ERIC AKIS

Chow mein, the en­hanced ver­sion

Times Colonist - - Front Page - ERIC AKIS Sun­day Din­ner eakis@times­colonist.com Eric Akis is the au­thor of eight cook­books, in­clud­ing seven in his Ev­ery­one Can Cook se­ries. His col­umns ap­pear in the Life section Wed­nes­day and Sun­day. eakis@times­colonist.com

Read­ers oc­ca­sion­ally ask if I can cre­ate a recipe for a dish they tried while din­ing out. I oblige them when I can. A reader named Tom, who lives in Che­mai­nus, won­dered if I could cre­ate a recipe for the Chi­ne­ses­tyle noo­dle dish he en­joyed at a mall food court.

It’s a stir-fried noo­dle dish, of­ten called chow mein, where par-cooked, Chi­nese-style egg noo­dles are heated in hot oil un­til pleas­ingly smoky tast­ing, flavoured with a soy-sauce mix­ture and mixed with veg­eta­bles.

I would call my ver­sion deluxe, be­cause I added a gen­er­ous amount of veg­eta­bles and richly in­fused the soy-sauce mix­ture with hot chili sauce and rice cook­ing wine.

I also added some sliced Chi­nese-style bar­be­cued pork, which you can buy cooked and ready to use at stores in Vic­to­ria’s Chi­na­town. Some gro­cery stores also sell it (see recipe for de­tails).

A large wok or very large skil­let is the best cook­ing ves­sel for mak­ing my noo­dle dish. It will of­fer a wide, hot sur­face for the foods to be moved around and rapidly cooked.

Be­cause things cook quickly, make sure you have all in­gre­di­ents prepped and ready to go be­fore you start.

Also make sure you heat the pan and cook­ing oil be­fore you add the in­gre­di­ents. If you don’t, foods meant to cook quickly won’t and might steam and be­come limp and soggy by the time they are ready.

Stir-fried Noo­dles with Veg­eta­bles and Pork

Fresh, Chi­nese-style egg noo­dles are par-cooked, then stir-fried in a hot wok or skil­let with a range of flavour-en­hanc­ing in­gre­di­ents. Prepa­ra­tion time: 40 min­utes Cook­ing time: About 10 min­utes Makes: three to four serv­ings

Bring a large pot of wa­ter a boil. Add the noo­dles, re­turn to a boil and cook un­til just ten­der, about one minute. Drain the hot wa­ter from the pot, then re­place with ice-cold wa­ter. When noo­dles are cold, set them in a large colan­der and drain them very well.

Place noo­dles in a bowl, toss with the se­same oil, cover and set aside un­til needed.

Com­bine the soy sauces, cook­ing wine (or dry sherry), brown sugar, chili sauce and stock in a mea­sur­ing cup or bowl and set it aside un­til needed.

Heat the oil in a large wok or very large (at least 12-inch wide) skil­let set over medium-high heat. When oil is very — al­most smok­ing — hot, add the snow peas, bell pep­per, gar­lic, gin­ger and pork, if us­ing, and stir-fry two min­utes.

Add the noo­dles to the pan and cook and stir-fry two to three min­utes more, un­til noo­dles are hot. Now add the bean sprouts, green onion and soy sauce mix­ture and stir-fry one minute more.

Di­vide noo­dles among plates or bowls and en­joy. Note 1: I used Farkay brand steamed noo­dles in this recipe. They are sold in the pro­duce section of some su­per­mar­kets. Steamed noo­dles are a fresh, Chi­nese-style egg noo­dle.

Note 2: Shaox­ing rice cook­ing wine and dark soy sauce are sold at food stores in Vic­to­ria’s Chi­na­town and in the Asian-foods aisle of some su­per­mar­kets.

Eric’s op­tions: Chi­nese-style bar­be­cued pork is sold at food stores in Vic­to­ria’s Chi­na­town. Some gro­cery stores also sell it. I bought it, the egg noo­dles, rice cook­ing wine and dark soy sauce at Fair­way Mar­ket’s Shelbourne Street lo­ca­tion. If you don’t wish to use bar­be­cued pork in this recipe, use thin slices of cold, roast pork, beef or chicken, or even cooked salad shrimp.

PHO­TOS BY ERIC AKIS

Have all your in­gre­di­ents ready to go — noo­dles, veg­eta­bles and bar­be­cued pork — be­fore prepar­ing this quick-cook­ing noo­dle recipe.

Steam­ing hot Chi­nese-style egg noo­dles are stir-fried with veg­eta­bles and bar­be­cued pork.

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