Saturday, 11 January 2014

Asian, Vegetarian and Completely Contrarian

Cavolini Cinese, Funghi "Shiitake), Germogli di Soia & Tagliatelle Cinese
Chinese Greens, Shiitake Mushrooms, Bean Sprouts and Glass Noodles

Ok- who else in the world could make a delicious vegetarian meal and then sprinkle it with little nuggets of crispy pork fat? Well- that would be me! But that is not the only strange thing about this simple and delicious little meal... let me recount for you how I bought the ingredients for it and maybe it will make sense to you after all...

To be honest, the idea started to take shape whilst I stumbled upon a little jar at Mrs. Wongs stall at the Frankfurt, Kleinmarkthalle today, marked "chili flakes with shrimp"- which sounded rather awesome to me, as I love the rich, shrimp flavor of Thai, "Tom-Yum" soup. The other thing I needed was a new jar of Chinese 5-spice powder, as I had almost run out. And then I saw some little bags with Danish flags on them... containing the most primal of all pub snacks- deep-fried pork scratchings!

Suddenly, the thought of some light, fresh vegetables, seasoned with 5 spice powder, turbo-charged with the chili, made more delicious through the added shrimp flavor flavor and served on a bed of glass noodles sounded very, very good indeed,,,

The great thing about it, is that... well, yes- you guessed it... it is so quick and easy to make! So now you all have 2 good reasons, as well as the taste, that should have you considering making this for yourselves...

The ingredients to make this dish were some lovely, young Chinese greens- I used 3 of them, cut in half , a good handful of bean sprouts, a good handful of fresh Shiitake mushrooms, cut into quarters, a Spring onion, a handful of cilantro and about 1 tablespoons-worth of finely chopped ginger. 

Oh- and don't forget those crispy pork scratchings! Unless of course you happen to be Vegetarian or Vegan! If that is the case, of course my recommendation would be to use chopped salted peanuts- which would be the usual garnish of choice... and obviously don't forget that you will need those glass noodles! Which in fact are the first things that need to be prepared...

Simply take the glass noodles, place them into a bowl and cover them with boiling water- no stove top is necessary- just 5-6 minutes of time for them to soak, swell and to cook perfectly all by themselves!

Next, pop the mushrooms into a very hot pan and toss them around for a minute or so before adding a few splashes of sesame oil. At this point add the finely chopped ginger and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle generously with 5-spice powder, add a splash of water, put the lid onto your frying pan and let them steam for 1-2 minutes until the water has been absorbed.

Now add the greens, a splash of fish sauce, a little more water and cover and steam again for a minute or so. After a minute, add the Spring onion, sliced on the diagonal and the bean sprouts. Season with a light splash of soy sauce, stir through thoroughly, drizzle with a little more sesame oil and again, cover for a minute or so... and believe it or not- that is all you will need to do... for now. Except of course to serve it up quickly!

Serve up the vegetables on a bed of the glass noodles and then sprinkle with the shrimp and chili flakes. These are spicy but not incredibly hot and taste wonderful- especially in combination with vegetables! They are one of my favorite new discoveries already!

Drizzle with oyster sauce, sprinkle generously with lovely, fresh coriander and then with those yummy pork scratchings, which I chopped up into little pieces. Wow! What a cool and delicious combination! The greens, tender and sweet, the mushrooms, rich and juicy, the onion and cilantro refreshing and the pork crunchy and wonderful in contrast and the aromatic oyster sauce, 5-spice and sesame oil to fill these few simple vegetables with rich and delicious flavor... YUM!

Sounds good, doesn't it? And do you know what dear readers... that is because it really IS good! Enjoy!

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