Dan Dan Mian

Well, it’s been over three months since my last post. We’ve officially moved into the house and have been living there for over two months now! We also went to China for a week with a small group from our church. While we were there worked with a local church and spent a few days on a college campus doing English corners and campus ministry. While we were there we were super blessed to see how God’s been working there!

While we were there we also got to experience authentic Sichuan food. Sichuan food is known a) for being really spicy, and b) for its use of this numbing peppercorn. It’s delicious!

We had a debrief meeting today and we decided it’d be fun to try cooking some Sichuan food with the hot pepper flakes and peppercorns that we brought back.

We made two dishes – 担担面 (dan dan mian), which is a spicy noodle dish, and 糖酥麻辣锅巴土豆 (tangsu mala guoba tudou), which is sweet/salty/spicy fried potatoes.

The recipe I followed for the 担担面 is from The Woks of Life. Since I’ve never made anything like this before, I followed the recipe pretty closely. I measures (almost) everything! Anyone who’s cooked with me before will know that that’s pretty unusual. These days I pretty much never measure anything. The main thing that was different was that I could not find “sui mi ya cai” anywhere in my local Asian grocery store. Despite that, it turned out really well! A great level of spice! Would definitely recommend.

The recipe I followed for the 糖酥麻辣锅巴土豆 (the potatoes) was from this site. The recipe is in Chinese and it’s pretty vague. A lot of the ingredients just specified “one spoon” or “two spoons” but didn’t say what kind of spoons. We cut and fried three potatoes and tossed it in a mix of white vinegar (1 spoon), sugar (1 spoon), ground peppercorns (1/2 spoon), cumin (1 spoon), chicken bouillon (1 spoon), salt (1/2) spoon, and garlic powder/hot pepper flakes to taste.

We made a “spoon” a teaspoon, and since the original recipe was for two potatoes, we did a double batch of the spices. The flavors were really good! The recipe said that it was important to fry the potatoes on low heat, but I think we used too much oil. We ended up turning up the heat at the end to get them somewhat crispy, but I think next time we’ll use less oil to try to get that “锅巴” crispiness. “锅巴” refers to the crispy rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot, so I think less oil will help the potatoes crisp against the wok.

Overall I was satisfied with both recipes and I would definitely make both of them again.

Hopefully I’ll manage to post again before the end of the summer… hopefully!

Singapore Rice Noodles (星洲炒米)

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m currently lying in bed at home in MA. I’m happy to be home after a long day of traveling. I got to Madison airport at around 3:30 for a 4:30 flight. Madison airport’s the best. Busiest travel day and it takes me around 5 minutes to get through security. Landed in Detroit around 7 and literally sit there for another hour or so before we get a gate. Good thing I didn’t have a tight connection… a lot of people on my flight missed theirs. Took off from Detroit over an hour late and landed in Boston at 12:30. Moral of the story: Detroit airport sucks.

Anyway. This recipe is not a Thanksgiving one. I made this on Tuesday for my family group’s potluck. My mom used to make this a lot when I was younger so I had a craving for it. I never order it from restaurants though because usually 星洲炒米 has shrimp in it… and I don’t like shrimp.

A couple of the ingredients are only found at Asian grocery stores. Haha actually the two most important ingredients are only found at Asian grocery stores: the rice noodles and the curry sauce. I used rice noodles like these (I can’t remember the actual brand…) and Lee Kum Kee curry sauce. I actually called home to make sure I had the right brand.

The last note I would make is that in the recipe I wrote french cut green beans but in reality I used whole green beans cut into small pieces because my friend who was in charge of getting the beans didn’t know what french cut green beans were (even though I included the link above in my email about ingredients. He didn’t click on it. Potatoes*!)

There ended up being way more than enough food at the potluck, so I ended up having a substantial amount of leftovers which I donated to an undergrad friend of mine. And I’m sure she would wholeheartedly recommend this recipe. Right? 🙂

*Explanation of potatoes: this same undergrad friend mentioned above used to say “Geez!” all the time. Seriously. All. The. Time. Another friend of hers doesn’t like that word, so she replaced it with “potatoes” or “celery sticks”.

