You know those times in life when you realize your idea of something is a complete sham? Well I’ve had a few of those recently, I think this is something that comes with the decade of your 30 somethings.
One sham is that of Chinese American restaurants and learning that the stuff I grew up eating was more American food then Chinese food at all. I watched The search for General Tso and it was a really great documentary about the origins of “Chinese” food in America and how innovative the Chinese immigrants were. Because of prejudice food service was one of the only jobs the Chinese were allowed to do. Did you know that many of these cooks had to be trained in the Americanized Chinese dishes served in restaurants and that many living in China don’t even recognize our beloved take out favs? I knew this to some degree, but didn’t realize how really inauthentic these dishes are, maybe that is the most American thing ever if you think about it. Through innovation and hardship came success ($$$) and popularity, really a great documentary and historic slap to the brain. I made lo mein tonight with ramen with this doc in mind and in respect to those who suffered and succeeded in the wild, wild west.
You will need:
4 packages dried ramen (You won’t need the seasoning packets)
1 cup protein, I used Chinese style B.B.Q pork
2 cups shredded cabbage
2 ribs celery, sliced thinly on the bias
1/2 medium onion thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced thin
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 T oyster sauce
2 T soy sauce
2 T peanut oil
2 T mirin
Boil noodles for 2 minutes, drain, set aside. In a large skillet or wok add oil over high heat, add onions, celery, and garlic, toss a few times until celery is tender about 3-4 minutes. Add cabbage, cook 2 minutes. Add noodles, oyster sauce, soy, and mirin, toss well, add cooked protein (if using a raw product cook first with onions)let cook for 3 more minutes until some noodles are browned. Add bean sprouts and green onion, turn off heat. Eat! Serves four to six.
Fortune cookie say: Find out the origins of the things you take for granted, and open yourself up to a whole new world. P.s. No one in China eats fortune cookies….totally kitsch for Americans….