Meatless Mai Fun
This is a dish I adapted from my parents’ recipe. It normally incorporates ground pork, and can be known as “ants climbing up a tree.” I, of course, opted to load up on more veggies and exclude the meat. This would make for a great side dish, or could definitely be filling enough as a main dish (adding baked tofu would make it even heartier). I hope you enjoy!
1 Package of Dried Mai Fun Noodles (about 6-7 oz)*
2 TBSP Vegetable Oil
1 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 TBSP Minced Ginger
10 Shiitake Mushrooms*
1/2 Medium Onion
2 Green Onions, Green Parts chopped into 1/2 Inch Strips
1 Cup Vegetable Broth (without tomato paste)
1 TBSP Soy Sauce
1 TBSP Brown Sugar
1 TBSP Rice Wine (Like Mirin)*
2 TSP Chili Garlic Sauce
2 TSP Sesame Oil
*Notes about the ingredients. In some areas it may be difficult to find Mai Fun at your local grocery store, but I have noticed it becoming more and more popular. It’s normally sold in a package, dried, just like spaghetti or any other pasta that needs to be rehydrated. The same thing goes for shiitake mushrooms. Although fresh shiitakes are wonderful, they are super expensive, so I normally opt for a pack of dried shiitakes. Rice wine has also become readily available in stores, just check the Asian section. Fresh ginger can be found in the produce section. It may seem expensive (about $4.99/LB), but ginger is naturally light in weight – and you don’t need to buy a whole root. Find a smaller piece, or break one off of a larger root. For this dish you only need 1 TBSP of minced ginger, so try to find a root that’s about an an inch – 1 1/2 inches in length. And, as I’ve mentioned in past blogs – if you are lucky enough to have an Asian market nearby, d! efinitely go there first! They will have a much bigger selection and be much cheaper!
The first thing you will want to do is prepare everything for cooking. To hydrate the shiitakes (if you are using dried shiitakes), heat up a bowl of water in the microwave (I normally warm for about 4 minutes). The water doesn’t have to be at a boiling temperature but needs to be hot. Place the shiitakes in the bowl of hot water (stem side down) and let them soak for 30 minutes.
Next, it’s mincing time! Mince 1 TBSP garlic (about 3 large cloves). Then, mince 1 TBSP Ginger Root. Just like garlic, ginger needs to be peeled, but peeled more like a carrot or a potato. Take a peeler, and peel off the rough, brown skin. Underneath you will find a lovely smooth golden color. Mince the ginger, just as you did the garlic, and put the minced garlic and ginger into a small side dish (they can be placed in the same dish since they will be added to the recipe at the same time).
Take half of an onion and cut it into thin slices, about a centimeter in width. Place into a small bowl. The reason I always suggest putting the chopped items into side bowls/dishes is because the actual art of Chinese cooking is quick. The preparation is what takes the longest to do, but once all preparation is complete, stir frying needs to happen fast and you need to have everything ready to be thrown into the wok or pan!
Heat up a large bowl of water (enough to cover the mai fun noodles) in the microwave (about 5 minutes) until hot. Add the mai fun noodles and soak for about 10 minutes until they become soft.
The mushrooms should be done soaking. Carefully (they may still be hot) remove the shiitakes from the water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Slice the shiitakes into quarters or thirds, depending on how large they are. Place into a bowl. Wash and slice the green onions, removing the top white portions, only slicing the dark green portions (this is just personal preference, I think the white portions tend to be too strong, but that’s just me)! Add green onions to the same bowl as the shiitakes (they will be added to the wok/pan at the same time).
Combine the 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 TBSP Soy Sauce, 1 TBSP Brown Sugar, 1 TBSP Rice Wine, 2 TSP Chili Garlic Sauce, and 2 TSP Sesame Oil into a bowl to make the sauce.
The noodles should be done soaking. Strain the noodles using a colander. Shake the colander making sure as much of the water is drained from the noodles as possible. Remove the noodles, small parts at a time, and chop them into thirds on a cutting board. (I absolutely hate the idea of chopping noodles – since noodles signify long life in Chinese culture and they shouldn’t be chopped, but the mai fun noodles are way too long if you don’t). Once all of the noodles have been chopped, place back into the colander.
Heat your stove to medium high heat. Place your wok (or deep fry pan) over the burner until heated, and add 2 TBSP Vegetable Oil, swirling to coat the sides (if the oil is smoking, you need to lower the heat a bit because the garlic/ginger will burn). Add the minced garlic and ginger, and mix around for about 10 seconds. Add the onions and stir fry for 2-3 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the green onions and shiitakes and stirfry for a minute until heated through. Add the mai fun noodles from the colander and mix around with the vegetables in the wok. Add the sauce, stirring all the way through so all the noodles and vegetables are covered. Cook for about 30 seconds until the sauce bubbles. Turn the heat down to medium and cover, continuing to cook for about 5-6 minutes. During that time, make sure to stop and mix the noodles 2-3 times. The sauce will absorb into the mai fun noodles (you will have some remaining sauce left, which you want so the mai fun does! n’t dry up).
And there you have it! Meatless Mai Fun noodles with a nice, light, happy, flavorful sauce! Perfect heated on a cold night, or cool on a hot day! Enjoy!
Article submitted by Kristy
Photo credit: Kristy