I heard the Japanese golfer Ryo Ishikawa is going to donate his entire year of earnings to help Japan.  What a great guy!  I was very impressed by his generosity.  I donated what I could to the Red Cross for the Japan Tsunami Fund. I donated to my friend’s Girl Scout troops.  I bought ticket for my vacation next month.  I bought some software for my school work.  With all these spending plus the crazy gas price, I have to cut back on other things. I made a frugal dish called Ants Climbing A Tree. It’s a traditional Chinese noodle dish. Usually it was pretty spicy, but I made it mild.  It has a little bit of ground meat and the clear cellophane noodles and some seasonings. That’s pretty much it.  It’s easy to make.  The clear noodles absorb whatever seasoning that I added, and it was delicious.  Cellophane noodles are pretty cheap, like 20 cents a pack.  I probably used 1/3 pound of the meat. So I would say the whole dish is probably like $3!!  Not bad at all for a cheap meal when I’m a budget.

Cellophane noodles
Cook Cellophane noodles first
Cook onion and ground meat
Add noodles and sauce
Ants Climbing a Tree

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Ground meat, 1/3 to ½ pound (I used ground beef. The traditional dish used ground pork. You can even use ground chicken or turkey).
  • Cellophane noodles, 2 small packs
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Scallion, 2 stalks
  • Small onion, 1
  • Chicken powder, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Water, 4 Tbsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • White pepper, a dash
  • Chili sauce, ½ tsp (you can add more)

 

Steps:

  1. Boil about 5 or 6 cups of water in a saucepan.  When water boils, add cellophane noodles. Let it cook for 7-10 mins until it is soft.  Use a colander to hold the noodles and discard the water.  Put it aside.
  2. Cut scallion into dices. Put it aside.
  3. Finely chopped garlic.  Put it aside.
  4. Cut onion into strips, put it aside.
  5. Prepare the sauce: In a bowl, add chicken powder, water, soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper and cornstarch. Mix it well.  Put it aside.
  6. Use a non-stick frying pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil to the pan.  Use high heat.  Add garlic, onion and meat to the pan.  Add Chinese cooking wine.  Stir fry the meat until it is cooked.
  7. Add cellophane to the meat.  Let it cook for couple of minutes to make the noodles dry up a little bit.
  8. Add the sauce.  Mix everything well.  Turn down the heat to low.  Let it simmer for 4 or 5 minutes or until the sauce is fully absorbed by the noodles.  Stir the sauce well into the noodles.  Add the chili sauce to the noodles.  Taste it. Add a dash of salt or more chili sauce if needed.
  9. Add chopped scallion.  Mix it well. Turn off the heat. Serve hot.

I got some leftover roast duck in the fridge. What to do about it?  I remember I was shocked when my Chinese college buddy told me that she had leftovers in her fridge that were like 3 or 4 days old.  I grew up with fresh food everyday.  My mom would go to the market and get fresh food everyday.  I do mean every day!  Whatever leftover from dinner would become her next day breakfast.  We rarely ate any leftovers for dinner.  I was so lucky and I didn’t even realize it back then.  I learned to cook for myself when I was in college.  Being a poor and busy student, I could only afford to cook once or twice a week.  I ended up making a big batch of food, and I ate that for a week or so.  Then I started to realize it was not that strange to have leftover food for days.  I started to appreciate that.  Some of the food actually tasted better the next day.  The leftover roast duck I had was 3 days old.  But it was still yummy and edible. I decided to debone the meat and add some pickled vegetables to make it into a sautéed mei fun dish.  My friend mentioned that there is a Taiwanese food truck in NYC.  It was so cool.  I checked out their website. They put Chinese pickled vegetables as a side dish for the meal.  That reminded me that I could turn my leftover into a nice mei fun dish if I added some Chinese pickled veggie.  I made this meal from start to end in about 20 mins.  It was yummy and convenient.  All my leftover roast duck was gone.  I really wish I had more leftover to make the dish again.  LOL.

