Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chicken Chow Fun with Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli)

In Honolulu I would go to Chinatown and pick up fresh (hot off the press) look fun noodles from the look fun factory that were soft and chewy.  On the mainland I have to buy refrigerated fresh noodles that are hard and stuck together in a brick.  I did some research and no one seemed to have a good solution to this problem.

Here’s my fix.  Microwave the look fun or as they call it here sha ho fon noodles for 30 seconds at a time until they are just warm don’t over heat them or they will get mushy.  Cut the chunk into strips and they will loosen nicely without breaking.  Place the loosened noodles in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until you are ready to cook them.

Chinese cooking like this dish has a lot of little things that need to be dealt with individually.  A bowl of this, a plate of that, chop this, blanch that... it can seem like a juggling act.  But if you stay organized its easy. This dish is more prep than cooking. So be patient, once the prep is done the cooking time is only about 10 - 15 minutes.

  • Separate your noodles
  • Slice the chicken and place it in a bowl.
  • Place the meat bowl and the sauce bowl side by side and measure ingredients for both at the same time, always starting with the dry ingredients.  I do this with Chinese cooking because a lot of times the same ingredients are repeated.  So if I'm measuring cornstarch, I will measure for both bowls at once and so on as I work my way down the list.
  • Wash and chop all the vegetables and place them on a platter or dish.  I don’t add beansprouts to my chow fun because my husband doesn't care for them so I sub it with gai lan which adds another small step.
Now I’m ready to cook!

Cooking this dish in stages is the trick to this dish, keeping the veggies crisp and the noodles firm without being mushy.

2          pounds            fresh look fun noodles, cut into strips and loosened
½         pound              gai lan, leaves chopped and stems cut on an angle
¼         cup                  water
½         tsp.                  kosher salt
½         large                onion, sliced thin
4          sprigs               green onions, cut into 1” legnths
1          med                 carrot, sliced thin
2          slices               ginger, smashed
1          clove               garlic, smashed
1          pound              bean sprouts (optional)
1          pound              chicken breast, sliced into thin strips across the grain
1          Tbsp.               cornstarch
2          tsp.                  dry sherry
1          tsp.                  soy sauce
¼         cup                  soy sauce
1          Tbsp.               white vinegar
1          Tbsp.               sugar
1          Tbsp.               oyster sauce
1          tsp.                  mushroom soy
2          Tbsp.               water
1          tsp.                  chili garlic paste (optional)

Loosen the noodles and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.

Marinate the chicken and set aside.

Mix sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Chop the veggies and gai lan and set aside.

Heat wok on high and add 1 Tbsp. oil.  Quickly stir fry the gai lan for about 15 seconds and add ¼ cup of water and ½ tsp. salt.  Cover and let cook on high for 2 minutes.  Drain liquid and set aside.

In the same wok over high heat quickly stir fry the ginger and garlic with 1 Tbsp. oil for about 30 seconds (don’t brown).  Add veggies and quickly stir fry for 1 min.  Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same wok over high heat add 2 Tbsp. oil and brown marinated chicken.  When the chicken is browned add the noodles and toss to mix and soften noodles for about 2 minutes.  Add back the gai lan and veggies and stir to mix.  Pour in sauce and stir to mix.  

Chicken Chow Mein

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