Ken Hom's Very Sherry Chinese New Year
A Sherry-inspired Chinese New Year. Hong Kong Style Crispy Noodles by Ken Hom
This noodle dish is a great favourite of many dim-sum diners in Hong Kong and Canton, especially around Chinese New Year. As noodles are a symbol of longevity and as children, we were admonished never to cut our noodles! In fact, I love this dish so much I tend to order it whenever I can or make it myself. It is quite easy. Pan-fried, so that thin, crispy fresh egg noodles are browned on both sides, and then served with a shredded chicken sauce with the added touch of dry sherry to give it a rich flavour, it makes a wonderful finale to any dim sum meal or indeed, any meal.
I have found that dry sherry is the perfect substitute for a Chinese cooking ingredient: Shaoxing rice wine, which can be hard to fine. The fortified nature of Sherry fits into the flavour profile of Chinese dishes and because it is dry, it is not sweet. So I always have a bottle of good dry Sherry in my fridge.
As with noodles in general, this dish is enjoyable anytime and one can see people eating it throughout the day, not just after dim-sum. It combines a crispy texture of the noodles with the softness and blandness of the chicken breasts; in this recipe the chicken is velveted, that is, coated with egg white and cornflour, to keep the meat moist and tender.
The result is a homely dish with a dry Sherry-infused sauce that elevates this dish to a simple culinary delight that is perfect for Sherry inspired Chinese New Year!
Hong Kong Style Crispy Noodles
- 225g (8 oz) boneless chicken breasts, skinned and finely shredded
- 1 egg white
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 225g (8oz) fresh thin Chinese egg noodles
- 3 tablespoons groundnut or vegetable oil
- 300ml (10fl oz) groundnut or vegetable oil or water
- 175g (6oz) fresh bean sprouts
- 2 tablespoons dry Sherry, like Fino or Manzanilla
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- 300ml (10fl oz) chicken ctock, home made or store brought
- 1 tablespoon cornflour mixed with 1½ tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons spring onions, finely chopped
Combine the chicken, egg white, cornflour, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Mix well and leave in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
Blanch the noodles for 2 minutes in a large pot of salted boiling water. Drain them well.
Heat a frying pan until it is hot, add 1½ tablespoons of oil. Then evenly spread the noodles over the surface, turn the heat to low and allow the noodles to slowly brown. This should take about 5 minutes. When the noodles are brown, gently flip them over and brown the other side, adding more oil if needed. When both sides are browned, remove the noodles to a platter and keep warm.
Heat a wok until it is very hot and then add the oil. When the oil is very hot, remove the wok from the heat, and immediately add the chicken shreds, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. When the chicken pieces turn white, about 2 minutes, quickly drain the chicken and all of the oil in a stainless steel colander set in a bowl. Discard the oil.
If you choose to use water instead of oil, bring it to a boil in a saucepan. Remove the saucepan from the heat and immediately add the chicken pieces, stirring vigorously to keep them from sticking. When the chicken pieces turn white, about 2 minutes, quickly drain the chicken and all of the water in a stainless steel colander set in a bowl. Discard the water.
Clean the wok and reheat it over high heat. Now add the bean sprouts, dry sherry, soy sauce, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, add the cornflour mixture. Bring it to a simmer again. Return the chicken to the sauce and give the mixture a few stirs. Pour this over the noodles, garnish with the spring onions and serve at once – with a chilled glass of Sherry too, of course!