In China, noodle dishes are a staple for birthdays and Chinese New Year because they signify a long life for whoever is eating them -- as long as the noodles are not cut short. The longer they are, the better.
The noodles in this dish are commonly labeled e-fu or yi mein. They are usually available dried and compressed into blocks. Fresh Shanghai noodles or, in a pinch, linguine can be substituted. Asian shallots are redder, smaller and milder than their Western counterparts; either can be used, as long as you add the correct measured amount. Chinese chives, also called garlic chives, are worth seeking out. They have a deliciously tangy flavor, and they turn a vibrant green after a couple minutes of cooking. All of the ingredients in the recipe are easily found in Asian markets; we bought ours at Great Wall Supermarket in Falls Church.
You can be flexible with this recipe: If you really like mushrooms, add more. If you must have meat, cut chicken, pork or beef into small pieces and stir-fry them along with the garlic and shallots.
Servings: 4 - 6
- 8 medium dried black mushrooms
- 2 cups very hot water
- Two 9-ounce packages of fresh egg noodles or one 8-ounce package dried egg noodles
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium or regular soy sauce
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (1 tablespoon)
- 3 small shallots, chopped (3 tablespoons)
- 4 ounces button mushrooms (white or cremini), trimmed and sliced (1 cup)
- 2 ounces enoki mushrooms, trimmed and separated into bite-size pieces (1 cup)
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 5 Chinese chives or skinny scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the dried mushrooms with the hot water in a medium bowl and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes, until the mushrooms are rehydrated. Drain the mushrooms, reserving 1 cup of the soaking liquid. Slice the mushrooms into 1/4-inch-thick strips.
Prepare the noodles according to the package directions. At the end of the cooking time, pour them into a colander and rinse under cold running water. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl; add 1 tablespoon of the oil and the soy sauce. Toss to combine.
Heat a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the garlic and shallots; cook for 30 to 45 seconds, until fragrant. Add the black mushrooms and button mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until the mushrooms are almost cooked through. Add the enoki mushrooms, the reserved mushroom liquid, oyster sauce, chives and 1 teaspoon salt (add less salt if you are not using low-sodium soy sauce). Add the noodles, then stir quickly until the ingredients are well mixed and heated through (use a spatula in each hand to evenly toss the noodles, if necessary). Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed. Serve hot.
Adapted from "The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook," by Patricia Tanumihardja (Sasquatch Books, 2009).
Tested by Jane Touzalin .
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