14 oz dried rice stick
12 oz french cut green beans
2 large chicken breasts, diced
Lee Kum Kee curry sauce
5-10 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced (number depends on how much you like mushrooms)
soy sauce
garlic powder

Marinate the chicken with soy sauce, oil, garlic powder, salt and cornstarch. Set aside.

Boil a large pot of water and cook rice stick for 1-2 minutes. Remove, drain and cut with kitchen scissors. (This is a necessary step… they’re impossible to stir if you don’t cut them)

In a nonstick frying pan, heat oil. When oil is hot, add mushrooms and green beans. Stir fry for a few minutes, adding a dash of salt to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat more oil and add the noodles (I had to do this in 2 batches). Add 2 large tablespoons (or 4 if you can fit all the noodles) of curry sauce and stir until the noodles are evenly coated. Add in half (or all) of the mushrooms/beans and mix well. Remove from heat and set aside. If you only did half the noodles, repeat with the other half.

Brown the chicken in a frying pan then add a spoonful of curry sauce and stir until the chicken is evenly coated. In your serving dish, mix chicken into the noodle/mushroom/bean mix.

More Fake Asian Noodles

This is definitely not real Asian food. But it was tasty.

The last two weeks have been tiring and tedious. At work I spent everyday either sitting at my desk and studying or taking exams. I took 5 exams and 2 quizzes in the last 6 business days. PTL I passed them all… and my next exam isn’t until next Friday.

Being done with all that put me in a good mood, so I decided to make something better than canned tomato soup or ramen. It takes a little more time and is a little more complicated, but it’s still a pretty simple recipe.

1/4 lb macaroni, cooked
2 large shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 eggs
1/2 broccoli crown, cut into florets
soy sauce
garlic powder

In a frying pan, heat oil. Add mushrooms and broccoli and saute. Add salt, garlic powder, and a little bit of water and cook until broccoli is desired tenderness.

Add macaroni and mix well. In a cup, mix around 3 tablespoons of soy sauce, 3 tablespoons of water and 2 teaspoons of cornstarch (these are all approximate… I didn’t actually measure) then pour into the pan. Mix well. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a bowl, beat the two eggs and add salt and soy sauce to season. Fry/scramble the eggs then add the pasta back in.

炸酱面 (zhajiangmian/noodles with pork and bean sauce)

I’m almost done with my fourth week at work. I’m still in training, so still not doing any real work. I turned in a project and took an exam on Tuesday, and I’m taking another exam on Thursday morning and then start another series of classes on Thursday afternoon. When I was taking my exam, one of my trainers was taking an exam at the same time… which is just evidence that you’re never done taking tests. Awesome.

It’s weird to think that people will be headed back to w-town soon. And I won’t be. It’s real. I’m no longer a college student. Crazy, huh.

Well, onward to the recipe. It isn’t a super authentic recipe, but it gets the job done. It tastes good and that’s what counts right? It’s really simple, but involves ingredients that I only find in Asian grocery stores. Which exist here. Haha.

1/3 lb ground pork
garlic powder
soy sauce
vegetable oil
1 clump? (also don’t know the measure word…) of Yangchun (阳春)noodles, dried
1 carrot, shredded (or in my case, cut into thin strips)
ground bean paste (if you don’t know what that is, refer here)

Marinate ground pork with garlic powder, soy sauce, salt, vegetable oil and cornstarch.

While meat is marinating, boil water and cook noodles. When soft, drain and set aside.

In a non-stick frying pan, heat vegetable oil. When hot, add carrots and stir fry until almost tender. Push carrots off to the side of the pan and add the pork. When fully cooked, mix meat and carrots together. Add a spoonful of bean paste and stir until paste coats the meat and carrots. Serve on top of the noodles.

Pad See Ew

I’m currently stuck at San Francisco airport. I left Singapore at 8am yesterday, took a 7 hour flight to Tokyo, then took a 9 hour flight to SF. My flight was supposed to be at 2pm (PST)… but it got delayed. It’s currently 3:20pm and my flight’s scheduled to take off at 4:20. But it’s been delayed at least twice now, so I’m not sure how optimistic to be. Anyway, the hope is to be back in Boston at about 1am.

I guess since I’m stuck here and I have wifi, might as well post the next recipe on the list. In W-town there are only a handful of restaurants. One of the favorites among students and professors is a Thai/Japanese place called Sushi Thai (original right?). And (almost) every time I go I order the same thing: Pad See Ew. So delicious.

