Posts Tagged ‘noodles

26
Sep
11

Fool’s Noodles

Lard, chicharon, and noodles. Yum.

Lard is amazing. I had some hesitation writing this post. An almost border line abusive conversation happened between my artistic freedom self and my down to reality self about whether or not 1) lard/pork fat/bacon/pork belly is a food trend that is over, stale, or needs to die, 2) way too unhealthy to belong on a blog that talks (mostly) about healthy local foods, or 3) too similar to lard rice to post.

In the end, I realized that I made the dish, took the picture, and might as well write the post.

Are you familiar with this dish? It’s a traditional Taiwanese dish you find on the streets of Taiwan. The dish is rooted during a time when the low income and working class were conscious of their access to extravagance, like meat, and the respect towards their food by not wasting any of it. I never ordered it when I was in Taiwan, mainly because I was eating other things that I couldn’t get in the US. I finally tried this dish one lunch with my parents when I was in middle school.

Growing up, my parents made sure that we always had a stocked fridge. Every meal must always have vegetables, fish, meat, and soup. This also meant that we went grocery shopping every week, which became one of the best family memories growing up. The weekly Saturday schedule was always driving 30 minutes to Irvine or 45 minutes to Roland Heights, getting some delicious Chinese or Taiwanese food for lunch, and then grocery shopping. It’s where I learned about Chinese produce, cuts of meats, and more about the food from my community.

One of the places we frequented was a Taiwanese restaurant that had “sha gua” noodles. It’s translated to “fool’s noodles”. Mainly because a fool can make it. Lard, soy sauce, noodles, and scallions in a bowl. Easy. The flavor is something between butter and nutty soy. To be more specific, in as much vague descriptions as I can give, it’s like an earthy, briny, less gamey buttered noodles with bursts of freshness from the scallions. The scallions also add a green crunch which buries itself in the creaminess of the lard mixed with the al dente chew of the noodles. All in all, it’s a great snack or meal after a night of drinking.

Enjoy all it’s goodies.

~stuff

2 servings dried Chinese Noodles

1 tbs lard

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 cup scallion, minced

chicharon or pork rinds, crumbled (optional)

~steps

cook noodles per packaged directions until al dente and drain

mix in rest of ingredients

season with salt or soy sauce to taste and sprinkle the Chicharron if you like

-serves 2-

12
Apr
10

zha jiang mian- northern chinese bolognese with home made noodles

zha jiang mian

I have a noodle infatuation.  There, I admitted it- first step of recovery.  I love the doughy chewy texture that noodles give when you first bite into it.  When you fill your mouth with a really long strand or big bite of noodle with some delicately developed sauce or broth; it’s like an amusement ride for your mouth.    Home made noodles are pretty much the best, but sometimes a nice packaged or store bought brand does the job for me.  The best though, is when your brother comes into your room on a Saturday morning at 9 am, waking you after some drinking with some friends, and says, “noodles tonight?  I’m making”  [Him talking like Yoda could be associated with my drinking, not how he actually talks], you can’t help but want to throw something at him for disturbing my beauty sleep-and then say yes.

My brother is a really good cook.  He, like me, loves to watch food network and spend time in the kitchen to relax and create.  His forte is more around recreating dishes.  When he gets a hankering for something, he’ll try to recreate the dish on his own.  Most of the time it is delicious and results into a phase for him.  I think one year, I had chicken soup and variations of chicken soup for weeks.  This time, the excitement for him is noodles.  And, I’m not complaining.

I have a favorite noodle dish.  The best is from a restaurant called A & J noodles in Irvine, California.  It’s my favorite and I have no idea what is in their recipe but it’s awesome.  Growing up in California, we would go almost every other week (and some times, if I’m lucky, every week) to this noodle place.  The great thing about this noodle place is that they knew me.  I would get the same things every time.  If they saw me coming up in the parking lot, then by the time I got to my table I wouldn’t have to order.  A couple of minutes later in front of me was a Coke, seaweed salad, and the best noodle dish in the world: Zha Jiang Mian.  Oh, just thinking about it is making me excited.  It is legal crack.  The folks working at the restaurant knew me so well, it was like I had Aunties to make sure I was properly fed…and wanting to know every detail of my love life…and how they had a daughter/niece/cousin/friend…I started going to this place when I was real young, 7 or 8…and they continued to do this well into my college years at 21 or 22.  I miss them.

Now, I would describe Zha Jiang Mian as Northern Chinese style Bolognese sauce.  It’s chunky and full of meat and little liquid.  Served over fresh noodles, no broth, topped with cucumber and bean sprouts, is the way I eat it.  Zha Jiang Mian is kind of like mac and cheese, everyone makes it differently.  BUT, I like it without the fillers.  Just pork.  That’s all anyone really needs: some nice ground pork with bits of fat in it.  Yum.

And yes, this is my brother’s recipe.

Recipe Notes- Ingredient defining [I should really start a running list/glossary]:  The one hard thing that may be difficult to find, it’s difficult to find here in Queens, is Huangdou Jiang.  The literal translation is: Yellow Sauce or Yellow Bean Sauce.  It is nowhere yellow in color, but quite delicious.  You can use Brown Soy Bean Paste or Sweet Bean Paste (not really sweet).  Some people also use Hoison Sauce (easier to find).  If you use Hoison, taste before adding too much sugar.  It’s on the sweeter side.  Vegetarian option is to replace with dried tofu and/or rehydrated shitake mushrooms, diced.  Your choice.

Also, there is a Korean variation of this dish out there.  Not the same and shouldn’t be compared.  Although, I do have a favorite.

~stuff

-noodles-

 

3½  cups all purpose flour

½ cup warm water

1 tsp salt

­-sauce-

 

3 cloves garlic, minced

½ cup of green onions, minced

1½ lb ground pork

2 tbs vegetable oil

4 tbs huangdou jiang (or any of the other substitutes I listed)

1 tbs sugar

1 tsp cornstarch

1/8 cup water

1 medium cucumber

1 cup of bean sprouts

~steps

mix flour, water, and salt in a large bowl

 

remove dough from bowl and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes

rest dough covered for at least a half hour in the refrigerator

while dough rests, bring a large pot of water to a boil and blanch [lightly cook and cool] bean sprouts and julienne peeled cucumber

knead dough until soft and at room temperature and separate dough into two balls, cover

roll out one ball until ¼ inch thick and with a pizza cutter, cut ½ inch wide noodles, flour noodles to separate

continue with other ball and reserve noodles until sauce is complete

stir fry garlic, green onion, pork in a hot wok or deep pan on high with the oil until fragrant, about 5 minutes

add huangdou jiang and sugar, and stir

mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl and then add to sauce mixture and stir until thick, turn down heat

cook noodles in boiling water until slightly chewy in the center, about 5 minutes

serve noodles in a bowl with sauce, cucumber, and bean sprouts on the top

-serves 4-




…me…


i hunger...i cook...i eat...i come back...i reminisce...i blog...enjoy.

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