Chinese pickled vegetable
Chinese pickled vegetable
 

Debone and cut roast duck into pieces

 

Add roast duck and pickled vegetable in the pan
 

Add mei fun to the pan

 

Sauteed mei fun with roast duck and pickled vegetable
Sauteed mei fun with roast duck and pickled vegetable

Ingredients (Serve one big hungry serving):

  • Mei Fun, 4 oz (about 2 dried ones)
  • Roast Duck, about a cup (I didn’t really measure.  Whatever leftover I had, I used it all)
  • Pickled vegetable, 3 Tbsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic, 1 clove
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Water, 6 Tbsp
  • Salt, a dash
  • Pepper, a dash

 

Steps:

  1. Boil a big pot of water.  When the water boils, put dried mei fun in the pot.  Use a fork or a pair of chopsticks to separate the noodles when it softens.  Cool it for 2 mins after it is separated.  Turn off the heat.   Put noodles in a colander.  Rinse off excess starch under the tap.  Put the noodles aside.  Let it drain.
  2. Chop garlic into small pieces.  Put it aside.
  3. Debone and cut the leftover roast duck into small pieces.  Put it aside.
  4. In a frying pan (non-stick would be better), spray some oil.  Add garlic and roast duck meat in it.  Stir fry for a minute.  Add Chinese cooking wine.
  5. Add pickled vegetable to the pan and mix it well.
  6. Add mei fun to the pot. Mix it well.
  7. In a small bowl, add cornstarch, sugar, pepper, and water.  Mix it well.
  8. Add sauce to the pan. Mix it well with the noodles.  Let it cook for a minute or so. Taste it.  NOTE that I have not put any salt in this dish because the Chinese pickled vegetable is kind of salty.  You can add some salt if needed.  Turn off the heat. Serve hot.

 

July 10, 2010

I was planning to make Steamed Garlic Shrimp tonight.  I went to the grocery store and tried to get some jumbo shrimp for that.  Guess what? All the jumbo shrimp were all sold out.  How could that be?  Oh well… my dinner plan had to change.  I got some medium sized cooked shrimp. I was going to make Shrimp Chow Mei Fun instead.  Then when I got home, I really felt like making some Singapore Noodles instead.  Crap.  My mind changed too much, and I didn’t have all the ingredients to make the dish. I improvise. Hahahha..  I didn’t have Cha Siu (Roast Pork) and green peppers.  I added some bacon strips instead of Cha Siu, and I skipped the green peppers.  The result was still very yummy.  I had so many Singapore Noodles dishes when I grew up.  That was one of my favorite lunch dishes.  I like mei fun, and I like the curry taste.  Singapore noodles have my favorite combo.  I liked it so much that I could eat two lunch boxes of Singapore Noodles back then.  I could probably still eat this much, but I had to watch out for the amount of food I have these days. You know, old people have slower metabolism. Whatever I eat gets stored. LOL.

Mei Fun (rice noodles)
Mei Fun (rice noodles)
Cook roast pork (or bacon), carrot and onion first.
Cook roast pork (or bacon), carrot and onion first.
Add mushroom, celery.
Add mushroom, celery.
Add noodles
Add noodles
Add shrimp and sauce
Add shrimp and sauce
Singapore noodles. Yummy!!
Singapore noodles. Yummy!!

Ingredients (serves 3 – 4):

  • Rice noodles, 1 pack (about 1 pound). You can get this from any Chinese grocery store.
  • Cha Siu/roast pork, ½ pound (I didn’t have it tonight. I used 4 pieces of bacon instead)
  • Cooked shrimp, 1 pound
  • Celery, 4 stalks
  • Carrot, 3 stalks
  • Onion, 1
  • Mushroom, 1 pack
  • Scallion, 3 stalks
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Ginger, 3 slices
  • Chinese wine, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Fish sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 tsp
  • Chicken powder, 1 tsp
  • Curry powder, 1 Tbsp
  • Water, 5 Tbsp

 

Steps:

