Thursday, May 21, 2009

Egg Noodles with Fried Wontons, BBQ Pork & Stir-Fried Baby Bak Choy

In South-East Asia, mainly Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines, street food vendors or better known as hawkers are major purveyors of some of the best-tasting food in those countries. Forget about your 5-star hotels with their high-end restaurants. If you are searching for some of the most delicious food, you need to leave your hotel, go down into the streets and sit with the locals. Experience the myriad aromatic smells of the various types of spices, the almost unbearable humidity and best of all, eat food that would make your taste buds jump into overdrive. Fans of the Travel Channel's food shows, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations would know what I mean.

One of the more popular street food in Malaysia is Wonton Noodles or sometimes also known locally by its nickname, "tok-tok mee." "Mee" in the local language means noodles and "tok-tok" is actually the sound that the hawker makes by hitting two small pieces of bamboo together to attract customers. So, as you can imagine, like Pavlov's dog, whenever I hear that distinct clanging sound, my mouth starts salivating!

This dish has several components to it and is really not as hard to make, just time consuming. They include the fried wontons, the BBQ pork, the baby bak choy and the noodles. All the ingredients used here should be readily available at your local Asian grocery store. They include yellow egg noodles, wonton wrappers, sweet soy sauce, sesame oil and hoisin sauce.

The filling for the wonton is made up of pork, shrimp, carrots, onions, garlic, soy sauce and pepper. Puree all these ingredients in a blender and place a tiny dollop in the middle of the wonton wrapper. These wrappers come in two shapes, round and square and either one is fine. Fold all sides into the middle and pinch them together. If they don't stay closed, wet a finger with water and moisten the tips and press them together again. Repeat for however many wontons you wish to make. Heat up a pot of oil and start deep-frying them until golden brown and then set them aside to cool down.

Next, let's work on the BBQ pork. First, marinate the pork fillets in the sweet soy sauce, 5-spice powder, pepper and set aside for an hour or so. Get a pan hot and pan roast the fillets until done. Finish it up by glazing the pork with honey to get the sweet BBQ flavor.

Now, let's move on to the baby bak choy. Stir-frying it is easy. Get a pan hot with some oil. Sautee some garlic and shallots until they start to turn slightly brown, then add the baby bak choy together with a little oyster sauce. Cover the pan with a lid a a couple of minutes and the vegetable is done.

Finally, the egg noodles. Get a pot of water boiling and place the still-crunchy noodles in the pot to rehydrate and soften. When it is not crunchy anymore, toss it with some sweet soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sesame oil.

Now, you are ready to assemble this dish. Arrange everything on the plate and drizzle some sesame oil on the bak choy. Also, shake some black pepper onto all the components on the plate and finally, garnish wtih some julienned scallions. And there you have, a delicious meal that is sure to wow your guests or even your own spouse!

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