Wednesday, January 25, 2012

wok don't run

Cooking Chinese food is one of the hardest types of culinary cuisine to master.  There is a lot of skill involved, especially the chopping of delicate vegetables, the use of various seafood, and the wok.  It takes years and years of honing the skill to create some of the lovely dishes that my Mom served for us on Chinese New Year's. None of those skills were inherited by me.

As I have become more comfortable in the kitchen (it's taken about a decade or so!), I've experimented with simple Asian dishes.  I make a fantastic Sushi Salad (it's like a chopped up sushi roll...and yes, I realize it's Japanese not Chinese).  I do a fine Chinese fried rice.  And now, I can make a stir-fried shrimp noodle.  

My husband is not Chinese, so the dishes I create are more fusion in nature, combining the types of dishes he was raised with (meat, potatoes and lots of baked goods), along with the flavours that I was raised with (like garlic, sesame oil, mangos and tons of seafood!).  I guess I'll just have to accept that learning how to make traditional Chinese dishes will have to be a slow journey.  I'll get there someday.

Stir Fried Shrimp Noodles
(adapted from Chow Mein recipe in the book 
"Complete Chinese" by Octopus Publishing)


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 snow peas 
  • 2 scallions/green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced on the bias (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 3-4 cups noodles (I only had udon noodles on hand, but you can use Chinese egg noodles)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped scallions, for garnish


  • Boil water, then turn off and remove the pot from heat.  Add udon noodles and stir to loosen.
  • In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. Cook the onion, peas and carrots, then set aside.
  • Add 2nd tablespoon of vegetable oil, then add the shrimp and stir-fry over moderately high heat until pink but not completely cooked, 2 minutes; add back the veggies.
  • Add the stock, soy sauce, sesame oil, shrimp and chicken, and the veggies and remove from the heat.
  • Drain the udon noodles, and add to the skillet. 
  • Stir-fry over high heat until heated through. 
  • Season with salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce and toss.  
  • Garnish with scallions and serve.


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