Putting together a complete meal in 30 minutes is not a task for a novice cook. You don't have to know how to perform complicated maneuevers, but you do have to know your way around the kitchen. There isn't any time to look up the meaning of "mince" or figure out how hot "hot is.
Nor is there time to search for the utensils you will need. And it is definitely not the the moment the start sharpening knives. In other words, you have to be prepared.
One of the most important instructions given to cooks is to read a recipe through before cooking from it. A 30-minute meal can't be put together in the alloted time unless the cook has read the recipes, the time schedule and, of course, the list of ingredients that must be purchased and ought to be on hand.
But if you and your equipment can qualify on all the above counts, you are ready to go with this 30-minute meal taken from the Chinese kitchen.
STAPLES: Light soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar, dry sherry, vegetable oil, beef stock, garlic.
SHOPPING LIST: Fresh ginger, 8 dried Oriental mushrooms, 4 or 5 thin pork chops, 4 ounces Chinese vermicelli (thin Chinese noodles), 1 pound fresh loose spinach or 10 ounce package fresh spinach. MENU Chinese Pork Chops Vermicelli Stir Fry Spinach CHINESE PORK CHOPS (2 servings) 8 small, dried Oriental mushrooms 4 or 5 thin pork chops 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger 2tablespoons light soy sauce 2 teaspoons sugar 3 tablespoon rice vinegar 2 tablespoons dry sherry 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 2 cups beef stock or bouillon
Place mushrooms in hot water to soak. Mince ginger. Combine ginger, soy sauce, sugar, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon sherry in bowl large enough to hold chops. Trim excess fat from chops. Place chops in marinade and turn to coat.
Heat vegetable oil in skillet. Remove chops from marinade and reserve marinade. Brown chops on both sides. Pour off excess oil. Add mushrooms and 1 cup beef stock. Add 2 tablespoons rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon sherry. Cover skillet and cook over low heat. When chops are done, remove mushrooms and slice. Add mushrooms with 1 cup beef stock to skillet and bring to boil.
Add cooked noodles; stir to coat. Place noodles and sauce in the bottom of large serving bowl and top with pork chops. Serve VERMICELLI (2 servings) 4 ounces vermicelli (thin Chinese noodles) Boiling water
Bring enough hot water to cover the noodles to boil in a covered pot. Add the noodles and cook about 2 minutes. Watch carefully because noodles are so thin they can overcook quickly. Drain and leave in colander until ready to use.
Thin spaghetti may be substituted but it takes longer to cook. Stir-Fry Spinach (2 servings) 2 cloves garlic 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 pound fresh loose spinach or 1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach 2 tablespoons marinade from pork chops
Crush the garlic cloves lightly. Wash the spinach and remove the tough stems. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach is partially wilted. Add the marinade and stir until the spinach is cooked. Serve.