Two Sides Brown
This Cantonese fried noodle cake—soft inside but crisp outside—is a traditional version of what Americans know as chow mein.
Yield: serves 4
- 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
- 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.
- Combine shaoxing, 1 tsp. cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Add shrimp and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.
- 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.
- 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.