Tang hoon, also called vermicelli, glass noodles, 冬粉 (dong fen, meaning winter noodles), is a light version of bee hoon, typically made from some kind of starch. Most commonly found are ones made of mung bean starch, often referred to as ‘mung bean thread’. Compared to bee hoon, which is made of rice, tang hoon is finer and more delicate. Further, it looks glassy and transparent when cooked, hence the name ‘glass noodles. Tang hoon is tasteless on its own, making it a versatile addition to many dishes. It can be used to add textural interest to soup or gravy, as a side dish when stir-fried, or as in this recipe, as a meal by itself. Common ingredients for stir-fries include some combination of chicken, fried or dried shrimp, shiitake mushrooms, fish cake and bean sprouts. It is merely a matter of preference, variety and choice. I added a hefty dose of pepper in my version; go easy if you do not care for it as much.
2 packets tang hoon, soaked till soft and drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, diced
2 eggs, beaten
½ carrot, julienned
Handful of bak choy leaves
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 oyster sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
½ cup vegetable stock
1 tsp pepper
1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in wok. Add garlic and shallots. Stir-fry till golden.
2. Add carrots. Fry till nearly cooked through.
3. Add bak choy leaves. Fry till wilted,
4. Add tang hoon and sauce. Stir to combine well. Lower heat to medium.
5. When liquid is mostly absorbed, add eggs to side of wok and leave untouched till eggs are half-cooked. Break up egg and mix into tang hoon till eggs are cooked through.
6. Garnish with green onions. Serve with dollop of belachan.
Serves 2 (as a meal)
Serves 4 (as a sidedish)
A twist on the classic ‘Cashew Chicken’. This dish features celery as the main ingredient, making for a healthier option. Season the chicken well, according to your personal taste. A dash of paprika or turmeric adds a more exotic flavor. Chili powder offers a spicy kick. The small amount of protein will go a long way in enticing the palette. Picky eaters will forget they are eating vegetables.
1/2 lb chicken, cubed, and lightly seasoned with cornstarch and pepper
3 cups celery, diced
A handful of roasted cashews
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1. Fry garlic till just about to turn golden.
2. Toss chicken and quickly fry till half-cooked.
3. Add celery, starting with stems which take more time to cook than leaves, if any.
4. Season with soy sauce and oyster sauce. Lower heat and cook for 1 minute.
It is a cool evening, heralding the beginning of fall with the leaves rewarding with sights of yellow and orange and red everywhere we turn. Cool weather needs foods that bring comfort. In this all-in-one dinner recipe that was made with available ingredients in the fridge, ginger is added for its warming effect. For the noodles, any white wheat noodles will do. I prefer Hsin Tung Yang’s guan miao noodles.
1/2 lb chicken, cubed
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic, minced or finely chopped
1 tbsp shallots, sliced thinly
1/2 tbsp ginger, finely chopped
2 small or 1 medium sized carrots, cubed
1 tsp oyster sauce
2 skeins Taiwan (white) noodles, cooked according to instructions
1 tsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp chinese cooking wine
2-3 drops sesame oil
2 dashes white pepper
Marinate chicken for 10 minutes. Coat well with flour. Set aside.
Heat oil and sauté garlic, shallots and ginger till fragrant.
Add chicken and stir quickly , turning over cubes evenly.
When chicken is nearly cooked, add carrots and sauté well.
Stir in oyster sauce.
Add cooked noodles. Avoid adding the liquid from the noodles to the wok.
Toss thoroughly and serve.
Add a dash of soy sauce to taste if needed.
Lately, I am experimenting with pork fat. I sneaked in a couple of pieces along with the ginger, shallots and ginger. After adding the noodles, I felt we needed more veggies since I had not prepared a separate dish of vegetables. So I added a handful of frozen mixed vegetables that I had on hand. At the last minute, I spied my bottle of hay bee hiam (Nonya fried shrimp) which my family loves on a cool evening, and added a tbsp of that toward the end of the cooking as well.
