PAN FRIED NOODLES WITH HAM, MUSHROOMS AND SHRIMP (for four)
4 dried shiitake mushrooms
8 ounces fresh thin Chinese egg noodles (shi dan mian, also called Hong Kong noodles; not wonton noodles)
1 teaspoon Shaoxing rice wine
3 teaspoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
16 jumbo shrimp, shelled, deveined and butterflied
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 scallions, white parts only, julienned
6 thin slices peeled fresh ginger, julienned
¼ pound Smithfield ham, julienned
1 pound fresh (baby) spinach, washed and spun dry
2 cups unsalted chicken stock
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
3 teaspoons sesame oil
¼ teaspoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper
- Soak shiitakes in a bowl of hot water until soft, about 20 minutes. Drain, squeeze out excess water, discard stems and julienne caps.
- Bring 8 cups unsalted water to a boil in a 6 to 8 quart pot, then add noodles, stirring to separate, and cook 1 minute. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water until the noodles are cool, then shake colander briskly to drain excess water. Scatter on a clean kitchen towel and let dry for 1 hour, then toss the noodles with 1 teaspoon sesame oil.
- Combine Shaoxing, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Add shrimp and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour.
- In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Tilt the pan and move it around so that the oil coats the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the noodles and push them into the bottom of the pan with a spatula. Cook the noodles until they are golden brown on the bottom, about 6 minutes. Press down on the noodles with a spatula during cooking — this helps form them into a nest shape and makes sure they cook evenly. Rotate the noodle cake with a spatula to brown evenly and lift edges occasionally to check color.
- Flip the noodles frittata-style: Place a plate over the noodles and then invert the pan so that the noodles fall onto the plate, browned side up. (Flip the pancake well away from any open flame. Any oil left in the pan may spill and, if it comes into contact with a flame, catch fire.) Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan and tilt pan to lightly coat the bottom. Slide the noodles back into the pan. Cook until they are golden brown on the bottom, usually about 5 minutes. Again, press down lightly on the noodles during cooking. (The exact cooking time may vary depending on the type and even the brand of noodle that you are using. If, after browning both sides, the noodles aren’t quite as crisp as you like, you can fry either side for a bit longer, but you shouldn’t need to add extra oil to the pan.) Transfer drained noodle cake to a platter and loosely cover with foil to keep warm.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to wok and stir-fry shiitakes, scallions, ginger and ham for 3 minutes. Add shrimp and stir-fry until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add spinach, stir-fry about 1 minute, just until spinach wilts, then spoon mixture onto center of noodle cake.
- Bring stock, light soy sauce, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil and sugar to a boil in wok. Season with pepper. Dissolve remaining 2 teaspoons cornstarch in 1 tablespoon water, add to stock, and stir for 1 minute. Pour over stir-fry and noodles.
adapted from Saveur Magazine