Friday, August 22, 2014

Taiwanese Stir-Fried Rice Noodles (Tsao Mi Fun or Tsa Bihun)

Taiwanese stir-fried rice noodles are a staple in Taiwanese cuisine and my grandmother (Ah-ma) made what I still think, in my totally biased opinion, is the best rendition of this dish, although my mom's does come in at a very close second. The key ingredients, along with the rice noodles, are shredded green cabbage, onion, scallions, garlic, carrots, shiitake mushrooms, dried shrimp, fried shallots, pork, soy sauce, sesame oil and white pepper. My version incorporates all of the traditional ingredients but is less heavy-handed on the oil component.

16 oz. rice noodle sticks (Maifun)
1 lb. boneless pork chops or pork shoulder, cut into thin strips

1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. rice wine
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. sesame oil

1 large carrot, julienned (use a mandolin if you have one)
1 small head of green cabbage, shredded (2-3 cups)
1-2 cups bean sprouts (optional)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
3 scallions, thinly sliced along the bias
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. fried shallots
3 tbsp. dried shrimp
10 dried shiitake mushrooms

3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. white pepper
2 cups reserved shiitake mushroom soaking liquid

Chopped fresh cilantro & scallions
Sriracha or chile-garlic sauce
Black vinegar

1. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl and cover with very hot water. Let soak 20-30 minutes until softened; drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Set aside.

2. In the meantime, place the dried shrimp and shiitake mushrooms in separate bowls, cover with hot water and let soak for 30 minutes or until rehydrated. 

3. Drain and remove the mushrooms to a chopping board (reserve the soaking liquid), cut off the stems, and slice the caps into thin slices. 

4. Drain the shrimp, remove to a chopping board, and coarsely chop. Set aside.

5. Add the marinade ingredients to the pork strips, combine well, cover with plastic wrap and place in the frig for about 30 minutes.

6. Add 3 tbsp. oil to a large wok or sauté pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the pork and continue cooking until the pork is just cooked through, about 3-5 minutes.

7. Add the cabbage, carrots, bean sprouts (if using), scallions, dried shrimp, shiitakes, and fried shallots. Stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the cabbage has started to wilt. 

8. Add 2 cups of the reserved shiitake mushroom soaking liquid, stir well, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with 1 tsp. salt, 3 tbsp. soy, 1 tbsp. sesame oil, and 2 tsp. white pepper and continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated (another 3-5 minutes). 

9. Garnish each serving with a bit of sliced scallion and cilantro, and serve with Sriracha or any other Chinese chile garlic sauce and black vinegar on the side. 

Soak the rice noodles in very hot water for 20-30 minutes or until softened. 

Drain and rinse under cool tap water and set aside.  

Soak shiitakes and dried shrimp in hot water for 30 minutes or until softened. 

Coarsely chopped dried shrimp, sliced scallions, sliced onion, minced garlic and sliced shiitakes (reserve their soaking liquid).  

Thinly shredded green cabbage.  

1 lb. boneless pork chop.  

Marinate the shredded pork with soy, sesame oil, rice wine and cornstarch.  

Julienned carrot.  

Fried shallots, rice noodles, and dried shrimp. The noodles in this box are Thai, but they are identical to the Chinese "Maifun" rice noodles used for this dish.

Saute the onions and garlic in 3 tbsp. of oil over medium high heat.  

Add the pork and sauté until just cooked through.

 Add the cabbage, scallions, carrot, bean sprouts (if using), shiitakes, dried shrimp, and fried shallots. 

Add 2 cups of the reserved shiitake mushroom soaking liquid and bring to a boil.  

After 1-2 minutes, add 1 tsp. salt, 3 tbsp. soy, 1 tbsp. sesame oil, and 2 tsp. white pepper. 

Continue cooking 3-5 minutes or until most of the liquid has boiled off.  

Garnish with sliced scallions and cilantro. 

Serve with Sriracha or any other chile-garlic sauce to your liking and black vinegar on the side. 

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