Summer brings with it long days, sunshine, clear skies and its cornucopia of lush fruits and vegetables. Looking around my kitchen one afternoon, wondering what to make for dinner, I pondered a single leftover sun-ripened tomato-in-vine and an ear of white corn that recently left the farm. Now I can feast on corn boiled in nothing but water for the entire harvest season, as I had done the past 2 days, but my husband does not care for the flossing that needs follow. A quick look around my pantry resulted in this global mix of cuisine – north asian noodles with south-east asian dried seafood with summer bounty found in western climes.
2 skeins shanghai (white) noodles, cooked according to instructions
1 ripe tomato
1 white or sweet corn, kernels shucked
3 sprigs leaves from shallots, chopped finely (or spring onions)
4 chinese dried mushrooms, soaked and sliced
tip-of-handful dried shrimp, soaked
tip-of-handful ikan bilis (anchovies), soaked to remove excessive salt
2 dried scallops, soaked to soften
chinese cooking wine
Saute garlic till fragrant.
Add corn kernels and stir-fry generously for about 30 seconds.
Add in dried mushrooms and keep frying at high heat.
Add in shrimp, ikan bilis and scallops till mostly cooked.
Toss in tomatoes and give it quick stir. The ingredients should be mostly quite dry by now.
Add a splash of cooking wine, a dash of fish sauce adjusted to taste and about 2 tbsp of water reserved from soaked shrimp and scallops. Keep heat high for 10 seconds before lowering to medium heat to simmer for about 1 minute.
Stir in shallot leaves before serving.
Diced chicken with cashew nuts and celery is a staple in any chinese restaurant in the bay area. I have often found it slightly odd because growing up, celery was imported and not a common food item. It was not easily found in a wet market, and if it were, probably did not offer as much value for money as spinach or choy sum or kai lan. Nonetheless, this dish is common in the American-Chinese diet, just as broccoli beef is (that’s a story for another day).
1 chicken breast, diced
½ bunch celery, diced
½ cup raw cashew nuts
1 tbsp corn/potato starch
1 tbsp soy sauce
dash of sesame oil
dash of pepper
1. Marinate chicken. Leave in fridge for an hour.
2. Saute garlic till fragrant.
3. Just as garlic starts to turn brown, chicken and saute on high heat to seal in flavours.
4. When edges of chicken starts to brown, add cashews and saute till nuts also start to just very slightly brown.
5. Add celery. Give a couple of quick stirs, about 30 seconds.
6.Simmer in 2-3 tbsp water, or reserved liquids from soaking mushrooms or shrimp, till liquid is mostly absorbed.
1 lb green beans, ends trimmed, cut into 1″ length
½ lb prawns, tails intact, deveined and slit
2 tbsp chinese cooking wine
salt/sugar to taste
Blanch green beans in salted, boiling water. Drain and place into iced water to stop the cooking process.
Saute garlic till fragrant.
Add prawns to high heat. Saute quickly till prawns begin to turn pink.
Add green beans, keeping heat high. Toss thoroughly.
Lower to medium heat after about 10 seconds, adding salt/sugar to taste if necessary.
Remove from heat when prawns and beans are cooked through.
This is a popular dish from the Sichuan province. The tofu can be cubed prior to cooking for nice, evenly shaped pieces. I like a tossed-together look and go for irregular pieces, chopped up using the spatula during the cooking process. Other meats I’ve enjoyed include luncheon meat and lap cheong (chinese sausage). The meat can be left out for a vegetarian version. Adding sweet corn (canned) also adds a nice touch and added texture. For an even more decadent meal, lightly toss cooked rice in fried shallots and chopped ginger for added aroma to rice.
1 box (14 oz) of tofu, preferably fairly firm
4 oz minced pork or diced chicken
1 tbsp sweet sauce
1 tbsp plum sauce
1 tsp cooking wine
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp chilli sauce/paste
Spring onion, sliced, to garnish
Stir fry chicken over heated pan. Add cooking wine and soy sauce.
When chicken is ¾-cooked, add garlic and fry till fragrant.
Add sweet sauce and plum sauce. Adjust to taste.
Add tofu. Cut into irregular pieces with spatula.
Add chilli and stir well.
Add sesame oil and bring out the aromas.
Serve over hot rice and garnish with spring onions.