  1. Boil a big pot of water.  Use high heat.  When the water boils, add the dried mei fun noodles in the pot.  Use a pair of chopsticks or a fork to separate the noodles.  Cook it for 3 or 4 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Discard the hot water from the pot.  Add cold running water to the pot to rinse the noodles.  Put the noodles in a colander and let it drain well.
  2. If you are using frozen cooked shrimp (which I did), defrost them first.
  3. Cut carrots into thin strips about 3 inches long.  Put it aside.
  4. Peel and cut carrots into thin strips about 3 inches long.  Put it aside.
  5. Cut onion into thin strips, put it aside.
  6. Cut mushrooms into slices, put them aside.
  7. Finely chop garlic and ginger.  Put both aside.
  8. Cut scallions into strips, put them aside.
  9. Cut roast pork into thin strips about 2 inches long, put it aside. I used bacon as substitutes, I cut the bacon into thin strips.
  10. In a small bowl, prepare for the sauce.  Mix oyster sauce, fish sauce, chicken powder, Chinese cooking wine, cornstarch, water and half of the curry powder to the bowl.  Mix them well.  The reason of only adding half of the curry powder is that I wasn’t sure if the curry powder will make the dish too spicy or not.  Different brand of curry powder have different spiciness.  I could add the rest of the curry powder later.
  11. In a large non-stick frying pan or shallow non-stick pan, spray oil to the pan.  Add the roast pork (I added bacon), garlic, ginger, and stir fry for a minute or so.  Add the carrot, celery, onion, and mushroom, and stir fry it for 3 or 4 minutes.  Then add green pepper.  Add a pinch of salt.  Stir fry it for a minute.
  12. Add mei fun to the pot.  Spray or add a little bit more oil.  Mix it well with the ingredients.  Let if cook for couple of minutes.
  13. Add cooked shrimp and pour sauce to the noodles.  Mix it well.  Let it cook for 3 or 4 minutes.  Taste it.  Add a pinch of salt or more curry powder if desired.  Turn off the heat.  Add scallion.  Mix it well.  Serve hot.

I really like this idea of doing some detox for now.  I am really thinking that I should stick with my idea of having no meat for breakfast and lunch for couple of weeks and see if I feel lighter. LOL… I love meat and it is difficult for me to go without meat for a whole day, but I can try having meat once a day.  My coworker has followed some detox diet for 3 weeks or a month, and she lost some weight.  I asked her how many pounds she lost, and she didn’t know.  She said she can tell her clothes were loose.  I wish my clothes were loose.  I gained so much weight (plus didn’t exercise for so long) that last year’s clothes are getting tight 🙁  It would be nice if I could lose a few pounds. Hehehhehe.  I made a no meat version of Shanghai Fried Noodles today. Shanghai Fried Noodles that I tried at some Shanghai restaurants usually have meat in it like pork or chicken.  They were tasty. The only thing that I didn’t like was the amount of oil they used. It felt like they put a cup of oil or so.  These days, I cook everything with spray oil.  You know, every little bit counts 🙂  and I’m desperate to lose weight.  Shanghai style noodles are fresh noodles.  You can get them from the refrigerated section of a Chinese grocery store.  They look like Japanese Udon noodles.   I just added whatever I had at home.  Like fried rice, you can be creative and add whatever ingredients you prefer.  I added some fresh shiitaki mushrooms and chives.  It was pretty yummy 🙂

 

Shanghai noodles. They look like Japanese Udon noodles
Shanghai noodles. They look like Japanese Udon noodles
Add mushroom, onion and garlic first
Add mushroom, onion and garlic first
Add shanghai noddles
Add shanghai noddles
Add seasoning and chives
Add seasoning and chives
A no meat version of Shanghai Noodles
A no meat version of Shanghai Noodles

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Shanghai Noodles, 1 pack about 16 oz
  • Fresh Shiitaki mushrooms, about 10-15 pieces
  • Chives, a handful (sorry, I didn’t measure)
  • Scallion, 2 stalks
  • Onion, 1
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Dark soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Light soy sauce, 1 tsp
  • Water, 1 Tbsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar, 1 tbsp
  • Sesame oil, 1 tsp
  • Salt, a dash

Steps:

  1. Cut onion into strips, put it aside.
  2. Finely chop the garlic, put it aside
  3. Cut chives into 3-inch length long pieces.
  4. Cut shiitaki mushrooms into strips. Put it aside.
  5. In a large frying pan, spray cooking oil.  Use high heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Stir fry it for 2 or 3 minutes.  Add light soy sauce.  Mix it well and fry it for another 2 minutes or so.
  6. Spray a little bit more oil to the pan.  Add noodles.  Fry it for 3 minutes.  Add cooking wine, water, soy sauce and sugar.  Mix it well.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Let it cook for 3 more minutes or cook until the noodles look soft.
  7. Add chives.  Mix it well for 1 minute. Turn off the heat.  Add scallion and sesame oil.  Mix it well.  Serve hot.

