…from the California Kitchen
How you doin’? The Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, is the most important celebration of the year for many Asian cultures. It usually lasts 16 days, from New Year's Eve to the 15th day of the New Year or the Lantern Festival. This year, the celebration starts on January 31st and ends on February 15th. Let’s celebrate the Year of the Tiger. GRRRRRRR!
Last week I got a head start on the Lunar New Year’s celebration with a noodle lunch at Din Tai Fung. Lunar New Year is a time for long-honored food traditions and delicious celebrations. In many countries, meals include fish, fruit, and dumplings, which are symbols of luck and prosperity. Longevity noodles signify a long life and are one of the most delicious parts of this holiday meal.
This recipe includes all the elements that make a well-balanced stir-fry, along with a few culinary tricks to make it shine. For example, the noodles are tossed in the wok separately, in just a modicum of oil, so they stay light and springy (not clumpy!). And the chicken marinates in sherry, soy sauce and fresh ginger with a smidge of cornstarch, which keeps it moist when we throw it on a sizzling hot wok with peanut oil and red pepper flakes. This method of coating the meat in cornstarch is called velveting which I addressed in Lesson #353 (Quick Wok-Fried Slippery Beef).
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/4-inch-thick, bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
3 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon dry sherry, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1-1/2 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce, divided
1 teaspoon, plus 1/4-teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
10 ounces dried lo mein noodles
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
3 cups thinly shaved Napa cabbage
2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps thinly sliced
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions, plus 2 tablespoons more for garnish
Chile oil, for serving
ChefSecret: Personally, I prefer chicken thighs to breast as they are juicier, won’t dry out and have a lot more flavor.
Quip of the Day: 祝您新年快乐,身体健康–Wishing You a Happy New Year and Good Health.
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America.
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