|2||Chinese sausages (lop cheong)|
|¼ pounds||Medium shrimp (36 to 40 per pound), shelled and deveined|
|¼ pounds||Cleaned squid, with tentacles (See Technique Note)|
|¼ pounds||Chinese barbecued pork|
|¼ teaspoon||White pepper|
|1½ tablespoon||Dark soy sauce|
|1½ tablespoon||Light soy sauce|
|1 tablespoon||Oyster sauce|
|2 pounds||Fresh rice noodles, in 5/8-inch-wide strips|
|4 tablespoons||Peanut oil|
|4||Cloves garlic, chopped|
|4||Shallots, sliced (1/2 cup sliced)|
|6||Fresh red chiles, seeded and chopped|
|1 cup||Bean sprouts, tails removed|
|1 cup||Shredded Chinese cabbage|
|4||Green onions, chopped|
|Fresh coriander sprigs, for garnish|
Nothing is more fascinating and delicious than eating at the open- air street hawker centers in Asia, particularly in Singapore. Each stall serves a specialty, typically an honest, unpretentious, home-style dish for $1 to $3 a plate.
This rice noodle dish is hawker food at its best. If done right, its fragrance will tell you how good it's going to be as soon as it arrives at your table. Singapore hawkers will use whatever seafoods are available, including cockles and sliced fish cakes in addition to those suggested in this recipe. Feel free to experiment.
1. Steam the sausages for 10 minutes. Cut them in thin diagonal slices. Toss the shrimp with ½ teaspoon of the salt. Let them stand for 10 minutes, rinse well with cold water, drain, and pat dry. Cut the squid into ¼ inch rings and tentacles. Cut the barbecued pork into ¼-inch-thick slices. Combine the white pepper, soy sauces, and oyster sauce in a bowl; set aside.
2. Just before cooking, put the noodles in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Stir gently with chopsticks to separate the strands, drain, and shake off the excess water.
3. Preheat a wok; when hot, add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the garlic, shallots, and chiles and cook over medium-high heat until the garlic is golden brown. Increase the heat to high and toss in the shrimp and squid; stirfry until the shrimp turn bright orange and the squid looks opaque white, about 2 minutes. Add the sausage slices, barbecued pork, bean sprouts, and cabbage; toss and stir until the vegetables begin to wilt. Remove everything in the wok to a platter and set aside.
4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the wok; when hot, toss in the well-drained noodles. Gently toss and flip the noodles to heat them through. Be careful not to break them; it is okay if they brown slightly. Push the noodles up the sides of the wok to make a well in the middle; pour in the soy sauce mixture, then toss the noodles gently to sauce them evenly. Make a well again and break the eggs into the middle. Without mixing them with the noodles, scramble the eggs lightly. When the eggs begin to set, add the green onions and return the seafood mixture. Gently toss together to reheat and mix. Serve hot, with a hot chill sauce for seasoning to taste.
Garnish with coriander sprigs.
NOTE: Both here and in Asia, fresh rice noodles are usually purchased rather than made at home. Look for them in Asian markets or Chinese take-out dim sum shops. This dish can be prepared with dried rice noodles; however, it is worth taking the time to seek out the fresh variety.
Make certain that your wok is well seasoned or the fragile rice noodles will break apart and stick to the pan. Although I hesitate recommending that you cook with a non stick wok or skillet, they will work fine if you are more comfortable with them.
TECHNIQUE NOTE; To clean squid, start by separating all the tentacles from the heads, cutting across as close as possible to the eyes. Squeeze out and discard the hard, pea sized beak in the center of each cluster of tentacles. Rinse the tentacles and drain them in a colander. Grasp the mantle (the saclike "body" of the squid) in one hand and the head in the other and pull apart; the entrails will pull out attached to the head. Pull the transparent quill out of each mantle. Discard everything but the tentacles and mantles. Running a little water into each mantle to open it up, reach in with a finger and pull out any entrails remaining inside. (Working over a second colander to catch all the debris will make cleanup easier.) You can remove the spotted outer skin or leave it on (I prefer to remove it).
Transfer the cleaned mantles to a cutting board, slice them crosswise to the desired size,and add them to the tentacles in the colander.
Give everything another rinse and drain thoroughly.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
From "Asian Appetizers" by Joyce Jue, Harlow and Ratner, 1991. ISBN 0-9627345-1-9.
Posted by Stephen Ceideburg
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