Chinese New Year is coming up in just a couple of weeks! It will be the Year of the Rat!
I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Chinese dishes with you – easy meals that you can whip up for the holiday. Chinese are big on food symbolisms – and some of the references are pretty far out there – but hey, if eating this hairy moss dish:
means that I might just win the lottery this year, I’ll take my chances. Traditionally, we eat noodles for Chinese New Year – which symbolizes long life. Just don’t cut the noodles before serving – you’ll be snipping your life short.
You can use any type of noodles for this dish – rice noodles (great for gluten-free), wheat noodles or in a pinch, use regular spaghetti noodles for the Fried Noodles with Garlic Shrimp dish.
Here are my favorite noodles to use when I’m in a hurry:
These noodles only take a couple of minutes to cook, because they are soft, fresh noodles not dried. When I make a trip to the Asian market, I grab a few packs and put them in the freezer. They freeze great and when ever you need a quick meal, just boil a pot of water, add the pack of frozen noodles in and in 2 minutes, they are ready. If you aren’t going to freeze them, it only takes 1 minute to cook. Timing of course depends on the thickness of the noodles you choose – check the packaging for instructions.
You can use any type of vegetables: mushrooms, cabbage, bok-choy, spinach, bamboo shoots, tofu, snow peas, etc. The only rule is when adding the vegetables to the wok, add them in the order it takes longest to cook. HUH?! What did I just say? You know what I mean. Vegetables that take longer to cook go in first, fry a bit, then add the next vegetable. Cut your vegetables into nice, thin, easy to quickly fry pieces.
If using carrots, I suggest cutting into slivers, or super thin slices so that they can fry easily. I use my favorite tool in the whole world – the Oxo Julienne Tool. For less than $10, this baby has saved me time and nicked fingers. Plus, the vegetable comes out looking really pretty.
In my dish, I chose crunchy, fresh celery, carrots and scallions:
For meat/seafood – you can use shrimp, chicken, thinly sliced pork or beef. Or just keep it vegetarian. Totally up to you.
The Fried Noodle with Garlic Shrimp recipe is from this book:
Wei Chuan Chinese Rice and Noodles, my copy is well-worn and this book has tons of recipes for fried noodles, noodle soup, fried rice, rice dishes, etc. Recipes are in both English and Chinese.
Recipe after the jump!
Adapted from Chinese Rice and Noodles (Wei Chuan Cookbook)
**FOR GF: Use rice noodles instead of wheat noodles; use GF alternatives for soy sauce and cornstarch
serves 4 as part of multicourse meal
1/2 lb shelled shrimp, deveined. Marinated in:
1/2 tsp kosher salt (1/4 tsp table salt)
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp cooking wine
1 tsp sesame oil
3 scallions, cut into 2″ pieces
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 cup thin celery sticks
1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 1/2 tbl soy sauce
1 1/2 tbl Chinese black vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 lb dried noodle or 1 lb fresh cooked noodles
Marinate shrimp in a small bowl. Boil enough water to cook noodles. Follow instructions on package of noodles for cooking time.
Heat 1 tsp cooking oil (canola, veg, peanut) in a wok or large pan on high heat. When oil hot but not smoking, add shrimp. Fry until color of shrimp changes. Remove and set aside. Add a touch more oil to wok and when oil is hot, add scallions and garlic. Fry 15 seconds. Add carrots. Stir well, fry 30 seconds.. Add celery and fry vegetable mixture until carrots are slightly softened. Celery should still have a nice crunch. Add soy, vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir well. Add shrimp back into wok. Cook until shrimp is cooked through, about 30 seconds (depends on size of your shrimp).
Add noodles, mix well and when noodles are heated through, it’s ready. Taste. If needs more seasoning, add a touch more soy and black vinegar.
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