Joyful Noodle Baskets will elevate your culinary prowess to restaurant style status! Chinese New Year is full of symbolic beliefs when it concerns festive dishes and ingredients. Interestingly, Chinese believe that noodles are symbols of longevity. Hence, making them in baskets will ensure a “continuously smooth and joyous long life”. Fill homemade crispy noodle baskets with “happy” pistachios, “lucky” pineapple and “abundant” chicken plus fresh mushrooms. Then, wok fry these ingredients in a delicious savory sauce. Finally, toss in splashes of colour with orange toned firm fruits like fresh peaches, rock melon or even papaya for a local touch.
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3 pieces of air dried noodles
pinch of salt and pepper
1 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch
cooking oil for deep frying
1 Large Chicken Leg (drumstick & thigh) deskined and deboned, cut into 2cm cubes
200g of chicken breast meat, deskinned. Cut into 2cm cubes
2 tsp of light soy sauce
1/2 tsp of sugar
Dash of white pepper
2 tsp of oyster sauce
1 tbsp of cornstarch
1 tbsp of water
3 tbsp of cooking oil
2 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 diced medium rock melon/fresh peaches/papaya
1 cup of fresh or canned pineapple, drained well
1 cup of fresh button mushrooms, quartered
1 cup of shelled. unsalted pistachios, lightly toasted
1/4 Cup of Water
1 tsp of White Vinegar
1 tsp of Light Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp of chicken stock powder
1 tsp of sugar
1 tsp of cornstarch
1 tsp of sesame oil
dash of white pepper
1. For noodle baskets, cook dried noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain well in a colander. Toss with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
2. Transfer noodles to a large plate and toss with cornstarch. Divide into 6 portions. Heat sufficient oil in a wok for deep frying. Dip 2 10 cm strainers briefly in the hot oil and drain. Arrange 1 portion noodles in one strainer. Press down firmly with the second strainer.
3. Deep fry noodle basket within the strainers till very light golden. Transfer to a kitchen paper towel. Allow to cool slightly, then remove the top strainer, followed by the bottom strainer. Set the basket aside. Repeat with the other 5 noodle portions. Remember to dip the strainers in hot oil each time before filling with noodles.
4. Just before cooking filling ingredients, reheat oil for deep frying and fry the baskets again very briefly till just golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels
5. For filling, marinate chicken meat with Marinade A for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
6. Heat oil in wok for deep frying till very hot. Deep fry marinated chicken in 3 separate batches till golden, about 1 minute per batch. Transfer to a large plate.
7. Carefully pour away deep frying oil into a heat proof bowl. Wipe wok with kitchen paper towels, heat till very hot, then heat 3 tbsp fresh oil till almost smoking.
8. Fry garlic slices till fragrant. Be careful not to over brown them. Add chicken meat and fry quickly.
9. Add fruits, mushrooms and pistachios with sauce ingredients. Fry quickly and toss to combine. Do not overcook. Transfer filling to a large plate.
10. Fill the noodle baskets with the filling and serve immediately.
Dipping the strainers in hot oil before filling them with noodles helps the baskets detach easily after frying. For stir frying, always heat your wok till almost smoking before adding oil to ensure you achieve the wok aroma or “wok hei” which is so important for Chinese cooking. To save time, you can marinate the chicken meat before hand, prior to starting the noodle baskets. I prefer to cool the filling on a large plate rather than a bowl so that it does not become watery from too much condensation in a crowded bowl.
Keywords: Joyful Basket Noodles