Someone I know at work was posting a bunch of pictures of veggies on facebook.  He has started a detox diet.  I was like ok, that sounded good. But I don’t really like uncooked veggie or salad much.  I’m not a rabbit. LOL.  But I could make something with no meat for a change.  I could skip meat for breakfast and lunch, and that would be my own detox diet for now 🙂  I had a piece of whole wheat bread for breakfast with a little bit peanut butter and a tea.  For lunch, I made Fried Tofu Cellophane Noodle Soup with Chinese bok choy.  I used to get this from a Shanghai style restaurant in the morning, and that was one of my favorite breakfasts growing up.  It was simple and comforting.  It’s amazing how the combination of the ingredients turns out to be yummy.  Fried tofu doesn’t have much taste.  Cellophane noodle (or clear noodle) does not have any taste either.  Same thing for the bok choy, almost tasteless.  All these things just absorb whatever the taste of broth or soup.  It’s a very subtle dish.  I added a few dried shrimps to add some taste.  It was yummy.  If you skip the dried shrimp, that’s totally vegetarian.  Besides, the cellophane noodles have lower calories than egg noodles.  I’m going to try this no-meat-breakfast-and-lunch for a week, and see if I look leaner.  LOL.  Oh I forgot to mention that this is super easy to make. It only takes about 15 mins or so, can’t beat that!

 

Cellophane noodle
Cellophane noodle
Fried tofu
Fried tofu
Dried shrimp
Dried shrimp
Add everything except the veggie to the pot
Add everything except the veggie to the pot
Fried Tofu Noodle Soup with Dried Shrimp
Fried Tofu Noodle Soup with Dried Shrimp

Ingredients (Serve 1):

  • Cellophane noodle, 1 small pack
  • Fried tofu, 2 pieces
  • Dried shrimp, a small handful (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Chinese bok choy, 2 or 3 leaves
  • Scallion, 1 stalk
  • Water, 3 cups (you can use chicken stock and skip the chicken powder)
  • Chicken powder, ½ tsp
  • Fish sauce, 1 tsp

 Steps:

  1. Cut Chinese bok choy into edible sizes.  Put it aside.
  2. Cut scallion into small dices.  Put it aside.
  3. Add water to the pot. Add cellophane noodle, dried shrimp, and fried tofu to the pot. Use high heat.  Let it cook for 10 minutes or until the noodle soften and is tender.  The more you cook the cellophane noodle, the more it absorb the water.
  4. Add chicken powder, fish sauce and boy choy to the pot.  Let it cook for couple of minutes.   Taste it.  Add more water or salt if needed.
  5. Turn off the heat.  Add scallion.  Serve hot.

I bought a bunch of stuff from a Chinese grocery this week.  I stopped by the cooked food counter at the store, and got some Chinese roast pork.  I haven’t tried any roast pork in US that is as yummy as the ones I had in Hong Kong.  The ones in Hong Kong are usually caramelized with a thick layer of honey, and the meat was so tasty.  I remember I’ve seen someone made roast pork from scratch once. I visited a friend in Toronto years ago.  We went to my friend’s buddy’s restaurant for dinner.  The owner marinated the boneless pork in some heavy reddish-colored sauce over night.  He pierced one end of the meat pieces on a metal stick.  He started a fire in an open pit at the backyard of his restaurant.  He put a tall hollow cylindrical metal structure over the open pit.  He laid the metal stick (with meat on) on the cylindrical metal structure above the fire. I think this was very clever because the tall structure gave extra height so that the meat didn’t get burned and the heat was trapped inside the cylinder like an oven.  I forgot how long he cooked the meat.  That was the only time I tried freshly cooked roast pork.  It was so yummy..  Some of my friends actually try to make roast pork at home. It was ok, but it was nothing close to the restaurant version.  This is something I would leave it to the professionals.  With all the work that it involved, I rather pay $8 to get a pound of roast pork at the store instead. Hahahhah.  Anyway, roast pork goes very well with rice or noodles and make a simple and yet yummy meal.  I felt like I need to do some work since I already got ready made roast pork. I tried to make the noodles a bit fancier to make up my laziness. LOL.. I learned how to make crispy noodles from a friend’s father.  I saw him made that before. This was my first time imitating what he did. The result was not bad at all.   It did resemble the crispy texture of restaurant version of pan-fried noodles.  Ok, I claimed success in this dish. LOL.