When I graduated it was kind of weird to think that I wouldn’t be able to get it anymore. Then my friend (the one who writes Dorset Kitchen) posted a recipe for it and I gave it a look. I adapted it a bit (like, say, adding meat) and sort of combined the recipes from Dorsey Kitchen and Rachel Cooks Thai, and ended up with an ok approximation.

The major problem was I couldn’t find flat wide rice noodles anywhere. The flavor was good, but the texture of the noodles was just wrong. I think it would work much better with the right noodles.

PS– if this post is mildly incoherent I apologize… I haven’t slept in a while.

1 crown broccoli, cut into florets
2 carrots, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tsp sugar
2 tsp vinegar
1/2 chicken breast, sliced thinly
JES Yakitori sauce
garlic and/or onion powder
soy sauce
vegetable oil
8 oz dried, flat rice noodles

Preparation Marinate chicken with vegetabe oil, soy sauce, garlic (and/or onion powder), and salt. (See this post for *slightly* better instructions).

Cook noodles as directed on package. Toss with a little bit of oil so they won’t stick together and set aside.

Mix soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and vinegar together and set aside.

Crack eggs in a bowl, add a pinch of salt and soy sauce, beat and set aside.

Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan and saute garlic. Add broccoli and carrots, sprinkle with salt and add (approx) 1/4 cup of water. Cook until broccoli and carrots reach your desired tenderness.

Add noodles and sauce and fry on high heat, allowing the noodles to char a little. Make a space in the pan and add the eggs. Scramble them and mix in with the noodles.

Remove the noodles from heat and place in a serving dish. Add more oil to the frying pan, add chicken in a single layer in the pan and allow to brown until the side faving upward begins to change color. Turn and cook the other side, then add enough Yakitori sauce to cover the chicken and stir. Remove from heat and top noodles with chicken.

Super Easy Lo Mein

Ok, this recipe is nice and simple. It was really good for me as a college student because it uses all ingredients that can be found in any old supermarket. Except the “magic sauce” (JES Yakitori), of course. If you don’t have access to an Asian supermarket, as long as you marinate your chicken right, you don’t need the magic sauce, but it certain makes it tastier.

Like the stir fry, what you put in the lo mein is really up to you. I used carrots, onions, snow peas, and shiitake mushrooms, but you can add other things or take out some of the things I used based on your own personal preference.

Now, a word on marinating meat. I’m sorry I can’t give better instructions other than “Marinate chicken with vegetable oil, soy sauce, garlic powder (and/or onion powder), and salt.” I really don’t ever measure things properly. I’ll try to describe it better now. Oil and soy sauce. Put enough to cover the meat, but never put so much such that the meat is drowning. Salt. Just a sprinkle of salt. Not too much. Garlic/Onion powder. Start with a little, mix it in, then add until the mixture doesn’t smell like raw meat. Haha, sorry. That was a horrible explanation. But I really don’t have any better way of describing it.

Anyway, here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

1 box linguini
1 bag shredded carrots
snow peas
shiitake mushrooms, sliced
any other vegetables desired (such as beansprouts, peppers, onions, etc)
sesame oil
soy sauce
2 chicken breasts, sliced
garlic powder
vegetable oil
JES Yakitori Sauce

Marinate chicken with vegetable oil, soy sauce, garlic powder (and/or onion powder), salt, and cornstarch..

While meat is marinating, cook pasta. Once pasta is cooked, drain and toss with sesame oil to prevent noodles from sticking to each other. Use enough oil to coat the noodles, but don’t soak them.

Coat the bottom of a frying pan with vegetable oil and heat it. Add snowpeas and carrots [and onions/peppers]. Sprinkle with salt and add about 1/4 cup of water and cook until tender. Add mushrooms [and beansprouts] and continue to cook. Prepare sauce by mixing one part soy sauce and two parts water and one spoonful of cornstarch. Pour into vegetable mix and cook until sauce thickens. Toss with noodles.

Coat pan again with vegetable oil and heat. Add chicken in a single layer in the bottom of the pan and allow to brown until the side facing upward begins to change color. Turn and cook the other side, then add enough Yakitori sauce to cover the chicken and stir. Remove from heat and toss chicken with the noodle and vegetable mixture.