Noodles are an extraordinarily versatile food and a staple of everyday Chinese life. It has many varieties,  cooking styles, and ingredients exist. It is said by the end of the Han dynasty (202 BC-AD 220), noodles were standard fare and enjoyed in various forms by rich and poor alike. It is recorded that even the emperor ate boiled noodles. By the eighteenth century, however, Chinese culinary attitudes had changed. Poets and philosophers alike extolled the virtues of fine cooking as distinct from eating for survival.

Recipe: Fried Noodles

Fried Noodles

Fried Noodles

Ingredients for Fried Noodles:

700g/1.5lb wet, cooked Chinese noodles (200g/7oz dry, uncooked)
100g/3.5oz chicken meat (pork or beef)
100g/3.5oz shrimps
3 cloves garlic
3 slices ginger
½ medium sized carrot
6 pieces Chinese mushrooms
250g/9oz mustard green or spinach
4 Tbsp cooking oil

Marinating (A) :
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon soy sauce
a dash of white pepper

Marinating (B) :
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar

2 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoon soy sauce
¼ teaspoon pepper

Garnishing (optional):

Sliced chilies
Fried sliced shallots

Preparation to cook Fried Noodles:

1, Cook the dry noodles in briskly boiling water for about 15 minutes or according to package instructions, till it is neither hard nor too soft, take out and put in a colander and flush with running tap water. Drain dry.

2, Slice chicken meat thinly and marinate with A (Marinating) for about 20 minutes. De-shell and clean prawns and marinate with B (Marinating).

3, Soak and clean Chinese mushrooms and slice them thinly. (If you are using the water in which the mushrooms have been soaked as stock, which I do, soak the mushrooms in a weak vinegar solution for 10 minutes. Rinse a few times before the final soaking.)

4, Wash mustard green and cut them into about 5cm/2in lengths. Slice carrot into thin strips or broader slices.

5, Mix the seasoning ingredients together for sauce.

Directions to cook Fried Noodles:

1, Heat up oil in a Chinese wok. Fry the sliced Chinese mushrooms first. Then keep mushrooms to one side of the wok and put in garlic and ginger to fry for a few seconds.

2, Add in chicken meat and stir-fry till its color changes.

3, Add in the shrimps and also stir-fry till they change color. Then Mix in the mushrooms and add the carrots and mustard green to fry.

4, Pushing the contents to the sides of the wok, make a space in the center and add in the noodles.

5, Pour the seasoning sauce over and mix thoroughly. A dash of dark soy sauce may also be added to the noodles for color.

6, Continue to turn and mix. Noodles are ready when well combined.

7, enjoy.

This is a quick, easy, and delicious recipe that all will enjoy. Try adding cooked, cubed pork or chicken, bean sprouts, water chestnuts, sliced almonds, or any of your favorite vegetables for versatility.

{November 1, 2010}