Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chow Mein with Barbecued Pork

Chow Mein has become Chow Main Street! This is my version of a traditional dish that is easy to cook at home. You’ll need a wok or a large, deep skillet in which to make it. Please read the entire recipe through before you start. Chow Mein is such a beautiful dish that it deserves an Egg Garnish. Unlike most garnishes, this one needs to be made well ahead of your cooking and serving time. 
Chow Mein with Barbecued Pork:
To Prepare the Egg Garnish:
Few drops of oil, as needed
1 whole egg, well beaten
1 or 2 green (“spring”) onions, finely slivered on the diagonal
At least 30 min. before starting Chow Mein, preheat stove element to medium high. Add a few drops of oil to a flat-bottomed, medium skillet. Rub in with a paper towel, lightly coating the inside of the pan. Pour half of beaten egg into heated skillet, lifting and tilting pan off heat to spread egg paper thinly around circumference of skillet. Cook for a few seconds until egg sets. 
Wiggle a firm plastic or silicone spatula around edge of skillet to loosen egg before sliding egg onto a flat work surface. While egg is still hot, gently but tightly roll it up, jelly-roll style. Transfer to tray and chill. Repeat with remaining beaten egg. When each rolled egg is very cold, shred crosswise into ¼-in. slices. Set aside, chilling until needed. To garnish dish, sprinkle rolled egg over Chow Mein, topping with slivered green onion.

Roll still-hot cooked egg tightly; chill until needed

Slice when thoroughly cold

Sprinkle egg and green onion
over Chow Mein

To Prepare the Chow Mein:
4-to-6 dried, whole Chinese mushrooms (about ½ c. sliced, dried mushrooms)
Boiling water, as required
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1 large stalk celery, sliced paper-thin, on the diagonal 
1 medium cooking onion, quartered and slivered
3-to-4 stalks bok choy (or 3-to-4 bunches baby bok choy), sliced ¼-in. thick, on the diagonal
1-to-1-½ lb. fresh bean sprouts
¼ c. slivered bamboo shoots
8 oz. (225 g) pkg. dried chow mein noodles (see Note)
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. hoisin sauce
¾ - 1 c. sliced, lean, Chinese-style barbecued pork (see Further Note
Assemble all ingredients, preparing vegetables and combining seasonings in small bowl in advance of cooking. I recommend placing the sliced and chunked vegetables on a large platter or tray, keeping everything near your wok. Once you start cooking, you’ll need to move quickly! Your wok or skillet should have a lid. 
Reconstitute dried mushrooms by pouring water over them in a heat-proof jar. Fill to the top, seal, and let stand 15-to-30 min. Squeeze excess liquid from reconstituted mushrooms. If mushrooms are whole, sliver caps (Reserve and freeze tough stems for future use in making soup stock). Set aside.
Heat peanut oil in wok until oil reaches smoking point (see Additional Note). Meanwhile, bring 1 c. water to a boil. Add and stir-fry the following ingredients in the order given, each for 10-to-15 seconds: Celery, onions, bok choy, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms. Immediately add cooked noodles, combining well (Whoa! Read that noodle Note without fail, Dollinks!). 
To just enough boiling water to steam vegetables tender-crisp, add salt, soy sauce, and 2 tbsp. oyster sauce, adding liquid and seasoning around edge of wok (Add liquids of any sizable amount around the edge of the wok - not into the center of the food! If you use uncooked noodles such as the Farkay brand that my Note mentions, you’ll need about 1 c. boiling water; if you add cooked noodles, you’ll need less). Cover and cook just until noodles are tender and liquid has evaporated. Transfer to serving platter, topping with Egg Garnish and finely slivered green onions.
NoteThere are Chow Mein noodles - and there are Chow Mein noodles! The dry, skinny kind that resemble bundled hay cant just be dumped into Chow Mein, or stirring them in will be impossible! Soften them in a separate pot of boiling water for 2 min. I like the fat, yellow kind of noodle - the Farkay brand is sold around the world - that you add directly to the wok. You can also buy soft, precooked noodles in the produce section of your supermarket, or in your supermarkets refrigeration unit.
Further Note: I buy my barbecued pork from a Chinese supermarket chain. If you expect to make the Broccoli Chop Suey and Pork Hoisin recipes upcoming tomorrow and Monday, buy a little extra! Ask the butcher to send me the bill. I’ll never pay it, Dollinks, but try it, anyway. (My Broccoli Chop Suey uses a small amount of barbecued pork, but it’s optional; my Pork Hoisin recipe uses a ½ lb. of regular pork tenderloin. In deference to my readers who don’t eat pork, I promise I’ll make a greater effort to deliver more recipes that use other meats - or no meat at all! Mea culpa, Dollinks!)
Additional Note: I recommend using peanut oil for Chinese wok cookery because of its high smoking point. Peanut oil can withstand high temperatures without breaking down. I sometimes use canola oil, but watch it carefully. Because some Chinese food requires hot, fast cooking with oil, there’s always the potential for fire. Prenez-garde! Be vigilant!

Assemble and prepare all ingredients 

Add reconstituted dried mushrooms:
For extra convenience, buy them sliced

Stir-fry bok choy and fresh bean sprouts with celery and
onions, building or "layering" one ingredient at a time 

Chop BBQ'd pork: Resist the temptation to snack!

Continuing to stir-fry, add pork to wok

Add noodles, combining well
with other ingredients 

Put a lid on it!
The wok weighed so much that Ron had to do this part!

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