Saturday, February 7, 2015

Five Spice Golden Mushroom Corn Noodles










     Saucy Vegetarian Corn Noodles!
     Some people like saucy food and chefs realize this.  Customers that suffer from a shortage of flavor, after eating a diet of plain bland food over a period of time, do have a hard time resisting an extra saucy entrée at a restaurant.  
     Many restaurants offer a few menu items that are on the saucy side.  Some American diner restaurants serve items like an open face sandwich and the plate is flooded with gravy.  Sauce or gravy is a prime source of flavor.  There actually are customers that live to consume excess amounts of sauce.  At Italian restaurants, a customer that cherishes a good tomato sauce really does appreciate seeing extra sauce on the plate.  Any excess tomato sauce on the plate is soaked up with Italian bread and eaten like it is caviar.  
     At a diner restaurant, a gravy fan will ask the waitress for more "gravy mops" when there is extra gravy on the plate.  The customer then swabs up the excess gravy with dinner rolls just like a starving prisoner on Devil's Island that has not had a good meal in years!  

     When a customer mops up the sauce or gravy, till the plate is clean, it can be likened to a nice compliment about the food.  A clean empty plate coming back from the dining room always puts a smile on a chef's face!
     
     In Chinese restaurants, steamed rice or noodles often are the equivalent of a gravy mop.  Customers that cannot get enough sauce in their life will soak up every last bit of sauce on the plate with steamed rice.  Steam buns are another gravy mop option at Chinese restaurants that not every American customer is familiar with.  At casual restaurants in China, customers commonly use steam buns to mop up extra sauce or broth on a plate.  

     *This entire recipe yields 1 entrée!

     Golden Mushrooms:
     Dried Golden Mushrooms are Dried Wild Enoki Mushrooms.  Wild Enoki Mushrooms have a darker color and stronger flavor than farm raised pale White Enoki.  Wild Enoki also have more antioxidant medicinal value and nutritional value.  Dried Golden Mushrooms impart a golden color to the sauce or broth that they are simmered in.  
     Dried Golden Mushrooms can be found in Asian food markets.  Dried Golden Mushrooms are usually thoroughly tangled together in a package and they are difficult to separate.  It is best to just try to separate a clump that is the size of a small handful, if one portion is needed.  
     Even though these mushrooms are thinner than straw, they do take some time to reconstitute.  It is best to let dried golden mushrooms soak overnight in a refrigerator.    
     Step 1:  Place 1 clump of dried golden mushrooms in a container.  (about 1 small handful)
     Add 2 cups of water.
     Soak the dried mushrooms overnight in a refrigerator.
     Do not discard the soaking liquid after the golden mushrooms reconstitute.  

     Corn Noodles:
     Chinese Corn Vermicelli can be found in Asian food markets.  Specialty vermicelli noodles like this are usually pre-portioned in individual bundles.
     Boil a pot of water over high heat.
     Add 1 portion of dried corn noodles.
     Stir the noodles occasionally, till they become tender, but not too soft.
     Drain the hot water off of the noodles.
     Place the hot corn noodles in ice water.
     Stir the noodles by hand, till they feel like they have a firm chewy texture.
     Drain the ice water off of the corn noodles.
     Set the corn noodles aside, till they are reheated later in the recipe.

     Five Spice Golden Mushroom Corn Noodles:
     This recipe is saucy.  Vegetarians that relish the thought of mopping up some extra sauce a plate are in luck today!  All I can say is, be sure to have some steam buns or bread on the side to use as vegetarian gravy mops!
     As always, be sure to prepare all ingredients ahead of time when doing stir fry cooking.
     Step 1:  Keep a pot of water boiling on a back-burner, so the corn noodles can be reheated later in the recipe.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan or a mini wok over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 2 whole garlic cloves.
     Sauté the garlic till a few golden brown highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of thin sliced carrot dimes.  
     Add 1/4 cup of thin half moon shaped slices of daikon radish.
     Add 2 slices of onion that are about 3/16" thick.
     Briefly sauté, till the vegetables just start to become tender.  Try not to brown the vegetables.
     Step 4:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger paste.
     Sauté for a few seconds, till the ginger becomes aromatic.
     Step 5:  Add the reserved 2 cups of golden mushroom soaking liquid and the reconstituted golden mushrooms.
     Add 1 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of pure sesame oil.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of coarsely ground Szechuan pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of white pepper.
     Add 2 pinches of Chinese five spice powder.
     Add sea salt.
     Step 6:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Add just enough corn starch slurry to thicken the sauce to a medium thin consistency, while gently stirring.  (Try not to break up the fragile golden mushrooms.) 
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 thin bias sliced green onion.
     Step 8:  Place the corn noodles in a pasta net and reheat them in the boiling water.
     Place the noodles on an oval plate.  (Use long kitchen chopsticks or a straight tine carving fork to spin the noodles, so they coil across the length of the plate.)
     Step 9:  Remove the pan with the sauce from the heat. 
     Use tongs or long chopsticks to gather the golden mushrooms from the sauce and mound them on top of the corn noodles. 
     Use a spoon to place the rest of the ingredients and the sauce on the plate around the noodles.
     Spoon a little bit of sauce over the golden mushrooms and the corn noodles. 
     Garnish the plate with cilantro leaves.

     Even though the five spice golden mushroom sauce is made in less than ten minutes, the sauce tastes rich and savory!  

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