Thursday, December 23, 2004

The mother of invention

Once again, I'm posting late. Real-life busyness has delayed my blogging (that and the cold that won't let go).

Anyway, on Tuesday my current workplace had a potluck holiday dinner. I was assigned a side dish, which was fine; I figured I could do some sort of Asian noodle dish. One thing led to another: the canned water chestnuts proved to be past their expiration date, while the chicken poaching liquid from the other night looked like it was trying to develop into a sentient lifeform. Ick.

I managed to regroup by substituting almonds for water chestnuts and plain ol' water for some sort of chicken stock. I wound up naming it "Green Bean Amandine Lo Mein." It sounds like some horrible fantasy of fusion cuisine, I know, but in practice it turned out ok and got good reviews from those who tried it.

Green Bean Amandine Lo Mein

green beans, blanched and sliced in half
slivered almonds
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 teaspoons Shao Xing rice wine
2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
cooked Chinese egg noodles

Heat a wok or large skillet and add the oil. Stir-fry the chopped shallot for a minute. Add the water, light soy sauce, rice wine, sugar, and oyster sauce, and bring to a boil. Add the green beans, then the egg noodles and cook for two minutes. Add the slivered almonds and cook for another minute.

Note about amounts: I’m very bad about measuring amounts in my own extemporaneous dishes. Here, I just picked a likely-looking amount of beans and a proportionate amount of noodles. The sauce is adapted from Ken Hom’s sauce in “Familiar Beef and Tomato Lo Mein,” although he uses chicken stock, of course.

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