We all look to see our zodiac sign every time we see a placemat in a Chinese Restaurant. This year, 2020 is the Yar of the Rat. No cooking with this rodent- just celebrated with coins and pictures. The true celebration is the dance of the dragon, the lighting of the Chinese lanterns and of course a wonderful spread for friends to enjoy. Remember your luck is high during Chinese New Year so an extra lottery ticket might bring you an emperor’s chest of gold.
Here are a few of my favorite dishes to serve. All are easily adjusted to quadruple. Just be careful with the Singapore noodles. Pouring boiling water over 2 packs at a time and let them sit, using a fork to keep separating them in a bowl for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water remove from bowl and redo any batch if needed.
Singapore Street Noodles
- 6 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles
- 4 TBsp peanut oil, separated
- Thinly sliced boneless chicken or shrimp
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1medium onion, thinly sliced (yellow, brown or white)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tsp ginger, freshly grated
- 1lb / 50g Chinese barbecue pork (Char Siu), thinly
- 2 cups red / bell pepper
- 2 tsp thinly sliced jalapeno-seeds removed (optional)
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
- Combine the Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix.
- Place rice vermicelli noodles in a large bowl filled with boiled water and soak as per packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok or heavy based fry pan over medium heat. Add the shrimp/prawns, cook until just cooked – about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Add the egg and spread it out to make a thin omelette. Once set, use a spatula to roll it up, remove from the wok and slice (while still rolled up).
- Return the wok to medium heat and add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Add the garlic, ginger and onion, cook for 2 minutes until onion is slightly softened. Add curry powder
- Add capsicum and cook for 1 minute.
- Add noodles and Sauce, give it a few tosses. Then add the egg, pork, shrimp/prawns, chillies (if using). Toss until the sauce coats all the noodles and everything is heated through – about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
- Soy – Use gluten free or light soy sauce. I don’t recommend dark soy sauce, the flavour is too intense.
- Chinese wine – Also known as Shaoxing wine. Substitute with dry sherry, cooking sake or Mirin. If you can’t consume alcohol, use chicken broth.
- Curry powder – Any generic curry powder is fine here. But make sure it is fresh. We often leave our spices in the cabinet long after they expire.
- Noodles – Wai Wai is the brand I recommend if you can get it, for both texture and also it holds up well to lots of tossing action. Rice vermicelli is very inexpensive- usually $2 for quite a large bag – and nowadays you’ll find it at everyday supermarkets.
I know it doesn’t sound like much noodles but it expands, almost doubles in weight.
- Char Siu – If you don’t have store bought or homemade Char Siu substitute with diced chicken, bacon, ham or pork, leave it out and/or add more vegetables. For a quick Char Siu, make a small quantity of the Char Siu marinade, marinade pork chops for 20 minutes then pan fry on medium until caramelized, or bake at 180C/350F for around 20 minutes. Then use per recipe. Two-four orders of boneless spareribs work perfectly with this dish.
- Ingredients1 tablespoon Vegetable oil
- 1-2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 cup Vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds flank steak
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 bunch green onions, cut on diagonal into 2-inch pieces
- Make the sauce. Heat 1 tablespoon Vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add soy sauce, water, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened some, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Slice flank steak against the grain into 1/4-inch slices with the knife held at a 45 degree angle. Some of the really long pieces I cut in half to make them more bite-sized.(tip- place flank steak in freezer 45 minutes before slicing against the grain. Makes the prep slide through the knife.
- Toss flank steak with cornstarch and let sit 10 to 15 minutes.
- Heat 1 cup Vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat.
- Add beef (I cooked it in 2 batches) and cook 2-3 minutes, until brown and crispy, flipping pieces over to cook both sides.
- Remove meat with a slotted spoon and discard cooking oil. Place meat back in pan along with sauce and cook over medium heat for 1 minute, stirring to coat meat.
- Add red pepper flakes and green onions and remove from heat.
- Serve over rice.
And for dessert- lucky chocolate gold coins and toasted coconut ice cream with diced mango and pineapple and of course a fortune cookie!