 

Cooked pan-fried style noodles
Cooked pan-fried style noodles
Cook noodles in a frying pan until it turns crispy.
Cook noodles in a frying pan until it turns crispy.
Roast Pork, yum :)
Roast Pork, yum 🙂
Roast Pork with Crispy Noodles
Roast Pork with Crispy Noodles

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Roast Pork, ½ pound (you can get them from a Chinese grocery store, it’s already cooked)
  • Pan-fried style noodles, ½ bag
  • Chinese cabbage, ½ pound (or you can use whatever veggie you prefer)
  • Soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Water, 2 Tbsp
  • Honey, 1 Tbsp
  • Sugar, 1 tsp
  • Garlic, 1 clove

 

Steps:

  1. Let’s mix the sauce first.  Finely chopped garlic.  Put it in a small bowl.  Add soy sauce, oyster sauce, water, honey and sugar.  Mix it well.  Put it aside.
  2. Boil a big pot of water.  Use high heat.  When the water boils, put the noodles in the water. Let it cook for two minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Run the noodles in cold water a few times to get rid of the extra starch.  Drain the noodles well using a colander.
  3. Use a large non-stick frying pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil to the pan.  Lay the noodles flat and in a thin layer evenly.  Let it cook for 3 or 4 minutes.  Use a flat spatula to check if the noodle turns crispy or not. You can use the spatula to press down the noodles to help this process.
  4. When the noodle turn crispy on the bottom.  We can cook the other side.  Before we flip over.  Spray non-stick cooking oil on the noodles first.  The easiest way to flip it over is to use a plate to help.  I put a plate on top the noodles in the pan like covering the noodles in the pan.   Then I hold the frying pan on my right, and my left hand hold the plate tight and strong.  I turn the frying pan over so that the noodles land on the plate of my left hand.  Then I just slide the noodles back to the plate. Hehhehe..
  5. Let the noodles cook for a few minutes on the other side until it is crispy.  Remove the noodles from the frying pan. Put it aside.  I used a pair of scissors to divide the noodles like a pizza.
  6. Then you can stir fry the vegetable on the frying pan.  Just add a little bit of oil, salt and garlic. It would pretty yummy.
  7. Assemble some noodles, some roast pork and some veggie on a serving plate. Drizzle some sauce over the noodles.

The weather is really crazy. It was freezing cold for the few days and all of a sudden it’s warm again.  I was thinking about making Lap Cheong (Chinese Sausage) with Sweet Rice.  But now the weather is so warm, I didn’t feel like having that. I needed something more refreshing.  I made some Chicken Chow Mei Fun.  Mei Fun is rice noodles.  I just found out from the package that they have lower calories than egg noodles.  Ya, I do care about calories these days.  I love mei fun.  It doesn’t matter whether it is Mei Fun in a soup, or Chow (stir fry) Mei Fun.  My favorite is Singapore Mei Fun.  I used to order Chow Mei Fun as lunch when I was in high school.  My good friend ordered the same thing. She munched a little bit, and she was stuffed, and she didn’t plan to finish it.  So, I ate mine, and I ate hers. 😀  I was such a pig back then LOL. I have never resisted any Chow Mei Fun just like I have never resisted any fried chicken in my life. LOL…  I thought Chow Mei Fun was more like a Chinese dish, I was just surprised that a lot of my American friends love Chow Mei Fun too.  My ex coworkers and my ex boss would order House Special Mei Fun whenever we ate in a Chinese take-out place for lunch.  My ex boss said it was a good complete meal because there was some meat, some veggie, and some carbs all in the dish. I totally agreed.  Like fried rice, you can put whatever ingredients you like, and be creative.

NOTE: you can make a vegetarian version if you skip the chicken.  I make this once for my Indian coworkers, they loved it.

