Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wok Crazy

Wok Like Crazy

or San Choy Bau with Noodles

It’s been a whirlwind week!  Wok Crazy Class at Spartan Stores, a private dinner/iron chef competition, and I’m working on my new business cards!  Oh, and my full time Sous Chef job at Creative Dining Services!

I’m going to focus on my Wok Class, I had a varied group of culinarians in the classroom at Spartan Stores this week, from first timers to veterans, some who had a wee bit of cooking chops, and some that had none.  My friend here had lots of experience!


It’s always fun when you try and herd 20 potential chef’s and home cooks in a small environment, but we have learned how to do it well over the last 5 or so years.  Everything from  “well it says simmer on the  button, doesn’t that mean it’s simmering?” to how many rice papers can I soak at one time, and what are prawns?  (shrimp).”


We get all kinds of questions, and answer all kinds, and offer advice, shortcuts and suggestions. 

My mantra in this class like setting: “there are no mistakes, only opportunities to create new recipes!” This usually settles the group down, and they begin to smile. We had so much fun food, but I think my favorite was the San Choy Bau with noodles. The noodles made it fun! We didn’t have the lettuce to make “lettuce cups” that sometimes happens, produce can be tricky and we only want to use the best, so we made it platter style. The fried vermicelli noodles made the dish festive. I hope you like the recipe.

 San Choy Bau with Noodles

1lb raw prawns

vegetable oil for deep frying

3 ½ oz dried rice vermicelli *

¼ cup chicken stock

2 tablespoons rice Wine

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown bean sauce

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

½ teaspoon sugar

peanut oil as needed

1 garlic clove crushed

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger

3 scallions, thinly sliced and green ends reserved to garnish

6 ounces minced pork**

12 iceberg lettuce leaves, trimmed into neat cups


Serves 6


Peel the prawns and gently pull out the dark vein from each prawn back and roughly chop


Fill a deep heavy based saucepan  or deep fryer one third full of peanut oil and heat to 325 degrees or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 20 seconds.  Add the dried rice vermicelli to the oil in batches and deep fry until puffed up but not browned.  This will take only a few seconds, so watch closely.  Remove using a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels.


Stir Fry sauce:  Combine chicken stock, rice wine, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, brown bean sauce, sugar and ½ teaspoon salt in a small bowl and combine.


Heat the peanut oil in a wok over high heat and swirl to coat.  Add the garlic, ginger, and spring onion and stir fry for 1 minute, being very careful not to burn the garlic.


Add the pork to the wok, breaking up the lumps with the back of a wooden spoon and cook for about 4 minutes, then add the shrimp and cook until the shrimp turn lightly pink, about 2 minutes.


Add the stir fry sauce and stir until combined, cook over high heat for 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly.


Divide the noodles among the lettuce cups, spoon the pork and prawn mixture over the noodles and garnish with the reserved spring onion.  Service at once


·          make sure the pork mince is not to lean or the mixture will be dry, you need some fat to make this dish work well.

When deep frying the vermicelli, take care not to allow the oil to become to hot as the vermicelli will burn.

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