All noodle soups in China use fresh ingredients, and this desire for freshness might disturb Western sensibilities. Eels, for example, harvested from nearby rivers are kept alive at food stalls until ready for cooking. High in protein and inexpensive, eel adds a great deal to the humble noodle soups that the Chinese so love. This is my version of a dish I had at the Gui Yuan Guan restaurant in Hangzhou. If fresh eel is not available, use white fish fillets.
Cut the eel or fish fillets into long, thin
Blanch the prawns in a pot of salted, boiling water for 45 seconds. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
Blanch the noodles in a pot of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
In a large pot, bring the stock to a simmer.
Heat a wok or large frying pan until hot. Add the oil, onions, and ginger and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Then add the fish and prawns, and gently stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add the rice wine or sherry, soy sauce, sugar, and salt and stir-fry another minute, making sure to combine them well. Pour in the cornflour mixture and when it has thickened, remove from the heat.
Place the noodles in a very large bowl, add the stock, then the fish and prawn mixture and drizzle over the sesame oil. Serve at once.
© 1990 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.