    

Mei Fun, about 100 calories per piece
Mei Fun, about 100 calories per piece

 

 

Cook egg first. Then cut it into pieces
Cook egg first. Then cut it into pieces

 

 

Cut Onion, Celery and Carrot into Strips
Cut Onion, Celery and Carrot into Strips Cook chicken, veggie first, then add mei fun
Add Egg back after the mei fun is almost done
Add Egg back after the mei fun is almost done
Chicken Chow Mei Fun
Chicken Chow Mei Fun

Ingredients: 

  • Chicken, 1 pound
  • Onion, 1
  • Celery, about 4 or 5 stalks
  • Carrots, about 4 stalks
  • Mei Fun, 1 pack, about 1 pound
  • Egg, 1
  • Garlic, 2 cloves
  • Scallion, 3 stalks
  • Fish sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Soy Sauce, 1 tsp
  • Oyster sauce, 1 tsp
  • Chinese cooking wine, 1 Tbsp
  • Cornstarch, 1 Tbsp
  • Water, 3 Tbsp

Steps:

  1. Boil a big pot of water. When water boils, put the mei fun in the pot just like cooking any pasta.  Separate the mei fun with a fork or pair of chopsticks.  Let it cook in high heat for 3 mins.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Pour the noodles in a colander, and run it in cold water to get rid of extra starch.  Put it aside and let it drain.
  2. Prepare the sauce first. Put the cornstarch, chinese cooking wine, oyster sauce, fish sauce and water in a bowl. Mix it well. Put it aside.
  3. Cut onion, celery and carrots all into small strips.  Put them aside.
  4. Finely chop the garlic. Put it aside.
  5. Cut scallions into strips. Put it aside.
  6. Cut chicken into small strips, put it in a bowl. Add soy sauce, and mix it well.  Put it aside.
  7. Crack an egg and stir it well like making an omlette.  Put it aside.
  8. Use a non stick frying pan. Add a little of oil. Use high heat.  Add the egg to the pan.  Let it cook untouched for a minute.  Flip it over to the other side and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat. Put the egg on a cutting board, and cut it into small pieces. Put it aside.
  9. Spray a little more oil to the pot. Add chicken to the pot. Use high heat. Stir fry it, and let it cook for couple of minutes. When it is half cooked, add garlic, celery, carrots, and onion to the pot.  Stir fry for a few minutes.
  10. Add the mei fun to the pot.  Add more oil if needed.  Mix it well.  Add the sauce to the mei fun.  Mix it well.  Let it cook for 3 minutes of so.
  11. Add the egg to the pot.  Mix it well.  Taste it. Add a dash of salt if needed.
  12. Add scallion to the pot. Mix it well and turn off the heat immediately.
My little source of evil
My little source of evil

My cat tried so hard to wake me up between 6 am and 7am this morning.  Damn it, it’s Sunday.  I really wish that my cat knows it’s Sunday, not Monday, and I don’t need to get up so early.  Besides, my body didn’t want to get up.  I played golf yesterday.  I haven’t moved that much for a long time.  My body is really sore.  I finally woke up at 7am.  I gave my cat his food and water.  I made Chicken Congee for breakfast, did a load of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, and I talked to a friend on the phone.  Actually, not a bad thing to get up early.   I got a lot done before noon.  My friend was telling me that her nutritionist told her that she needs to lose weight.  Her nutritionist said her ideal weight is 111 pounds. I’m like WHAT???  She’s 5’4″.  I don’t know how much I weigh since I got too scared to step on the scale.  But my clothes don’t lie, they are getting tight.  Some people may let themselves buy bigger size clothes.  I refuse to do that.  I usually go to McDonald for my Sunday lunch, and ordered a grilled chicken sandwich combo with supersize fries!  But today, I stayed at home and made a very simple lunch.  I had Choy Sum with Oyster Sauce, and some noodles.  Choy Sum is a very common Chinese vegetable.   I like it a lot.  You can stir fry it with some garlic sauce and salt, and it would be very yummy.  Or you can cook it in boiling water, drain, and add oyster sauce to it.  I choice the latter to cut down the oil.  I cooked some noodles to go along with it.  The noodles was about 200 calories.  So I think my whole lunch was probably like 300-350 calories or so.  I can deal with that.

