Saturday, May 28, 2011

Stir-fried rice noodles 炒米粉

Memorial Day weekend officially starts. It's a holiday to honor all the American soldiers died in wars AND a long weekend AND the official starts of summer activities. People start to take vacations, so the workload around this year is light. For some reason, I am terribly home sick, but the airline tickets are sky high now, due to the high gas price, the graduation season, and the coming summer. That's OK. I can cook something to make me close to home.

Stir-fried rice noodles is a very traditional Taiwanese dish. It can be simple OR fancy, depending on the occasion and how much effort you want to put in. This makes a nice quick Saturday lunch. So we can have lots of time to go out shopping, taking advantage of the Memorial Day sale! My husband loves this dish very much and finished his meal in 5 minutes! I thought he was in a big hurry to go shopping, but he told me this dish was very satisfying! 

Rice noodles
  • 1/2 lb. of ground pork (or thin sliced pork)
  • 5-6 Tbsp of fried shallots (紅蔥頭) (or 3 fresh shallots, chopped)
  • 4-5 scallions (cut into 2-inch length)
  • 3 cups of green bean sprouts (to sprout at home, see here)
  • 3-4 Shiitake mushrooms (thin sliced)
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
If want more fancy version, add the following materials (thin sliced):
  • 3-4 Tbsp dried shrimp (蝦米)
  • 1 cup of celery, carrot, black wood ear (thin sliced)

1. Soak the rice noodles in warm to hot tap water for quick softening. After softened, cut into 3-inch length for easy stir-frying later.
2. If use dried Shiitake mushrooms or shrimp, soak in warm water to soften. Cut the mushroom into thin slices.
3. Heat 2-3 Tbsp cooking oil in pan. Stir-fry the shallots, dried shrimp and mushroom first.
4. Then add the ground pork. Stir-fry more.
5. When the pork changes color, add the celery, carrot and black wood ear. If you don't use these, skip to 6.
6. Add the softened rice noodles. Use two-hands technique to mix it well.
7. Add about 1/3 cup soy sauce (just for the color), and 1 cup of water to cook it. I like the rice noodles are kind of wet, with sauce. It it is still too hard to mix, or it becomes sticky to your pan, add another 1/2 cup of water or 1/4 cup of sesame oil.
8. Add the five-spice powder and salt to season.
9. Just before it's done (all the rice noodles are stained with soy sauce), add the green bean sprouts and scallions. Sprinkle some ground black pepper. Mix well and serve.
The "fancy" version -- with more vegetables

Luffa melon tofu egg drop soup (絲瓜豆腐蛋花湯):

1. Boil 5 cups of water.
2. Add 2 slices of ginger.
3. Add 1/2 medium luffa melon (in pieces). Cook until the soup boils again.
4. Add 1/2 silk tofu (in cubes). Cook until the soup boils again.
5. Add the scrambled egg, mix well to break them in drops.
6. Sprinkle a little sesame oil on top.

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