Fresh Chinese egg noodles are a mainstay of Chinese cuisine, appearing in everything from noodle soup to crispy pan-fried noodles. Chinese egg noodles are among the most adaptable ingredients since they can be found in a broad range of thicknesses and springiness, making them similar to Italian pasta or ramen when appropriately cooked. (Here, you may find a complete guide to Asian noodles.)
Egg noodles are pan-fried till they form a crunchy-on-the-outside; the tender-in-the-middle cake is a traditional dish in Hong Kong and Guangzhou; it is somewhat saucy and has a crisp exterior. Egg noodles are cooked in a wok till golden brown and then topped with a mixture of meat, seafood, or vegetables that have been stir-fried. Here’s how I like to prepare my go-to variation, smothered in a creamy seafood sauce.
Find thin egg noodles marked Hong Kong Style Pan Fried Noodles or Chow Mein when shopping for the right noodles for this recipe. While fresh wonton noodles are an option, pan-fried ones eliminate the need to boil the noodles before frying (for more information, see our Chinese Egg Noodle Style Guide).
The Noodle Cake-Making Process
The noodle cake and the toppings are the dish’s two mainstays. Let’s get the noodle dish going first. To get it crispy and golden brown, a combination of carefully managed oil and heat is termed Leung mein wong (both sides golden) in Cantonese.
Starting with half a pound of noodles, carefully separate them by hand, pushing any large clumps apart. The desired result is a fluffy, airy cake.
Then, bring a tablespoon of oil to a glistening temperature in a wok. You don’t need a lot of fat because you’re just pan-frying the noodles, not deep-frying them. Crispiness may be achieved with just two teaspoons of oil (one on each side).
Turn the heat down to medium and carefully drop the noodles into the oil, stirring them around so they cook evenly. While high heat is recommended for stir-frying, it should be avoided while pan-frying noodles in works that aren’t meant for commercial use. Chinese restaurants typically employ enormous numbers of workers. They’re more extensive and more profound than regular works for the kitchen. Because the noodles have more freedom to move around, they are less likely to burn on this expansive cooking surface. Cooking space is limited in domestic work. Burning the noodles before they are equally brown and crisp will happen if you fry them in a skillet at high heat the whole time. If you cook the noodles on a lower heat, you’ll have more time to check on them and adjust the cooking time as needed.
To generate steam, add a quarter cup of water to the pan. This will warm the noodles evenly throughout, preventing the edges from burning. To ensure that they crisp up uniformly, you should keep moving them about occasionally.
Lift the base with a spatula and have a look inside. Check beneath the middle of the work, since this will be the hottest area, then move the noodle cake’s edges inward to crisp them up. Reduce the heat if the smoke starts coming out of your work.
Slide the noodle cake out of the wok and onto a dish when the bottom is golden brown. Place a second plate on top of the noodles and rapidly flip so the crisped side faces up.
Remove stray noodle fragments from the wok and heat one tablespoon of oil until it smokes over high heat. Slide the noodles back into the wok and stir the fat quickly. Toss the noodles so that the oil reaches the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook, turning noodles often to ensure even cooking until they are crisp on both sides. Transfer the cake to a platter and keep it warm in the oven while you make the sauce.
Seafood and Spicy Red Sauce
The topping is the second component of this meal, and the options are practically limitless. Some of my favourites include shredded pork with yellow chives, chicken with mushrooms, and lobster in a ginger scallion sauce. But seafood is by far my favourite. Multiple components can be combined. Are you missing fish balls? You may substitute shrimp for the crab sticks. You don’t like shiitake mushrooms, do you? Alternatively, use cremini mushrooms. Bok choy is a suitable substitute for choy sum.
To protect shrimp from drying out, I usually soak them in baking soda before cooking with them (for the scientific explanation, see Kenji’s post on wonton soup). You need to soak in an ice-cold baking soda solution for 30 minutes.
I then blanch the remaining ingredients. Just until fork-tender, choy sum is boiled. Once the water is hot again, I add the squid, scallops, and fish balls and let them simmer for about a minute. Even though you’re cooking in water, the food’s natural moisture will be drawn out, making stir-frying easier.
