Longevity noodles

February 10, 2010

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Longevity noodles

Serves 4

“Easy Asian Noodles’’ author Helen Chen writes, “In Chinese culture, noodles symbolize long life and are served at celebratory occasions such as birthdays and Chinese New Year.’’ Her mother, the late Cambridge restaurateur Joyce Chen, made her own homemade noodles. “She would joke to us that she’d make them so long we’d have to eat them standing on a step ladder,’’ writes the daughter. To shred the meat, trim the fat and put the meat in the freezer for 20 minutes so it’s partially frozen. Cut into very thin slices, then stack the slices and cut into matchsticks.

6 medium dried black mushrooms

12 ounces Chinese wheat or egg noodles, or thin spaghetti

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1/2 pound lean pork, shredded

1/4 cup oyster sauce

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 teaspoons sugar

5 tablespoons canola oil

3 slices unpeeled fresh ginger

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, cored and cut into thin strips

2 cups bean sprouts

4 ounces snow peas, trimmed with strings removed, sliced on the diagonal

5 scallions, split lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1. Soak the mushrooms in hot tap water for 15 minutes. Lift them from the liquid and squeeze dry. Reserve 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid. With scissors, discard the woody mushroom stems and shred the caps.

2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles for 3 minutes or until they are soft. (If the noodles are the pre-cooked variety, this may only take 2 minutes.) Drain and set aside.

3. In a bowl, stir the cornstarch and rice wine or sherry. Add the pork.

4. In another bowl, combine the oyster and soy sauces, sugar, and mushroom soaking liquid. Stir to dissolve the sugar.

5. In a wok over high heat, heat 3 tablespoons of the oil. Swirl it around in the pan and when the oil is hot, add the ginger and garlic. Stir for a few seconds until they are fragrant. Stir the pork mixture. Add it to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until the meat separates and is partially cooked.

6. Add the mushrooms and red pepper to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the bean sprouts and snow peas. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until the snow peas are dark green.

7. Discard the ginger from the pan. Transfer the mixture to a large platter.

8. In the wok, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add the noodles and toss for 1 minute or until heated through. Pour the oyster sauce mixture over the noodles and return the vegetable mixture to the pan. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until the sauce and vegetables are evenly distributed in the noodles.

9. Sprinkle with scallions and sesame oil and toss well. Adapted from “Easy Asian Noodles’’