Pian Er Chuan Mian (I can't decipher the meaning) is a popular noodle dish in Hangzhou, China and I've always wanted to make it but I couldn't get hold of yellow chives, fresh winter bamboo shoots and fresh straw mushrooms at the same time. With Chinese New Year a month from now, most supermarkets are stocking their shelves with Chinese goods, including veggies. Thai Seng next to Kian Kok School is busy with shoppers and I enjoy going there for Chinese veggies such as lotus roots, sweet pea sprouts and kailan stems. Sometimes they even bring in yellow chives, a very fragile veggie that wilts and sweats almost as soon as it is unpacked from the box. I think yellow chives are grown the same way as white asparagus, that is, without sunlight and so both the green and yellow/white variety are the same specie. Tastewise, yellow chives are sweeter than ordinary green chives and more tender. Chinese chives, btw, are not the same as western chives. Chinese chives are flat-bladed and have a strong garlicky smell, and are even more pungent than green Chinese chives.
Right. To make this noodle dish, you need the following ingredients:
Upper row, left to right: straw mushrooms, yellow chives, fresh wheat noodles.
Lower row, left to right: pork, Chinese ham, xue cai, fresh bamboo shoots.
The noodles are fresh wheat noodles, much like ramen noodles. Do not use Cantonese wonton noodles or local oily wheat noodles. This is one tasty noodles dish, especially with some thick chili oil paste.
Hangzhou Pian Er Chuan Mian (serves 4 or more)
500g fresh wheat noodles
300g lean pork, in thin slices
150g fresh straw mushrooms, sliced into two or three slices
150g xue cai ("snow veggie", a preserved veggie)
100g fresh winter bamboo, in thin slices
30g Chinese ham, in thin slices
10 cups chicken or pork stock
2 T lard + 2 T veg oil
salt and white pepper to taste
1. Marinade the pork with 1 T light soy sauce, 1 t corn starch, 1 T water & 1/2 t sugar for about 1 hour. Fry the pork in 1 T veg oil until just cooked. You can do this ahead.
2. Simmer the stock with the ham in a covered pot for about 1/2 hour. Top up the stock if it is reduced. This can also be done ahead.
3. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the noodles, stirring well to loosen the strands and cook evenly. (While noodles are cooking, keep the soup simmering in another pot.) Check by breaking a strand of noodle with your fingernails. The noodles are cooked when there's no white uncooked dough in the center. Do not overcook. Drain the noodles.
4. Heat up a wok, add the lard and oil and fry the xue cai, mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Add the stock and season with 1 T rice wine/ Shaoxin wine and salt and white pepper to taste. Bring to a rolling boil and add the chives. Turn the heat off.
5. You can serve the noodles in individual bowls or in one big pot, adding the boiling soup to the noodles in the bowls or pot. Serve immediately.