Two Sides Brown'
This Cantonese fried noodle cake—soft inside but crisp outside—is a traditional version of what Americans know as chow mein.
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 lb. shi dan mian (thin egg noodles)
1 tsp. shaoxing (Chinese rice wine)
3 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
16 jumbo shrimp, shelled, deveined, and butterflied
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 scallions, white parts only, julienned
6 thin slices peeled fresh ginger, julienned
1/4 lb. Smithfield ham, julienned
1 lb. fresh spinach, washed and blanched
2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 tbsp. light soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
1/4 tsp. sugar
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Soak shiitakes in a bowl of hot water until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, squeeze out excess water, discard stems, and julienne caps. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add noodles and cook for about 4 minutes, then drain, scatter on a clean surface, and let dry for 1 hour.
2. Combine shaoxing, 1 tsp. cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Add shrimp and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.
3. Heat 3 tbsp. vegetable oil in a wok over high heat. Spread noodles in wok to form an 8'' ''cake'' and fry until edges are golden, about 5 minutes. Slide noodle cake onto a plate, add 3 tbsp. oil to wok, return noodle cake to pan, soft side down, and fry for 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter and set aside. Add remaining 2 tbsp. oil to wok and stir-fry shiitakes, scallions, ginger, and ham for 3 minutes. Add shrimp and stir-fry until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add spinach, stir-fry for 1 minute, then spoon mixture onto center of noodle cake.
4. Bring stock, light soy sauce, sesame oil, and sugar to a boil in wok. Season with pepper. Dissolve remaining 2 tsp. cornstarch in 1 tbsp. water, add to stock, and stir for 1 minute. Pour over stir-fry and noodles.