From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Chinese New Year - Spring Festival - is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The year 4715 - the year of the rooster - begins on the 28th of January. Chinese months are reckoned by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality. Those born in rooster years are observant, hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented. While they are confident to the point of irritation, they have a great sense of humor and are popular with those who know them. It goes without saying, they enjoy being the center of attention. I suspect they also love to eat. Food is an important part of the New Year celebration and certain foods are included for their symbolic value. Noodles are served for longevity, oranges for wealth and prosperity and a whole fish for abundance and togetherness. Today's recipe is for long-life noodles like the ones stick-stick men sold from pots that hung from shoulder poles. The noodles are served at the very beginning or at the very end of the meal. Be aware that bad luck or a shortened life is the fate of those who break or cut them into more manageable lengths. It's a pretty safe bet that those born in this lunar cycle, the Roosters, manage to keep their noodles in one very long piece. I've draped a noodle across the kitchen cabinet to give you an idea of their length. The noodles can be sauced in many ways, but I've chosen a really simple recipe to share with you tonight. I know you'll enjoy them, and if you have children or grandchildren at the table, they'll have a blast slurping the longest worms ever. Here is how they are made. Remember, the longer the noodle, the longer your life.
Long-Life Noodles...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Terry Durack
4 green onions
8 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked in water for an hour
1 (14-oz.) package Chinese noodles
3/4 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable or peanut oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cloves crushed garlic
1) Thinly slice green tops of onions and set aside. Cut white portion into thin matchsticks and set aside.
2) Drain mushrooms. Discard stems and thinly slice caps. Set aside.
3) Cook noodles per package directions. I cooked mine in boiling water for 3 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain well. Set aside.
4) Mix Chicken broth, soy sauce, oyster sauce sesame oil and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
5) Heat oil in a hot wok and stir fry ginger and garlic for 1 minute. Add onion matchsticks, mushrooms and sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for 1 minute. Add noodles and cook 2 minutes longer, or until noodles have absorbed most of the sauce. Turn onto a serving platter and sprinkle top of noodles with green onion tops. Serve immediately. Yield 4 servings.