Thursday, February 03, 2011

Happy Chinese New Year! Shrimp Toast and Cold Sesame Noodles

We'll be celebrating the ringing in of the Year of the Rabbit with these two dishes that are favorites of mine when I'm in New York having my obligatory Chinese food meals. Unfortunately, I've not found many places here in Texas that prepare them. No worries....I make them myself.

Cold Sesame Noodles
Recipe courtesy Andrea Immer.
WARNING: This recipe makes A LOT! Think about halving it, or be ready for lots of wonderful leftovers.

1 lb. spaghetti (or vermicelli)
3 T soy sauce
2 T rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 T packed packed brown sugar
1/2 cup smooth unsweetened peanut butter (or crunchy if you want the texture)
2 T toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and simmer over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly and toss sauce with cooled cooked pasta. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

I garnish with chopped green onions and a little grated carrot. If you'd like, add some slices of simply poached chicken breast or a couple of cooked shrimp on top.

Shrimp Toast
Adapted from The Ultimate Shrimp Book.

1/2 cup Japanese panko bread crumbs (or plain dry bread crumbs)
8 cups plus 1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 pound small uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 egg white
2 teaspoons minced ginger
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
4 slices dense white bread (a la Pepperidge Farm), crusts removed

Heat 8 cups of oil in large saucepan or electric deep fryer. (I love my deep fryer. Get one if you don't have one.)

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon oil, shrimp, egg white, ginger, soy sauce, and garlic in food processor. Process until a smooth paste is formed.

Divide paste among four slices of bread and spread evenly to edges. Cut each slice diagonally into four triangles.

Dip each triangle, shrimp side down, into bread crumbs. Press bread crumbs in gently so they adhere to toasts.

Fry in hot oil until golden brown, about two minutes each side, turning once or twice.

Remove toasts and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.

These are great with duck sauce or a little hot Chinese mustard.

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