There are times where I’m a real glutton for punishment and last month was one of those times. I decided I wanted something more than the average stir-fry for a Sunday dinner, so thumbing through my collection of Chinese cookbooks, I stopped at Eileen Yin-Fei Lo’s “My Grandmother’s Chinese Kitchen”. Noodles sounded like an excellent idea, and when I read her recipe for Pan-Fried Noodles with Shredded Pork or Yuk See Chau Mein, I decided that was going to be dinner. It wasn’t until I actually began the cooking process that I realized what I had gotten myself into. With nearly 40 ingredients stretched across two recipes, it seems like I had bitten off more than I can chew.
Before I could even start with the Noodles, I had to make a batch of Steamed Black Mushrooms.
This recipe begins with picking out 24 Chinese dried black mushrooms and picking out ones that are close to 1 ½ inches in diameter.
As with every recipe involving dried mushrooms, there’s a re hydration stage. Here, the two dozen mushrooms are soaked in hot water for 45 minutes.
1 ½ tbs of dark soy sauce
And lastly, a single one inch thick slice of ginger, lightly smashed.
6 ounces of lean pork tenderloin.
1 tsp of corn starch
1 ½ tbs cornstarch
1 ½ tsp sugar and ¼ tsp salt
Water boiling, I put ½ cup of washed and drained bean sprouts in a strainer and lowered in the water for a scant 6 or so seconds.
Cooked for one minute, rinsed twice under cold water, and drained, I was now ready to cook these noodles. This next step required a cast iron skillet heated over high heat for a minute or so. Two tbs of peanut oil were added and when smoke was just appearing, the noodles were introduced.
In the recipe intro Lo writes that noodles are an integral part of any New Year’s banquet, and this recipe, the Yuk See Chau Mein, was one of the elaborate favorites. She says that this recipe was worth the effort, but I’m not sure.
I did really enjoy the mix of textures, particularly the crisp noodles and silky, sauce laden pork. I can see this being one of those special occasion dishes, but for your average Sunday dinner this was a little overwhelming. At the very least, I know what I can make for next Chinese New Year.