Choy Sum
Choy Sum
Cook Choy Sum in boiling water
Cook Choy Sum in boiling water
1 pack of dried egg noodle
1 pack of dried egg noodle
Cook noodles
Cook noodles
Choy Sum with Oyster Sauce and Egg Noodles
Choy Sum with Oyster Sauce and Egg Noodles

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • Choy Sum, two small bunches (like two handfuls, or 4-5 stalks per person)
  • Dried noodle, 2 packs (1 per person for small serving portion)
  • Oyster Sauce, 2 Tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 2 tsp
  • Sesame oil, a few drops (Optional, I didn’t use it)

Steps:

  1. We need to wash the vegetable first. It’s important. You don’t want to have Choy Sum and Dirt Sauce… hehhehe…  Fill up a pot of container with cold water, soak the Choy Sum in the water.  Shake it a little bit.  Disgard the water.  Repeat it for one more time.  Drain the vegetable. Put it aside.
  2. Boil a big pot of water.  Use high heat.  When the water boils, put the vegetable in the pot.  Let it cook for 2 or 3 mins. You can put a teaspoon of oil in the water. I skipped this to cut back the fat.   Turn off the heat.  Remove the vegetable and put it on a serving plate.  Drain a little bit to get rid of any excess water in the vegetable.
  3. Use a pair of scissors, cut the vegetables into halves length-wise.
  4. Now cook the noodles. I don’t mind putting the noodles in the same pot of water since it is only veggie.  You can boil a separate pot of water if you prefer.  Turn the heat to high.  When the water boils, put the dried noodles in the pot.  Use a fork to separate the noodles in the pot.  Let it cook for 3 minutes or so.  Turn off the heat.  Disgard the water.  Put noodles in a drainer.  Run the noodles under cold tap water to get rid of the starchy taste.  Drain well.
  5. Put the noodles in a serving plate.  Put it in the microwave for 1 minute to heat it up a bit.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the oyster sauce with soy sauce.  Pour it over the vegetable and noodles. 
  7. Optionally, add a few drops of sesame oil to the noodles. I skipped this too since I am totally cutting back on any oil for this lunch.

I was staying up late last night doing my school work.  I had my TV on, and I was flipping channels.  I came across a show on TLC called “Hoarding Buried Alive”.  I cannot imagine how people can bury themselves literally with tons and tons of stuff.  The whole house was like a storage room.  A psychologist was there to help them.  It turns out that people were holding on and keep piling up stuff because every item represents a piece of memory to them.  It’s hard to let go a part of the memory.  I guess people use different ways to hold on to their memory.  For me, I’m not super neat, but I don’t pile up junk either.  Instead, I associate food with people, memory, all the good and bad times of my life.  A lot of food I like may not really taste super yummy, but it is the memory I associate with it that makes the food special.  Here is one of them – Cheung Fan, some kind of rice noodle that you can order at a Chinese Dim Sum restaurant.  The noodle itself doesn’t have much taste.  When you mix it with soy sauce, hoisin sauce and hot sauce, it would be yummy.  There was a street vendor near to my house when I was kid.  They sold breakfast food including Cheung Fan, Chinese Donut Sticks, Congee in the morning.  Mom would ask me to get some Cheung Fan, and Congee for breakfast. Usually there were like 10 or so people waiting in line to get them. I saw the owner put a thick, white, glue-looking mixing on a flat pan to make a thin layer.  Then he quickly put a cover on top.  After a few seconds, the white mixture was steamed.  It turned into a big flat piece of noodle.  He would cut it into 3 pieces, then quickly roll each piece into a long roll.  This whole process happened so fast.  I loved watching how the noodles were made and how fast the guy could do it.  He passed the rolls of noodles to his wife who took care of the customer’s orders.  She would hold a few rolls in her hand, use a pair of scissors and cut them into edible size like 2 inches long.  Put the noodles on a piece of non-stick paper or so, and sprinkled quickly some dark soy sauce, put some hoisin sauce and hot sauce on one corner, and then she put the whole thing in a small white plastic bag.  The noodles were soft and melt in my mouth. It was one of my favorite breakfast.

Of course, now we don’t have any street vendors making fresh Cheung Fan in US.  I can only buy a bag of ready-made Cheung Fan from the refridgerated section of a Chinese grocery store.  They were nowhere as good, but it was the memory that it reminded me that left a warm feeling.

