Ken Hom's Very Sherry Chinese New Year

Published 23 January 2017   by KEN HOM OBE   @ChefKenHom
We welcome the UK's best-known Chinese-food chef, and TV legend, Ken Hom, who shares his favourite Sherry-inspired recipe to celebrate the year of the rooster.

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

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 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

Garnish

  • 3 tablespoons spring onions, finely chopped

The Recipe

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!

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of El Consejo Regulador.
Ken Hom OBE @ChefKenHom
Ken Hom, who resides in France and in Thailand but travels tirelessly all over the world, continues to appear regularly as celebrity chef, write new books and keep an involvement with restaurants worldwide. His recently opened 92-seat MEE restaurant located within the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the city’s first luxury pan-Asian restaurant, has already been awarded one Michelin star less than 12 months since opening. His latest book – Truffles – released in November 2014, is the updated version of his book ‘Truffes’ first written in French in 2000 with Pierre-Jean Pebeyre of France’s legendary Pebeyre truffle family. Never before seen in the UK, it is now published in English, unveiling and dwelling in the mystery of the world’s most sought after scented ingredient, the black truffle, with enticing East-West recipes. The book has just won the Gourmand Award 2014 for ‘Best Mushroom Book’ category – USA. It now goes forward to the Gourmand’s global awards which will be presented in June 2015. Ken Hom he has written 36 books, many translated in more than 16 languages, with a total of 80 books published worldwide in all translated editions. He presented a further five television series – Hot Chefs, Ken Hom’s Hot Wok, Ken Hom’s Foolproof Chinese Cookery, and Travels with a Hot Wok, which attracted millions of viewers. With over eight million woks sold worldwide and with one in seven Britons owing a Ken Hom wok, he also had and continues to have a great impact on the UK economy.
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