Traditional Chow Hein: Traditional Chinese Stir-fried Noodles

Ingredients

  • 30 g (1 oz) Chinese dried black mushrooms
  • 350 g (12 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin shreds
  • 1 egg white
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) groundnut oil, or 480 ml (16 fl oz) water (see variation) and 2 tablespoons groundnut oil
  • 450 g (1 lb) fresh thin Chinese egg noodles
  • 3 spring onions, finely shredded on the diagonal
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce

Method

Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes. Then drain them and squeeze out the excess liquid. Remove and discard the stems, and finely shred the caps into thin strips.

In a small bowl, mix the chicken and egg white, ½ teaspoon of salt, the white pepper and cornflour and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

Heat a wok until it is very hot, and then swirl in the oil. When the oil is very hot, remove the wok from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. When they turn white, in about 2 minutes, quickly drain them in a stainless steel colander set in a bowl. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the oil.

Blanch the noodles in a large pot of salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain the noodles well and set aside.

Reheat the wok and the reserved oil. (If you used water, add 2 tablespoons of fresh oil.) Toss in the noodles, mushrooms and spring onions and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then dump in the chicken, rice wine, soy sauces, 1 teaspoon of salt and the black pepper and continue to stir-fry for another 2 minutes. Pour in the oyster sauce and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes. Place noodles on a platter and serve at once.

Variation

If you choose to use water instead of oil, bring it to the boil in a saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. When the chicken pieces turn white, in about 2 minutes, quickly drain them in a stainless steel colander set in a bowl. Discard the water.

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