Tuesday, June 19, 2012

BBQ Pork and Tofu Chow Mein

Chow mein is another great family favourite.  It is a very versatile party side dish and is always a part of our family gatherings.  This recipe is my father's and I am glad he taught me how to make this. 

My dad's recipe is an awesome base chow mein.  Please note that this is a rough estimate of how I make chow mein at home.  Like most stir-fry dishes, the amounts are approximate and depend on what ingredients are in the refrigerator and what the kiddies like. In essence, this is a stir-fry with noodles tossed in like a salad!  

Feel free to use leftover roast chicken, pork or beef, so the meat is already cooked and easy to throw in.  Even the amount of liquid is approximate too.  If you find the noodles a little dry, don't be afraid to add an extra splash of chicken or vegetable stock.  When I don't have chicken stock, I have used water and added about 1/2 tsp amount of Knorr chicken stock cube too.  Again, very flexible.  

To season, I use oyster sauce or soy sauce.  I prefer oyster sauce and I have seen it at our local supermarket.  With the right amount, it gives the dish umami, or that "je ne sais quoi" pleasant savory flavour that one can't exactly pinpoint.  Because the ingredients are all an estimate, you have to taste the noodles to see if it is salty enough.  I usually add salt in 1/4 tsp increments.  Some people are watching their salt intake, so seasoning is very subjective.  Some may need more or less. *Disclaimer - so that people won't say this dish is too salty or too bland!

I usually make two batches of this recipe for my family.  It heats up great for the next day (or breakfast!) For potlucks and parties, I make 3 batches for a 9x13 glass or casserole dish.

I tried this brand from Superstore for about $0.98.  The noodles were slightly thicker but still good. 

There are different kinds of noodles out there.  I usually buy the dried egg noodles for about CAN$ 1.50 per package at the local supermarket (SaveOnFoods). Each package has about 8 dried noodle square pieces.  I cook 4 squares, or half a package at a time. 

You can also use the fresh egg chow mein noodles in the fresh produce section of the store. 

BBQ Pork Chow Mein 
from Michelle’s Dad 

1-2 Tbsp canola or extra virgin olive oil
1-2 medium carrots - julienned
1 large celery stalk- julienned
½ cup julienned cooked meat (chicken, pork, beef) or firm tofu
½ cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp oyster sauce (or soy sauce - I prefer oyster sauce)
salt to taste (I use kosher salt)
1/2 package of 400g dried egg noodles,

Cook egg noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes max or until barely al-dente.  They should be chewy and not soft.  Take the noodles out of the water and spread onto a dinner plate, so the noodles can dry out. This will prevent the noodles from becoming mushy when they added to the vegetables and meat.  

Heat oil in a wok or large pot on medium-high heat. Saute carrots for 2 minutes, add sliced celery to the carrots and saute for 1 min.  Add ½ cup stock.  Cover with a lid and simmer for about 2 minutes until the vegetables are tender crisp (or softer to your liking).

Add cooked meat and/or tofu. Season with oyster or soy sauce and 1/4 tsp salt.

Turn off the heat and take the pot completely off the heat.  This step is important so your noodles will not get mushy.  Very important!  

Dump the cooked noodles to the vegetable, meat and stock mixture.  Use chopsticks or a fork to swish the noodles around the liquid.  As it absorbs the liquid, the noodles will loosen up and you can toss it around like "Italian pasta & sauce".

Taste the noodles and season again with salt & oyster sauce and serve.

Optional add-ins:  your favourite veggies, sliced cooked shitake mushrooms, bok choy, zucchini, etc.  Add this after the celery.  Snow peas and sugar snap peas do not need to be cooked very long.  I usually throw a handful with the cooked meat.   

Meat:  Char siu/chinese bbq roast pork, sliced chicken breast, leftover roast beef strips, cooked prawns (don’t overcook, or add it last!), sliced firm tofu

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