 

Ready-made Cheung Fan. You can get it from a Chinese Grocery Store
Ready-made Cheung Fan. You can get it from a Chinese Grocery Store
Put a wet paper towel on top, and microwave it for 1 min
Put a wet paper towel on top, and microwave it for 1 min
Pan fry the Cheung Fan just like what they do in Dim Sum restaurants
Pan fry the Cheung Fan just like what they do in Dim Sum restaurants
 

 

Cheung Fan with Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce
Cheung Fan with Soy Sauce and Hoisin Sauce

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Cheung Fan.  You can get it from the refridgerated section of a Chinese grocery store.
  • Dark soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • Hoisin sauce, 1 tsp
  • Hot sauce, 1 tsp (optional if you like it spicy)

Steps:

  1. Put the noodles on a plate.  Since they were refridgerated before, the noodles became harder and all turned into a big lump. It’s OK.  We’ll untangle them. Wet a piece of paper towel.  Put the wet paper towel on top of the noodles.   Then put it in a microwave on high temperature for 1 minute.  This will make the noodles softer.
  2. Break the noodles by hand. Be careful, some part of the noodles could be hot.  Use a pair of scissors and cut the noodles into edible size like 3 inches long.
  3. Use a large non-stick frying pan.  Spray non-stick cooking oil to the pan.  Put the noodles in the pan.  Spread them out in one layer.
  4. Use medium heat.  Let the noodles cook for 2 minute or so.  Don’t touch it. This is not a stir fry dish.
  5. Flip the noodles over to the other side.  Cook them for another 2 mins or so or until the noodles are soft.
  6. Put them on a plate.
  7. For the sauce, you can pre-mix the sauce together like I did, or you can add the soy sauce first, then put hoisin sauce and hot sauce on the side.
February 13, 2010

I didn’t really feel like making anything fancy for tonight.  I wanted to make a simple meal, non-fattening, and yet fill me up.  And the most important thing, I didn’t want to wash a lot of dishes and utensils. LOL.  American Idol was on tonight, I had to make sure I got dinner and finished cleaning before the show started.  Plus, I have to do school work after that.  My assignment is due tomorrow and I haven’t even started.  I got some frozen shrimps that I cleaned the other day, udon noodles, veggies and some dried mushrooms. I could pull off a simple meal.

 

Japanese Dried Seaweed
Japanese Dried Seaweed

 

Seafood Udon Noodle Soup
Seafood Udon Noodle Soup

Ingredients (serves 2-3):

  1. Shrimp, shelled and devined, 1 pound
  2. Chinese bok choy, 4 leaves
  3. Dried (or fresh) Shaiitake mushrooms, whole or pre-sliced, a handful
  4. Udon noodles 3 packs (1 pack for regular serving. Guys may need 1.5-2 packs each).  Each pack of udon should come with a seasoning pack. 
  5. Dried seaweed, a handful.
  6. Scallion, 2 stems
  7. Water, 9 cups

Steps:

  1. Shell, devine shrimp. Put it aside.
  2. If you are using whole dried shaiitaki mushroom, soak it in warm water for 20 minutes or so. Then slice it thinly.  If you are using pre-sliced dried mushroom, no soaking is needed as it is pretty thinly sliced.  If you are using whole fresh mushroom, slice it in thin pieces.
  3. Cut bok choy into bite size pieces.  Put it aside.
  4. Cut scallion into small pieces. Put it aside.
  5. Squash or squeeze each pack of udon noodle while it is in its package. This could help to separate the noodle before you cook it.
  6. Use a  big pot, boil 8 cups of water. Use high heat.
  7. When the water boils, put the shrimp in.  Cook it for 2 mins or until it is cook.  Don’t over cook the shrimp, or it would get rubbery.  Remove the shrimp from the pot.  Leave the water in the pot. This would be great stock for the soup.
  8. If you are using dried mushrooms, add them to the pot and let them cook for 5 mins.
  9. Add noodles to the pot.  When the water boils, let it cook for another 2 mins.  Turn off the heat.
  10. Remove the noodles from the pot. Distribute them into serving bowls. 
  11. Put scallion pieces into each serving bowl.
  12. Turn the heat back on to high, bring it back to a boil.  Add bok choy, seaweed and the seasoning pack that come with the udon.  Cook it for another 2 minutes. 
  13. Taste it. Add a dash of salt if needed. Or add more water if it is too salty for your taste.