At this point, stir-frying can begin. First, stir-fry the fresh shiitakes in high oil until they are soft and browned on both sides. I remove them to a dish and reheat the wok with extra oil until smoking hot, at which point I add the drained and soaked shrimp and stir-fry until they are just about done. At last, I get the wok hot again and finish stir-frying the fish. The idea here is to keep the pan at a high temperature for as long as possible while cooking all the components. This prevents them from becoming overcooked while also giving them colour and taste.
Our sauce is made with chicken stock, oyster sauce, soy sauce, white pepper, garlic, sesame oil, and a little cornstarch for thickness.
For the cornstarch to thicken thoroughly, you must bring the sauce to a boil after adding it. Once you’ve finished coating your mushrooms and shellfish, add them back to the gravy.
Since the seafood is already partly cooked, you only need to heat it through by simmering it for a short period. Serve the seafood sauce and noodle cake immediately with the blanched vegetables.
- A quarter of a pound of shrimp
- Baking soda, one teaspoon
- Fifteen millilitres of olive oil
- Powdered white pepper equaling 3/4 of a teaspoon.
- Purified, or Kosher, Salt
- Chicken stock, 1 cup
- Two teaspoons of minced garlic (from 2 cloves).
- A dash of oyster sauce, about two tablespoons
- An ounce and a half of soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. Toasted sesame seeds
- Cornstarch, two tablespoons
- Chinese greens, such as choy sum, around a quarter pound
- Four halves of Chinese fish balls
- Scallops, bay, pound and a quarter
- Tiny squid weighing only a quarter of a pound
- Noodles, pan-fried in the style of Hong Kong, 8 ounces
- About eight fresh shiitake mushrooms, half a pound
- Mix the shrimp, baking soda, one teaspoon of oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each of white pepper and salt in a separate dish. Mix with some cold water, cover, and let it sit.
- Whisk together the stock, garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, white pepper, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Mix everything and put it aside.
- Bring two cups of water to a boil in a wok. Add choy sum to the pan for around 30 seconds when soft. Take out using the tongs, and then rinse under cold running water to halt the cooking.
- For 30 seconds, simmer fish balls in the water. Cook the scallops and squid for another 30 seconds. To stop the cooking process, drain and rinse under cold water.
- Use your fingers to separate any clumps of noodles gently. One tablespoon of oil should be heated in a wok until it shimmers over high heat. Please put in the noodles and stir them around for 30 seconds. To get the food brown, turn the heat down to medium, add the water, and start the pan occasionally. Using a spatula, carefully raise the edges of the noodles and slide them in toward the centre, allowing you to peep under them. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown.
- Put the noodles in a big dish. Put an inverted second plate on top. Holding the words by their rims, flip them over so that the crisped side of the noodle cake now faces up on the second plate. Add one more tablespoon of oil to the wok and heat it until it shimmers. Place the noodle cake back into the wok and cook for another 5 minutes while constantly stirring the pan. Place on a serving platter and cover to stay warm.
- Add mushrooms to the pan after heating another tablespoon of oil over high heat until it smokes. Brown and soften in around 2 minutes if you toss them frequently while cooking. Place in a large bowl and put aside.
- Drain the shrimp very carefully. Over high heat, bring another tablespoon of oil to a smoking point before adding the shrimp to the wok. Stirring often, heat until just tender, approximately 1 minute. Place in a dish and put aside with the mushrooms.
- Fish balls, scallops, and squid should be added to a wok with two more tablespoons of oil and cooked over high heat until the oil begins to smoke. Stirring often, heat until just tender, approximately 1 minute. Put in a dish with some shrimp and mushrooms and leave away.
- Put the wok back on the stove. Reconcile the sauce and toss it in the pan. Bring to a simmer and thicken slightly, approximately 30 seconds. Toss the fish and mushrooms back into the skillet and add any remaining sauce. Add salt to your liking. Serve immediately with choy-sum around the noodle cake and the sauce drizzled on top.
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