Sunday, May 6, 2018

Classic Chicken Fried Rice and Cantonese Chow Mein...

These dish requests from the moms at Fraser Mustard takes me back to my roots-- Chicken Fried Rice and Cantonese Chow Mein. Nothing beats these Chinese classics. Yum! #communitykitchen #tdsbwelcomingcommunities

Organizing the spread of ingredients and equipment for yet another fun-tastic Thursday culinary session.

Prepping all the ingredients first always to make cooking seamless and succinct. 

Chow mein is a classic noodle dish of Guangzhou and Hong Kong, with the fried noodles being the base for a mélange of stir-fried toppings. When properly cooked the noodles’ crispness resists softening, even under the multi-toppings and its sauce. I typically like my noodles, crispy on one side and soft on the other (like lo mein). See my post for more.

Truly a beautiful, customizable dish, you can add any combination of your favourite ingredients, and it's perfect for using up leftover pieces and bits in the fridge. No waste! 

Cantonese Chow Mein
Serves 6 to 8 as an entree

Flavouring sauce:
1 Tbsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup oyster sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 cups water

Chow mein:
1/2 pound chicken breast or thighs, sliced into bite size pieces
A pinch of salt
A pinch of ground white pepper
1 pound egg noodles
1/4 medium head broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
2 celery stalks, peeled and sliced on an angle into 1/4 inch thick pieces
1 carrot, peeled and sliced into rounds
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon high heat cooking oil, such as canola, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced, divided
10 medium shrimp, shelled, deveined, rinsed and patted dry
1 green onion, cut into 2 inch pieces
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in cool water for four hours, rinsed and drained, or fresh shiitakes mushrooms
1 bell pepper (any colour), cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup sliced, canned bamboo shoots, drained and rinsed
Handful of snow peas
¼ cup cornstarch, mixed in 1/3 cup water

Whisk together all the flavouring sauce ingredients, and set aside.

In a medium size bowl, toss chicken with a pinch of salt and ground white pepper. Set aside. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Plunge the noodles into boiling water for 30 seconds, remove, and set aside. Blanch the broccoli, celery and carrots in the boiling water for 30 seconds, drain, and set aside.

Heat a large non-stick wok or skillet over high heat until just beginning to smoke. When hot, add 1/4 cup oil, swirling around to coat evenly. Add the noodles, and fry for three to four minutes, shaking back and forth several times, until the noodles turn golden brown. Carefully flip and repeat if desired. The outer noodles should be slightly crispy and golden, with inner noodles soft. Remove the noodles and arrange on a large serving plate.

Turn the heat down to medium-high, and add an additional 1/2 tablespoon of the oil. Add half of the minced garlic, along with the shrimp, and cook until the shrimp are cooked through and opaque, about two minutes. Remove the cooked shrimp and garlic to a plate.

Add the remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to the wok. Add the remaining garlic, green onions, chicken, and shiitake mushrooms. Cook until the chicken is almost cooked through and opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your pieces. Add the peppers, bamboo shoots, snow peas, and blanched vegetables and continue cooking for two minutes. Stir in the cooked shrimp and prepared flavouring sauce. Cover and let steam for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, uncover the wok, give it a quick stir or toss, then stir in the cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce. The sauce will thicken very quickly. Remove from the heat as soon as it is thickened. Pour the meat and veggie mixture over the noodles. This dish is especially tasty served with chili sauce on the side.

And really the magical part is the pour- with all the beautiful colours and the glazy sauce!

Gotta pull out some noodles from underneath for a picturesque instagram-worthy shot!

For more how-to's see Cantonese Chow Mein

Next up, classic chicken fried rice with eggs, peas and bean sprouts- a timeless Chinese staple.

Classic Chicken Fried Rice (adapted from Woks of Life)
Makes 6-8 servings

1/2 lb. chicken breast, diced into ½-inch cubes
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. cornstarch
½ tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. oil
1 Tbsp. hot water
¼ tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. regular or light soy sauce or to taste
1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
1 tsp. salt or to taste
white pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp. oil, divided
2 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, diced
5 cups cooked rice, leftover from night before is best
½ cup green peas, if frozen, rinse and thaw
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1 green onion, chopped

Combine the chicken and marinade ingredients and set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Next, combine the hot water, sugar, soy sauces and white pepper in a small bowl. This is the sauce that you’ll be adding to the rice, and it’s much easier to have it combined and ready to go before you start cooking.

Take your cold leftover rice, and try to break up the clumps as best as possible. Heat the wok over medium high heat and add 1 Tbsp. of oil. Add the eggs and scramble them until just done; set aside. They will continue to cook in the bowl and you will cook them again in the rice. Heat the wok until just smoking and spread another Tbsp. oil around your wok. Sear the marinated chicken for 20 seconds. Stir-fry the chicken until about 80% done. Remove the chicken to your marinade bowl and set aside.

With the wok over medium high heat, add another tablespoon of oil and sauté the onions until translucent. Add the rice, and use your metal spatula to flatten out and break up any large clumps. Continue stir-frying until the cold rice is warmed up, which will take about 5 minutes. Sprinkling just a little water on large clumps of rice will help break them up more easily. Once the rice is warmed, add the sauce mixture and mix with a scooping motion until the rice is evenly coated with sauce. Now add the chicken, green peas and any juices from the bowl you set aside earlier and stir fry for another minute. Add the eggs, bean sprouts, and green onions, and continue stir-frying the rice for 1 minute. Serve hot.

Aromatic, and satisfying comfort for day or night!

Everyone was so happy with these dishes. Glad to demystify the techniques and ingredients on how! 

Sometimes we feel like we are cooking in and eating at a restaurant. But, the best is yet to come... :D

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