My father and I have always been great food partners, and we have always had a love for eating out. This is in memory of an unforgettable meal I had at one of his friend’s place. The family which I am talking about shifted to Canada in 2001 and I have not seen them since. However, I miss them and the time I spent with them growing up.
The cold strikes my face first as I get out of my house, and hold my father’s hand as we walk over to the nearest bus stop. Our destination is a Chinese home a few stops away, and Mr, and Mrs. L and her son, W, waits for us. W is much older than me, a sixteen-year old, and I am quite in awe of him because he makes flowers out of paper, and sketches my face on a paper in quick, efficient strokes within minutes.
The meal has only two more dishes. Mrs. L had promised to cook us steamed fish, and she brings it to the table. She does not eat with the rest of us, rather hovers over us like the good hostess she is while we eat. The steamed fish is covered with cilantro leaves and it is swept aside to reveal pale, soft flesh which parts easily. I flake the fish with my chopsticks and add a drizzle of the jus over my rice and gorge.
The recipe I am sharing with you is called Yam Mien. It is made simply by tossing some noodles with spring onions, mustard greens, a basic sauce, in some fat. Mostly, I like using pig fat, but oil works too. To make it, cook 100 gm. noodles in water till they are mostly cooked. I have used Ramen noodles for quick cooking (minus the spicy taste maker it comes with), but slightly thick noodles will do better, actually. Combine together 2 tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (Shao Xing Wine, also, this is optional), 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 2 tablespoon water together.
Heat 2 tablespoon cooking oil in a wok, add a handful of the white parts of chopped scallion, 6-7 cloves of garlic, and stir well to combine. Add the soy sauce-vinegar mixture, and follow with the noodles. Stir well till everything is heated up. Add a handful of chopped Mustard Greens (or spinach), a handful of chopped scallion greens, and a pinch of pepper if you like. Check for salt, add a bit more if needed, and serve with some more chopped scallions on top. You can add cooked chicken, prawns, or fried and shredded eggs while adding the noodles too but I like this mostly with fried egg, and some chillies pickled in vinegar on top of it.
Gong Xi Fa Cai. It is the Year of the Horse, and have a great one.