Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chow Mein

The chow mein recipe I followed turned out AWESOMELY, but I only followed it as a guideline. I also don't have a wok, so I used a large saucepan. That being said, here's my guideline.

8 oz fresh thin Chinese egg noodles* (also called Hong Kong noodles; not wonton noodles)
1 (1/2-lb) piece flank steak - I used TJ's Bulgogi, and the flavor was awesome - just half the package
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or medium-dry Sherry - I used Dry Sac
1 tablespoons oyster sauce (I didn't have this, but didn't really miss it in the final product)
1 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (I used black)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil (I used veg)
1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
3 scallions, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces (1 cup)
fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps quartered (2 1/2 cups)
2 pkgs TJ's brocollini (ends trimmed, any flowers removed)
a couple handfulls of sugar snap or snow peas

These amounts are guessed at, a couple of weeks after the fact - you really want to make sure you have a good amount of veggies and beef to pair with your noodles; we ended up with tons of uneaten noodle portions because we ran out of yummy other stuff - fyi.

The original recipe had us cooking the noodles into a pancake of sorts. This ended up being really difficult to eat, and fattier than I'd like.

Here's my recommended steps, although I haven't tried them this way myself yet.

Bring 8 cups unsalted water to a boil in a 6- to 8-quart pot, then add noodles, stirring to separate, and cook 15 seconds. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until noodles are cool, then shake colander briskly to drain excess water.

Cut steak with the grain into 1 1/2- to 2-inch-wide strips.

Stir together 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 1/4 teaspoon white pepper in a small bowl until smooth, then stir in chicken broth.

Heat wok over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Pour 1 tablespoon peanut oil down side of wok, then swirl oil, tilting wok to coat sides. Add beef, spreading pieces in 1 layer on bottom and sides as quickly as possible. Cook, undisturbed, letting beef begin to brown, 1 minute, then stir-fry until meat is just browned on all sides but still pink in center, about 1 minute. Transfer meat and any juices to a plate. With the little bits of meaty yumminess left behind, chuck the noodles back in, perhaps with another dash of oil, and fry a bit til they get some nice, stir fry color on them. Transfer them onto the plate on top of the meat.

Add 1 tablespoon oil to wok over high heat. When oil just begins to smoke, add ginger and garlic and stir-fry 5 seconds, then add scallions and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until softened, about 3 minutes. Add choy sum and stir-fry until leaves are bright green and just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes (if using broccoli, cook until almost crisp-tender). Stir broth mixture, then pour into wok and stir-fry until sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Add beef & noodles and stir to coat.
Fight people off with your chopsticks.

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