Sunday, April 5, 2009

Xia Mi Chong Mien

xia mi mien
Xia mi chong mien, dried shrimps spring onions noodles

It's been so so hot recently. I wish I am in the northern hemisphere, where "spring has sprung" (lifted that from flickr). Don't you think the world is wonderfully made, when you can live half the year enjoying spring and summer in, say, Australia, and then the next half year in, say, Maine, so you always have nice cool days? But how many people can afford to do that? The perfect weather IMHO (thanks, David) is cool days all the year through, no winter or hot sizzling summer days. I wonder if it's true that Kunming in China has spring weather the whole year through. Lucky.

Hub and I don't like eating out, especially lunch. He doesn't like the food outside while I don't like to go out into the hot sun, even if it's a short ride in the car. By the time we park, I'm already exhausted from the sun and glare. Another reason I don't like eating lunch out is because the most common thing served for lunch is noodles. I love soup noodles,but not in 33 C weather. It seems so crazy that we slurp hot soup and noodles in sizzling tropical weather. We should be eating leng mien (cold noodles) like they do in China, Korea and Japan in the summer. A good salad or sandwich isn't easy to find here. Instead we eat piping hot soup noodles meant to be eaten in wintry conditions.

I had to whip up something fast (but not instant minute noodles) for lunch yesterday and there wasn't any time to defrost any meat, so I cooked one of my MIL's standby, xia mi chong mien.

Xia mi chong mien (dried shrimps spring onions noodles) is one of the simplest and cheapest bowl of noodles (instant noodles notwithstanding) you can cook. Any respectable Chinese kitchen should have ingredients such as dried noodles, dried shrimps and spring onions (I have pots of them in my backyard) so count your kitchen disrespectable if you don't have these 3 items. Unless your mom or granny is Shanghainese, chances are you have never heard or eaten this noodle before. In Shanghai, xia mi chong mien is a popular and humble bowl of comfort noodles. My MIL often makes a large bowl of xia mi topping and keeps it in the fridge for the hungry stomachs that drop by her house unannounced. She just needs to boil some noodles, add the topping and some soup and that's one meal. Her soup can be chicken stock or it can be jiang you tang (soy sauce soup), which is a very common home-style quick soup for pot stickers or wontons or noodles in Shanghai. Just throw a splash of light soy sauce, sesame oil, finely cut spring onions and a dash of msg (optional) into a bowl, add boiling water and that's jiang you tang. Xia mi chong mien is not exactly highly nutritious unless you use a home-made stock so I usually have a side dish of blanched greens. Xia mi chong mien is great when you are tired of being a carnivore. Dried shrimps aren't exactly meat are they?

I've had several requests for quick simple meals so this should shut up those who complain that my recipes are 1) complicated 2) costly 3) greasy. Yes, I've been accused of all that. And I haven't even started on my greasy, expensive complicated dishes yet. Like dried oysters wrapped in pig omentum (visceral layer of fat that looks like a piece of netting), something my Dad made once and forever stored in my mind because it was like eating something from an operating room.

xia mi mien 1
Xia Mi Chong Mien

1 cup dried shrimps/xia mi*
2 T garlic, minced
1 cup spring onions, finely diced or in 1 cm lengths
1 T shaoxin wine (optional, I don't add it)
1 t sugar
3 T light soy sauce
1/4 t salt
freshly ground pepper
3 T veg oil

noodles, fresh or dried

*choose dried shrimps that aren't too red. The red ones are usually farmed shrimps.

1. Put xia mi into a bowl, pick out any dirt from the xia mi. Wash it 2 times, then add enough water to cover the xia mi and leave it for 20 minutes. Drain and reserve the soaking liquid. Cut or chop the xia mi until fine, or to your liking.

2. Put oil into a hot wok or frying pan. Add the garlic and dried shrimps and fry over low heat until fragrant and dried, about 5-7 minutes. The longer you fry the xia mi, the better the flavor. The xia mi should be browned and crisped outside.

3. Add the sugar, salt, soy sauce, wine and pepper and continue frying until the shrimps are dry again. Be patient. Now add the spring onions and toss to mix, frying until the spring onions are wilted. Remove into a bowl. You can keep the fried xia mi in the fridge for at least a week.

4. When ready to eat, just boil some noodles, drain and wash off the starch and drain again. Put noodles into serving bowls.

5. Use home-made chicken stock if available, but if not, use Swanson's chicken broth diluted 1 part broth to 1 part water. Add the reserved liquid from soaking the xia mi. When the soup boils, pour enough of the soup into the bowl of noodles to just cover the noodles, top with 2 spoonfuls of fried xia mi. Sprinkle with extra spring onions if like.


TinyTunes said...

Well said. =)

Will try this when I get back to KK,
P/S: Australia's weather aren't really like the one you are imagining... I don't know about other places but Melbourne, O_O terrifying...

It can be sunny at one time, then the next minute the winds would come and the rain would pour like cats and dogs.
Melburnians said Australia's weather is like having 4 seasons in a day.

Precious Pea said...

I would soon need this recipe to warm my body throughout winter.

Anonymous said...

politicians in malaysia need to rot in hell

J2Kfm said...

spring all year? :)
boring, no? hehe ... least we got sun, rain, flash floods, more scorching heat ...

emily.t said...

Ppl actually complain about ur recipes?! U kiddin? Well, I'm definitely not one of them! So, keep more coming!=P

lilblackdots said...

yay..this is so simple..gonna make this tonight..nyum,nyum,can't thank u enuf..:)

deannalee said...

hi terri, keep it going what u have been doing. i m not the one who complained abt yr food. must tell u that i love yr blog!

Anonymous said...

very hungry now...

Lips said...

this looks like the perfect lunch recipe!! what type of noodles do u suggest we use?

terri@adailyobsession said...

mmay: i dunno, ppl tell me tt but i've been there 4 times n never had 4 seasons in one day :) but i hear it's pretty cold now n it's just beginning of fall...

pp: yes, u indeed would need a lot of body-warming food. i hate winter!

anon: hell's too good

j2kfm: i don't need the excitemt of winter. maybe some hot summer days once in a while.many of us just don't realize how lucky we are, living here. but of cos, i love spring n all the flowers ...

emily: not readers, mainly friends :D one friend say: u always deep fry! (huh?) another: can u give simpler recipes? another: smbody said yr recipes r too expensive to cook.

lilblackdots: so how was it??

deannalee:no no, i exaggerated lah. but thanks:)

anon: get off ur butt n cook some now!

lips: u can use fresh wheat noodles (but not wonton noodles) or dried ones like somen.

chumpman said...

This simple noodles remind me of my childhood in Shanghai. My dearest Grandpa likes to cook 'gi tang chong mien' for me over the weekend. Still, it was the most delicious noodles ever, the simple the long lasting.

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