golden brown. Flip and repeat.
4. The outer noodles should be golden, inner ones are soft. Remove noodles and arrange in center of a plate.
5. Blanch the vegetables in boiling water (30 seconds). You can arrange the bok choy in a circle around the noodles if you like.
6. Put some oil and fry minced garlic in the work, then add the blanched vegetables and stir fry. Add the meat ingredients, 1 tbsp water, cover the wok and steam for 1 - 2 minutes.
7. Add the flavouring ingredients, the water with corn starch, and fry gently. Add a bit more water if you want more sauce.
8. Pour the veggies and meat over the noodles.

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