Courtesy Joe Ng, executive chef, RedFarm, New York City
E-fu noodles, also called yi mein, are long Cantonese egg noodles that symbolize longevity. They’re a must for Chinese New Year celebrations. This recipe highlights the technique of “velveting,” common in Chinese stir-fries. It creates a silky coating on the meat that also helps seal in its juices.
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons Shaohsing rice wine or dry Sherry
- 6 ounces boneless chicken breast, sliced into strips ¼” thick and 2” long
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1½ ounces dried porcini mushrooms
- 1½ tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 8 ounces e-fu noodles (also called yi mein)
- ½ cup minced onion
- 1½ teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup minced scallion
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- Salt and vegetable oil, as needed
Stir together egg white, wine, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon wine, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add chicken and stir to coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 3 hours.
Cover shiitakes and porcinis with 4 cups boiling water and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the soaking water, and slice the shiitakes into thin strips. Stir together 1⅔ cups reserved mushroom liquid, soy, oyster sauce, sugar, 1 tablespoon wine, and ¾ teaspoon salt, until sugar and salt dissolve. Set aside liquid and mushrooms separately.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add noodles and cook for 90 seconds; they should be completely wilted but still chewy. Remove with tongs or a slotted spoon to a strainer (leave noodle water on stovetop so it continues boiling) and rinse with cold water. Drain well and set aside. In the same boiling water, add chicken and cook, stirring gently to separate pieces, for about a minute, or just until the pieces are no longer pink in the middle. Drain and set aside.
Heat a wok or very large sauté pan over high heat. Add 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, then the reserved mushrooms, onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds, so everything sizzles but doesn’t brown. Add the mushroom liquid and boil until it reduces by about half; this should only take 1-2 minutes. Add noodles and cook, stirring gently to coat with sauce, until noodles are tender and have absorbed most of the liquid, 2-3 minutes. Taste and add salt, sugar, and/or soy, if necessary. Add chicken and butter, stir for about 20 seconds, then add scallion, cilantro, and sesame oil and stir just until butter is fully melted. Serves 4.
Planet Oregon 2017 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley). “This earthy wine from Soter Vineyards has notes of dark cherry and black pepper that complement the flavors of the noodles without being overbearing,” says RedFarm Beverage Director Shawn Chen. “It also has a slight acidity that refreshes the palate.”