Sunday, February 10, 2013

Chinese New Year time for some Braised Vegetarian Yi Mein (Chinese Longevity noodles) with mushrooms and leek

Happy Chinese New Year!

There are many traditions for Chinese New Year and each family has their own version. Mine is a mixture of a few cultures. My mother is a very traditional Singapore Chinese, while my father was raised colonial in Hong Kong with another side of traditions. As with me, I follow what I called Mother's rules for most part.

I made a few traditional dishes, kept a New Year basket for good luck and good fortune and honored a few traditions here and there. I am keeping it quite simple this year. I was in New York for work last week and I knew a storm on the way, Mr Wonderful would stay back at his place up north. He had to deal with the snow at his house. Unlike being in the city, if he does not clear out the snow in batches and leaves the house for a few days, he will not be able to get into his property. The pros and cons of living in the country.

I was going to post my Jai - Buddha's Delight vegetarian recipe, I decide not too. It's a bit complicated and there were about 20 different ingredients. It is also a bit of an acquired taste. I thought the noodle recipe may be a better choice. This is my favorite noodle dish since I was a child. Yi Mein  (伊麵) is a variety of Chinese dried egg noodle. This is not a vegan dish. The is a version of the  classic Dried Fried Yi Mein (乾炒伊麵), usually with straw mushrooms and chives. I am using leek, since we are in the middle of winter and chive is not ready available, I kept the straw mushroom, but adding a package of Enoki. for some variety. I am working on another version without mushroom so that non-mushroom eater will get to enjoy the noodle too!

Braised Vegetarian Yi Mein (Chinese Longevity noodles) with mushrooms and leek
1 12oz Packet of Chinese Yi Mein, also called E-Fu Noodle sometimes.
1 can of Straw mushroom, drained and sliced in half vertically
1 package of fresh Enoki Mushroom, root removed, clean and rinse, then separate the mushrooms
1 small leek, cleaned, outside layer moved, cut in 1/2 vertically, rinse between the layers and slice
1 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup Vegetable stock
4 tbsp shoyu
3 tbsp Vegetarian Oyster sauce
1/2 tsp brown sugar of palm sugar
Dish of salt and pepper
Prepare the season. Mix shoyu, Vegetarian Oyster sauce and palm sugar together. Set aside.
Boil a large pot of water. Drop the whole noodle cake into the water, one at time. Do not break it up, it's bad luck for Chinese folks.
Gently fold and turn the noodle, the noodle will deflat once it hit the boiling water. Be careful not to break up the noodle too much. Let it cook for about 2 mins.
Remove from heat and drain. Risen/wash the noodle in cold water to remove the excess oil and starch.
Drain well and set aside
In a large pot or wok. Heat 3-4 tbsp of vegetable till hot, saute the garlic till fragrant.
Add leek and let it cook till the vegetable starts to wilt. 
Add mushrooms and let it cook for  a couple of min, till it is tender. 
Remove from the pot and set aside.
In the same pot, add the vegetable stock and bring the stock to a boil. 
Add seasoning. 
Once the broth comes to a boil, add noodle and lower heat to med, let the noodle stew in the broth for a few mins. 
Top it with leek and mushroom mix, Fold in the vegetable.
Let the noodle gently braised till all the broth is almost all absorbed. I like to leave a little liquor to keep the noodle saucy.
Plate and ready to serve.

Serve 8-10 as entree or part of a Chinese dinner.

Here is a few of our family Chinese New year Traditio
A big pot of Jai (Buddha's delight) for New Years Eve Reunion dinner and for the 1st day of New Year. 
We have Jai for breakfast, lunch and dinner for 1st day of the year, as a symbol of cleansing and kindness (no meat).
 The good luck New Year baskets with symbolic items.
 A whole chicken for Reunion Dinner, it is actually our "Thanksgiving" to give thanks to a good year and prepare for the next. I am practicing my mother's shoyu chicken recipe.
Fresh vibrant blooms symbolize a good year, good business. It is also the sign of Spring. Chinese New Year is also referred as the Spring Festival.
Lucky Money - we call it Ang Pow(Red envelope) in Singapore
Last, but not least - got to have new slippers

Happy Lunar New Year!


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