Shanghai Noodles

“I may have ruined my life but atleast I got to eat some really good Chinese food “.   – Louis Sachar

I must confess I have a weakness for Chinese food. It is simple to make, colourful on a plate and easy on the digestive system. It’s a cuisine I really do not mind having late into the night.

Noodles is one of the most popular foods in China. Here, food is meant to be savoured and enjoyed. Food is an art. People of China have such passion for their food, they like talking about it. Just as much as they love their food the Chinese love their language too. According to a Chinese proverb – Whether it’s served on fine china or in a paper plate, food always brings us together and stimulates conversation. We feast to wed, mourn, celebrate, strengthen friendship and simply to be hospitable. Good eating is one of life’s greatest treasures.

Here in Chennai we have a favourite Chinese restaurant- Dynasty in Harrisons Hotel.  This is one of the very few restaurants where you could have a drink and relish the most awesome pork ribs glazed with honey. We, as a family love chilling out over the weekend and this is one place we frequently visit. Could be with only the children too, when my husband is away. At times like this, besides what’s happening around us –  matters of the heart too are discussed and I’m all ears – with good food and drink, what more can I ask for???  Listen and offer advice –  what matters most is when we leave – we’ re all happy and contented souls.

I love cooking Chinese food. Though the preparation takes a lot of time, cooking as such, since it is always done on high heat is over in a couple of minutes.  As most of the sauces added have a high salt content, the final seasoning at the end should only be pinch of salt, pepper and ajinimotto. Chinese food is all about freshness of colour and eye- appeal on a plate. If you can nail this, you’ve hit the jackpot!

The below recipe is a one – dish meal by itself. It’s got noodles, vegetables and a chicken sauce on top to keep the dish moist. Have a go at it, it’s ideal for the weekend.

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 Ingredients:

For the noodle layer -first layer

  • Wheat noodles – 300gms
  • Spring onions- 1/2 a bunch chopped
  • Celery – 1 stalk chopped
  • Capsicum- 1 small diced
  • Light soya sauce-1 tsp
  • Salt, pepper, aginimotto

For the vegetable layer -second layer

  • Onions sliced-2
  • Spring onions – 2 chopped
  • Celery – 1 stalk chopped
  • Carrot -2 medium cut into strips (parboiled)
  • Beans – 100gms cut into strips (parboiled)
  • Soya sauce – 1 tsp
  • Tomato sauce – 1 tbsp
  • Salt, pepper, ajinomoto

For the chicken layer – third layer

  • Chicken -400 gms boneless cut into strips
  • Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  • Vinegar-1 tsp
  • Light Soya sauce-1 tsp
  • Onions -2 sliced
  • Spring onions -2 stalks chopped
  • Celery – 1 stalk chopped
  • Peas -3/4 cup boiled
  • Chicken stock -1 cup
  • Tomato sauce -1 tbsp
  • Cornflour -1 tbsp
  • Salt, pepper, ajinomoto to taste

 Method:

For the noodle layer:

  • Bring lots of water to boil, add salt and a teaspoon of oil. Add noodles and cook on high for 6-8 minutes. Drain thoroughly under cold water. Add a teaspoon of oil to the noodles to keep it moist. Keep aside.
  • Heat oil thoroughly. On high heat stir fry spring onions chopped, celery and capsicum. Add noodles, soya sauce mix well and season with a pinch of salt, pepper and ajinomoto.

For the second layer:

  • In hot oil, stir fry sliced onions, spring onions and celery chopped. Add parboiled vegetables.
  • Add soya and tomato sauce and stir well.
  • Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and aginimotto.

For the chicken layer:

  • Marinate chicken strips in ginger- garlic paste, vinegar, light soya sauce and salt for 15 minutes.
  • In hot oil, stir fry sliced onion, marinated chicken, celery and spring onion.
  • Add boiled peas.
  • Add the tomato sauce and corn flour to the stock.
  •  Add stock to the above chicken mixture and stir well. Bring to a boil to thicken.
  • Season with a pinch of salt, pepper and ajinimotto.

To serve:

In an oval or round dish, before serving arrange a layer of noodles, a vegetable layer and a layer of chicken alternatively. Garnish with chopped spring onion and serve hot.

Chefs tips:

  • To parboil vegetables, boil water in a pan, add the vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain under cold water to retain the colour. Alternatively, you can also steam the vegetables.
  • For chicken strips, you could buy boneless breast of chicken and cut it into strips.
  • You could substitute the vegetables for broccoli, sprouts etc. Quantity should be the same.
  • You could substitute chicken for pork, undercut beef and prawns too.
  • Sauces should be carefully measured and added.
  • Chinese food should be served immediately.
  • Serves 4-6 .

Sometimes ……………….you love a bowl of noodles more than your partner at midnight!

Till my next post

Cheers,

Rose

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