Friday, October 20, 2006

Mee pok culture

Where can you get bak chor mee in California ? For sure (almost), you have to cook it !

Vinegar is used to accent meat-based noodle dishes in both Italy and China, plus...Italian balsamic and Chinese black rice vinegars are surprisingly similar in taste!

FUSION...this pasta a la bak chor mee I've made an attempt to, is inspired by both cuisines.

Pasta a la bak chor mee (serves 4)
-linguine or other long pasta you wish
-~1lb minced pork
-10-15 caps shitake mushrooms, julienned
-2 tbsp EVOO
-1 tbsp red chilli pepper flakes
-3 gloves garlic, finely minced
-chinese black rice vinegar, to taste
-dark soy sauce, to taste
-salt and back pepper, to taste
-fried shallots, garnish

1.Bring a large pot of water to boil, add pasta and a large pince of salt, return to boil and cook
2.Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in large frying pan, fry shallots till light brown
3.Remove shallots from pan, leaving oil in pan
4.Add minced meat, fry for 3-4 mins, add dark soy sauce, stirring and breaking up the meat till browned and fragrant
5.Add shitake mushrooms, lightly fry for 1-2 mins.
6.Add vinegar. If mixture looks dry, add chicken broth/water and let it simmer 2-3 mins
7.When cooked in pan, transfer to a bowl
7.Add EVOO, chilli and garlic to another pan, lightly fry for 1-2 mins
8.When pasta is done, drain well and pour into frying pan containing EVOO, chilli and garlic
9.Add portions of meat, mushroom, some vinegar, salt and peper, and toss well
10.When serving, garnish with shallots and top with remaining portions of meat and mushroom

Read this snippet while I... *slUrrp...sWoorpp...slUrrp...sWoorpp*
Mee pok is a type of Chinese noodle that is flat and yellow, often varying in thickness and width. Most hawker stalls (Singapore, Malaysia) mee pok come in two variants- fish ball mee pok (hee wan mee), and minced meat mushroom mee pok (bak chor mee).

The sauce in which you toss the noodles is an important aspect of the dish, and is often considered a representation of the cook's skill and experience. The importance of the sauce in mee pok can be thought of similarly as the sauces that accompany pasta. The sauce consists of four components: chilli, oil, vinegar and other condiments such as soy sauce and pepper.

Chili, that's what sets a good mee pok apart from a bad one, some may say. Oil is also essential for ensuring good smooth texture in the noodles. Traditionally, the oil from frying lard is used, together with the deep fried cubes of lard. However, vegetable oil is sometimes used as a healthier version, though at the expense of taste. So now, who cares about THE healthier version when you head for hawker food. I love mine with those deep fried cubes of lard, I tell ya. Vinegar is added for an added sourness, and used more extensively if it's Teochew-style bak chor mee.

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