Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Chinese Hawker-Style Noodles and More Catching Up
The thing about street food, in places like Singapore and elsewhere, is that it has to be cooked quickly over charcoal (at least originally - goodness knows what they use now, as it's been a over ten years since we have been there) and, therefore, in a modern kitchen is sinfully quick to prepare. Get your veggies chopped early, then heat your stock (I am usually in a hurry and use a powdered stock or cubes) with the spicy ingredients in there to add more flavour, then pop most of the stuff in the bowls as directed. Now this can all wait until you're ready to eat. Then cook the noodles, add them to the bowls, and pour on the scalding stock. Top with whatever you've chosen for garnish and you're done. A simple and easy lunch or supper, any time of the year!
HAWKER-STYLE NOODLES - BO MEIN
This is my basic recipe - one doesn't really need to write it down, but it's nice to have a base from which to work. Variations, two of which I have used recently, work just fine.
For two persons (and halve or double or treble etc. as needed).
3 - 4 cups Vegetarian stock
3 - 4 slices of ginger root or to taste, cut into matchsticks
3 chilies finely chopped (more or less to taste)
2 - 3 green onions, sliced crosswise very finely
1 tsp asian sesame oil
6 mushrooms, sliced (if you have time, soak a couple of dried ones too)
50 gr. (or so) medium tofu, sliced into bite-sized thin strips
NOTE: for the photos pictured above and below I used some vegan hamm.
100 gr. fine noodles (angelhair kind - often in 'nests' in asian groceries)
NOTE: for the photos you see I used japanese-style buckwheat noodes. Ya use what ya got!
2 - 3 handfulls bean sprouts
coriander, chopped, for garnish (optional)
peanuts, for garnish (optional) - I used raw cashews this time
soy sauce as needed
And here are most of the ingredients (I think!) just as I was ready to make the whole thing.
Heat your vegetarian stock together with the ginger root, the mushrooms and the chilies. (If you do use some dried mushrooms, add the soaking liquid to the stock.) Slice onions and divide between two large soup bowls together with the sesame oil and the tofu slices.
When stock comes to the boil, break the noodle nests in half and throw into the stock, separating the strands as soon as you can with a couple of forks or a spaghetti server. Noodles should soften very very quickly. Don't let them overcook. Remove from stock with spaghetti server, dividing between the two bowls. Toss the beansprouts into the stock, swirl around for a few seconds then divide between the two soup bowls.
Finally, divide the stock and any mushrooms, etc., that remain in the noodle pot between the two bowls.
Give each bowl a stir to bring up the flavours and ingredients from the bottom and disperse them through the noodles. Garnish and serve.
NOTE: The ingredients are barely cooked - the tofu heats from the hot soup, the beansprouts likewise. The mushrooms are still crisp. You can do variations on this, as I've noted above, but this is how we've eaten it for years. I have also made it using vegan chikken pieces instead of the tofu. Works fine too :)
AND for the rest of this 'catch-up' round?
Well, have a quick look at some photos I have on file.
Here are a few things we've been eating lately:
Above is STIR-FRIED TEMPEH WITH VEGETABLES (well, again, steamed). This is always a good and quick dish, with or without the rice. I like to make sure I always add some ginger root, garlic, onion, chilies and a little celery to give a good flavour to whatever else I'm using. And I generally marinate the tempeh in soy sauce and a little minced garlic and giner before adding to the rest.
And oh yes, above is my SPLIT PEA SOUP that I keep making again and again, enhanced this time with extra spices (mostly mexican style) plus some chopped vegan hamm and coriander and some dear little baby corns cut into coins AND cilantro. Very nice. You can do almost anything with split pea soup as a base. Actually, you can also do it more quickly with red lentils, but that's not what I used here :)
GINGERED CARROT-SQUASH SOUP (above) is exactly that - some onion (not too much) with carrot and squash and flavoured with fresh ginger root and varied herbs etc. Excellent. You can play with the ingredients and flavourings to your heart's content here and not go wrong!
An just above is of course a simple side SALAD. Gotta get your fresh raw veggies as often as possible, especially if you're having a touch week or month or year!
And here comes a favourite standby:
Variations on my STUFFED AVOCADO recipe abound. It doesn't really matter what you use in the way of stuffing as long as it tastes good to you and doesn't fight with the avocado. I usually base mine on carrot, celery and onion, then add all sorts of things like lime or lemon zest, lime or lemon juice, dark or light miso, a little Braggs, plus some seeds (generally pumpkin or sunflower) to give it texture after I've pureed the rest. Any stuffing left over makes a great spread for anything you've got a mind to put it on.
Take care now!