A completely different take on the combination of chicken with dough or noodles, this is a Hawaiian favorite with a Cantonese ancestry. Boogie and Violet Luuwai, a seventh-generation Maui family showed us how they make the dish one day when preparing a batch for a church supper. While the seasoning is subtle, the result shouldn't be bland or watery, as is often the case in commercial luau versions. The name comes from the Chinese bean-thread noodles, commonly called "long rice" in the islands.
1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
or Chinese mushrooms, such as tree ears
2 ounces Chinese bean-thread noodles
(cellophane noodles), or 1 "bundle" from a
3-3/4 ounce package of noodles
2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons Japanese soy sauce,
such as Yamasa, or more to taste
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts,
sliced into 1/2 inch by 2-inch strips
2 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch matchsticks
1 carrot, cut into 2-inch matchsticks
4 scallions, halved vertically and sliced
on the diagonal into 2-inch matchsticks
Cover the mushrooms with boiling water and let them sit until soft, about 30 minutes. Cover the noodles with warm water and let them sit briefly until flexible. Drain the noodles and cut them into 3-inch lengths. Strain off the mushroom soaking liquid, carefully leaving any grit behind, and reserve the liquid. Slice the mushrooms into thin strips, discarding any woody stems.
Bring the stock and ginger to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce, chicken, celery, carrot, and mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Simmer covered for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the celery and carrot are softened but still have some crunch. Stir in the long rice and scallions, and continue to simmer until the stock is mostly absorbed but the mixture is still moist, about 5 additional minutes. If you feel the dish needs salt, add a bit more soy sauce, but it should only be used as a seasoning and should not overpower the more subtle flavors. Serve hot.
American Home Cooking
400 Spirited Recipes Celebrating
Our Rich Traditions of Home Cooking
By Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison
Published by Broadway Books; October 1999
Hardback, $30.00, 544 pages
Recipe Reprinted by permission.
This page created December 1999
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