Greetings from Atlanta! I’m down south for BlogHer Food 2011 and getting ready for two days of panels, talks, and events with plenty of other food bloggers from around the country. I got in a few hours ago, wandered around downtown enjoying the sun, and even managed to find and scarf down some Cajun-Chinese food for lunch. (To be recapped in another post.)
Oh, so you may have noticed the new layout. After 3 1/2 years of blogging on Drupal, I finally made the long-overdue switch to WordPress. I have a feeling this is going to be change my life. Or at least, be a major headache reducer. As flexible as Drupal can be, and as much as tech-savvy folks rave about it, it was not the easiest CMS to work with if all you want to do is blog and not tweak a lot of code. And I sort of really dislike code. I’ve been working with WordPress for only a few days and it already feels way more intuitive…kind of like when I switched from a PC to a Mac in 2005 and never, ever looked back.
(One of the best new additions to the new design is a little Print-Friendly button at the end of each post. Just click on it, and a window sans sidebars will pop up, and you can select which elements you want to keep and delete.)
But more about BlogHer Food and the new layout later. I’m sure you want to hear more about the shrimp lo mein up top. I’ve been cooking a lot of seafood lately, and not just because I’m working on the seafood section of my cookbook. Until recently, I thought my only semi-convenient choices for fresh seafood was either trekking out to Chinatown and carrying seafood home on the subway, or pay ridiculous prices at the Union Market two blocks away. Then I found Ocean Fish Market and Park Slope Seafood on 7th Ave, within a block of each other. If you don’t own a car, being able to buy fresh shrimp, clams, and whole fish at good prices, and toting your seafood home before it gets too warm, is nothing to scoff at.
If you only have about 20 minutes one night to work with seafood, or otherwise just want a one-dish meal, try this shrimp lo mein recipe.
Now, lo mein is often confused with chow mein, and many Chinese restaurants further the confusion by using the two names interchangeably. To be fair, both names do refer to noodles mixed with a savory sauce, vegetables, and some sort of main protein. But chow mein, in the true Cantonese sense, refers to stir-fried or shallow-fried noodles. (“Chow” in Cantonese means stir-fried.) Chow mein noodles on the East Coast, or in more Hong Kong-style eateries, tend to be crispier, whereas chow mein on the West Coast tends to be softer. Lo mein in Cantonese, on the other hand, simply means “stirred noodles”. So the main distinction is that lo mein noodles are fully cooked separately and quickly tossed in the wok to be mixed with the sauce, instead of par-cooked and stir-fried in the wok like chow mein.
My version of shrimp lo mein enhances the seafood flavor of the dish by using clam juice and oyster sauce in the sauce. (You can substitute chicken broth for the clam juice in a pinch, but do try it with clam juice if you can.) Many lo mein recipes also call for vegetables like bean sprouts, water chestnuts, or celery, but I like doing a minimalist dish with just scallions. Try it out with scallions just once, then embellish to your liking. Either way, it’s a hearty noodle dish with all the shrimp and clam flavors to celebrate the beginning of warm weather.
Shrimp Lo Mein
Serves 2 to 3 as a main course
- 10 ounces fresh lo mein noodles, or dry Chinese egg noodles
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced or grated ginger
- 4scallions, shredded
- 1/3 cup clam juice
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add the noodles and cook according to package instructions until al dente, or the minimum amount of time suggested by the package. Drain the noodles, rinse under cold water, and drain again, shaking well to remove excess water. Return the noodles to the original pot, toss with the sesame oil until the noodles are well-coated, and set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine clam juice, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, and honey and set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates contact. Add the peanut or vegetable oil and swirl to coat the base. Add the shrimp and sear until pink on the outside but not fully cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- In the same wok, add the garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir-fry until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Pour in the claim juice mixture. Add the noodles and shrimp and toss until heated through and well-coated with sauce. Transfer to a platter, or divide into individual bowls and plates, and serve.