Seventh Daughter by Cecilia Chiang and Lisa Weiss, features Northern Chinese cuisine from the fabled Mandarin Restaurant, with recipes like Pot Stickers (Guo Tie); Green-Onion Oil-Tossed Noodles (Shanghai Cong Yu Ban Mian); and Tea-Smoked Game Hens (Zhang Cha Zi Ji).
In Shanghai, these simple but flavorful noodles are very popular in restaurants, in homes, and from street vendors. My mother, who came from a town near Shanghai called Wuxi, often made them at home for us. They're super simple and very tasty. I also like the green-onion oil drizzled over rice or baked potatoes. The dried shrimp, which is an ingredient that Chinese love but that I realize is an acquired taste, can be left out if you'd rather. The noodles are still delicious without them.
The flavor of this dish depends on the freshness and quality of the green onions. Be sure to buy onions with a firm texture and vibrant green stalks. Any onions with wilted greens should be avoided.
Dried shrimp come in packages in the refrigerator section of Asian markets and are sold according to size. Check the color of the shrimp in the package—they should be pink-orange, never gray. They keep in a sealed bag in the refrigerator for 3 months or can be frozen for up to 6 months. —L.W.
Put the shrimp in a bowl, cover with hot water, and soak for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain the shrimp over a small bowl, reserving the soaking liquid separately, and set both aside.
To cook the sauce, heat a large wok over high heat until a bead of water dances on the surface and then evaporates. Add the oil and a healthy pinch of salt and swirl, then toss in the green onions and cook until they have just started to wilt and turn bright green, about 20 seconds. Add the shrimp and 2 tablespoons of the reserved soaking liquid and toss to combine with the green onions. Pour in the soy sauce, bring the liquid to a boil, stir to thoroughly coat, and continue to cook 30 seconds more. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set it aside to cool to room temperature.
To cook the noodles, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Remove the noodles from their package and fluff the strands to separate. Have a colander ready by the sink for draining. Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook until they are tender, about 2 minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse them under cold water. Drain them again and remove as much water as possible. Transfer the noodles to a large serving bowl. Top the noodles with the green-onion mixture. This dish is best served at room temperature.
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This page created January 2008
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