Sunday, April 10, 2016

Week 11 - Malaysian

We love going out for Malaysian food, but it was challenging figuring out what to make for Week 11 because we didn't have easy access to a lot of the ingredients and didn't have time to get out to Queens just to look for them. Eventually I decided to make mee goreng based on a recipe from Rasa Malaysia, since we really like mee goreng and it had a doable list of ingredients.

I adapted the ingredients list a little bit for what we had and what we could find at the store, so here's what we used:

- 3 bundles of refrigerated Asian style noodles (maybe a little over a lb) ($2.40)
- a tbsp or so of canola oil ($0.20)
- 2 eggs ($0.33)
- 5 cloves of garlic, minced ($0.08)
- a couple cups of bean sprouts ($0.45)
- 1 long Napa cabbage, chopped in rounds and then in half ($1.94)
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped ($3)
- 1 small onion, chopped ($0.21)
- 1 bunch of scallions, about 1/4 of it thinly sliced for garnish and the rest sliced thickly on the diagonal ($0.67)
- 2 tbsp shaoxing wine ($0.10)
- 1/2 tsp white pepper ($0.05)
- fried onion for garnish ($0.30)

For the sauce (all amounts were a slight bit more than what was listed to make sure we had enough once we saw how much other stuff we had):
- 2 tbsp sriracha ($0.15)
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce ($0.10)
- 1 tsp sugar ($0.05)
- pinch of salt ($0.02)
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce ($0.70)
- 3 tbsp ketchup ($0.12)

That added up to approximately $10.87. It did make quite a few servings though, with leftovers for a couple of lunches, so that's not really a bad overall cost.

The steps for making the mee goreng (adapted from the original) were:

1. Prep - chop chicken, onion, garlic, cabbage, scallions, and rinse bean sprouts. Set a large pot of water on the stove to boil.

2. Add oil to wok over high heat and scramble the eggs until they are just setting.

3. During that time, cook the noodles. (Not sure how long since we might have done it a little too long, but even if we didn't, I still don't think it would have had the same texture as what we think of for mee goreng. More on that later.)

4. Add garlic, noodles, bean sprouts, onion, cabbage, chicken, and 3/4 cup of water to wok and stir-fry until everything is cooked.

5. Mix sauce ingredients (A thankfully did this so I could concentrate on the stir-frying) while the ingredients are cooking in the wok.

The stir-frying took much longer than the recipe said it would, but I think that was because we had way more stuff in the wok. For example, instead of 1/2 cup of shredded cabbage, we had 2 bowls. It took a while for everything, especially the chicken to finish cooking. It was worth it though to not skimp on the vegetables as they were the healthiest part of dinner.

6. Once everything is just about done, add the larger amount of scallions (the ones sliced on the diagonal).

7. After stir-frying for a minute or so, add the sauce and stir well. (At this point, our noodle mixture had gotten very thick. These noodles were so starchy that you wouldn't need any corn starch to thicken the sauce at all.)

8. Add shaoxing wine and white pepper, and mix together well.

9. Take off heat and add the remaining scallions.

10. Serve in bowls and add fried onion for garnish.

While this recipe was tasty as an Asian noodle dish, it didn't taste like any mee goreng we'd had before at restaurants. There was just some flavor in those versions that didn't find its way in here. I'm not really sure what that is, but maybe something like squid sauce or fish sauce since that was what was used in a restaurant version of mee goreng we talked about previously on the blog. That said, if you didn't think of it as mee goreng like we know it, but just as some spicy Asian noodles, they were pretty good. We liked the flavors, especially the nice kick to the sauce, and the adjustments I made to add onions, a lot more cabbage, and more scallions gave us a good amount of vegetables to balance out those starchy noodles.

As for the noodles, these are clearly not the noodles you would use for mee goreng but we couldn't find those in the refrigerated case at the Chinese grocery store and I certainly wasn't about to make my own noodles at home. The recipe called for fresh egg noodles, and the ones we got ended up being much thicker and more starchy. I kind of liked the noodles though, and used the rest up in another Asian noodle dish later, this time combining it with the Korean braised tofu from the previous challenge (which I made again; told you I make it a lot). It turned out pretty well there too. I would get the noodles again. I just wouldn't expect them to turn into mee goreng as we know it. All in all, this was a tasty experiment, even if it didn't turn out how we expected.

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