Cookbook Profile

Longevity Noodles
Cheung Sau Jai Mien

Makes 4 servings


The one constant reminder of long life in the Chinese diet is the noodle. The noodle is symbolic to such an extent that it often transcends its nutrition. Simply because of its length, the noodle represents longevity, and noodles are served at all occasions that relate to long life — birthdays, the Lunar New Year, anniversaries — and great care is taken at such feasts not to cut them. The longer the better. The Chinese even believe that noodles are easier to digest than bread, though both are warming foods. In fact, in winter it is deemed more healthful to eat a bowl of warming noodles than a cold sandwich. Wheat is a cool grain, a yin food, but once processed into noodles, particularly with eggs, it becomes warm.

Longevity noodles are essentially a warming preparation; stir-frying, a warming cooking process. This "warmth" is slightly leavened with three cooling vegetables and a neutral sauce to prevent it from becoming overly yang or too hot for the body. A plate of longevity.


10 cups cold water
5 ounces soybean sprouts, washed and drained
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound egg noodles,
   prefried "longevity noodles"

For the sauce
3-1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup Chicken Stock

1 tablespoon peanut oil
One 1/4-thick slice fresh ginger,
   lightly smashed
1/4 pound snow peas, strings removed
3 fresh large water chestnuts,
   peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices


1. Place the water in a large pot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Place the soybean sprouts in a mesh strainer and lower into the boiling water for 15 seconds. Remove the strainer, run cold water through the sprouts, drain, and reserve.

2. Add the salt to the pot and bring the water back to a boil. Add the noodles, loosening with chopsticks, and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat, run cold water into the pot, and drain. Repeat the rinsing and drain the noodles thoroughly, using chopsticks to loosen them. Reserve.

3. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and reserve.

4. Heat a wok over high heat for 45 seconds. Add the peanut oil and coat the wok with it using a spatula. When a wisp of white smoke appears, add the ginger and cook for 10 seconds. Add the snow peas, stir, and cook for 1 minute or until the snow peas turn bright green. Add the water chestnuts, stir, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the reserved sprouts, stir well, and cook for 1 minute. Stir the sauce mixture, pour into the wok, and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring well to combine all ingredients, until the sauce is absorbed, about 1-1/2 minutes. Turn off the heat, transfer to a heated platter, and serve.

Buy the Book!


The Chinese Kitchen
Recipes, Techniques, and Ingredients
from America's Leading Authority on Chinese Cooking

By Eileen Yin-Fei Lo
William Morrow, December 1999
Hardcover, $30.00
ISBN: 0-688-15826-9
Recipe reprinted by permission.


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This page created February 2000