Aug 26 2008
A very interesting fact about noodle is that it has been related to chinesse cuisine since a very-very long time or I can say since the ancient time. I’ve been searching about the history of noodle and chowmein and interestingly nobody knows how this noodle began and who was the first person who made it.
I found some interesting definitions and comments about noodle / mein from this site http://www.foodtimeline.org :
“Chow mein is related to and takes its name from “chao mian,” a Chinese dish consisting of previously boiled noodles stirfried with meat and vegetables. There is, however, an important difference. In chow mein the noodles are deep fried in bundles, which are crisp and brittle when they emerge; whereas in the Chinese dish the noodles are soft.”
—Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 183)
A Chinese-American dish made of stewed vegetables and meat with fried noodles. The term comes from Mandarin Chinese ch’ao mien’, “fried noodles,” and probably was brought to the United States by Chinese cooks serving the workers on the western railroads in the 1850s. The word first appears in print in 1900. Although most chow mein bears scant resemblance to true Mandarin cooking, it has become a staple in Chinese-American restaurants…Owing to its inexpensive ingredients, chow mein has long been a lunch dish in American school cafeterias.”
—Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, John F. Mariani [Lebhar-Friedman:New York] 1999 (p. 83)
“If chop suey was…Chinese food for the American masses, chow mein was a dish for gourmets. Hard as it is to believe for those of us who have only eaten the horrid frozen or canned chow mein of the messes served under that name in doubtful greasy spoons, properly prepared chow mein can be very good indeed…The key to good chow mein is the noodles. Those nasty deep-fried things tasting of rancid fat that most Americans associate with chow mein are virutally unknown in China. Instead, the Chinese…stir-fry freshly boiled noodles in hot oil until they are crisp on the outside but still beguilingly soft in the center. The hot noodles with their contrasting crisp/soft text ures are then served with a stir-fried mixture of vegetables and strips of meat.”
—Fashionable Food, Sylvia Lovegren (p. 91)
[NOTE: This book as plenty of information on the introduction of Chinese food to America...ask your librarian to help you find a copy.]
“Chow Mein, or “fried noodles,” is a casual dish which calls for parboiled noodles (previously drained dry and chilled) to be cooked with other ingredients, somewhat in the manner of fried rice; that is, the noodles and the other ingredients are fried separately, then combined and cooked until nearly done.”
—Thousand Recipe Chinese Cookbook, Gloria Bley Miller [Grosset & Dunlap:New York] (p. 630-1)
Very interesting, isn’t it? well… whoever inverted this noodle, I couldn’t thankful enough. Noodle can be cooked in many ways. The word chowmein is basically came from two words chow and mein. Chow means fry and mein means noodle. In Indonesian we call chowmein as mie goreng but whatever you call this delicacies, this food is always a favorite wherever you go.
There is no fixed ingredients that you have to mixed with the noodle while cooking chowmein. If you like chicken, you can add pieces of the chicken meat, prawn can also be added, egg, beef, etc. For the vegetables, you can add the cauliflower, carrot, baby corn, onion leaves or any vegetable which you can find in your home.
For this recipe, I used the ingredients which I could find in my refrigerator as working housewife, normally I don’t have so much of time to go to the market to buy vegetables, in fact I go to the market only once in a week.
- 100 grms dried noodles
- 2 pcs cooked ham, normally available in freezed package.
- 1 pcs egg, whisked
- 1/2 bowl chopped cabbage
- 1 pcs carrot, chopped
- 1 pcs chilly
- 1 pcs onion, chopped
- 2 tbs soya sauce
- 1/2 tbs manchester sauce
- Salt to taste
- Food seasoning – optional
How to cook:
- Boil the dried noodles until half done, drain and keep it cool under open air. Keep it for atleast one hour before the cooking. Don’t forget to mix the noodles with 1 tbs oil so the noodles won’t stick to each other.
- Heat 2 tbs oil
- Fry the onion and chilly until brownish
- Fry the ham, if you are using the meat, always fry or cook the meat before adding the vegetable, this is because vegetable cooked faster than the meat
- Add the carrot and fry for about 5 minutes
- Add the cauliflower and stir until it is cooked
- Add the egg and stir to cook the egg into pieces
- Add the noodles and mix
- Add the salt, food seasoning, soya sauce and manchester sauce
- Mix well until the sauces blended well with the noodles
- Serve hot