According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit. It began on February 3, 2011 and ends on January 22, 2012. Chinese New Year starts at the second full moon after the Winter Solstice, not January 1.
The Rabbit is considered a lucky sign. According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves. It is believed that to gain the greatest benefit from this time, focus on home, family, security, diplomacy, and your relationships with women and children. So, think mellow thoughts and take advantage of this time to cook at home more.
In honor of the Chinese New Year, I made Longevity Noodles with Chicken, Garlic, and Ginger. They are called longevity noodles because their long length represents longevity and noodles like these are typically served at all occasions that relate to long life. I was born in the Year of the Rabbit, so I thought it was a good idea to make a simple, but lucky dinner.
Longevity Noodles with Chicken, Garlic, and Ginger
Serves 2 to 3
12 - 16 oz thin fresh noodles (I used lo mein)
2 tsp sesame oil
12 oz boneless, skinless chicken breast (or thighs) cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp finely shredded ginger
1 tsp plus 1 Tbsp Chinese rice wine
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp plus 1 Tbsp soy sauce
salt, to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp peanut oil
2 tsp pepper oil, optional
2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 cup fresh shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil over high heat and cook noodles until just done, less than 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
Drain in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool, then shake well to remove water. Return noodles to pot, add sesame oil, and toss.
Put diced chicken in medium bowl and add ginger, 1 tsp rice wine, cornstarch, 1 tsp soy sauce, and salt and pepper. Mix gently to combine.
You don't want much liquid in your stir fry initially, so in a separate bowl combine remaining 1 Tbsp of rice wine and 1 Tbsp soy sauce.
Heat work over high heat until a bead of water evaporates almost on contact. Swirl in 1 Tbsp peanut oil and 1 tsp pepper oil. Add chicken, spreading in a single layer to maximize contact with heated surface of wok. Let it cook undisturbed for about a minute, until chicken begins to sear.
Stir-fry chicken, tossing in the wok, for about 2 more minutes or until just done. Remove the chicken to a clean bowl.
Add cabbage, mushrooms, and garlic, and stir-fry just a minute or so until wilting, but not cooked. Empty the vegetables into the bowl holding the chicken.
Reheat wok, swirl in remaining 1 Tbsp peanut oil and 1 tsp pepper oil, and add noodles. Stir-fry only about 30 seconds, moving constantly to heat through.
Swirl the soy sauce-rice wine mixture and add to wok along with chicken-vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with a dash or two of salt and stir-fry another 2 minutes or until the chicken and vegetables are heated through.
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