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New World Noodles

by: Bill & Wong, Stephen Jones

Toronto, Ontario Canada: Robert Rose, Inc. 1997, $17.95, Paperback
ISBN: 1-896503-01-2


Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 1997 Issue: 4(3) page(s): 14 and 16

Jones, a food consultant with wide-ranging experience in Asian and North American cuisine. Wong, a Vancouver-based restaurant consultant, writer and chef joins forces concentrating on the easily adaptable noodle. Their tastes and textures are the best overall and most varied noodle-lovers compendium I have ever seen. The one hundred recipes are preceeded by a "Noodle Primer" that discusses wheat, rice, bean and buckwheat varieties. Their glossary of thirty-five flavorful fundamentals are to cat them with black bean sauce, savouries, and more.

The authors leave nothing to chance, not even to lack of ingredients because they provide recipes for basic items. These include Home-Style Five-Spice Mix, four flavorful stocks, one each of chicken, beef, fish and vegetable, and a Vietnamese Nuoc Chen, a Spicy Sesame Vinaigrette sauce, a Japanese Gingu Suromono Dressing, and a Sweet Soya Sauce.

Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Fish, Seafood, Meat, Poultry, Vegetables, Side Dishes, and Dessert chapters include amazingly simple yet tantalizing terrific recipes. Most take no more than half an hour to prepare. All use ingredients you can make or locate in a well-stocked supermarket. The cooking has strong Chinese influences that can even be seen in the beautiful color photographs; it was tasted in the ten randomly selected recipes I tried. This book is a hit; no surprise because Stephen Wong's earlier book, Heartsmart Chinese Cooking is a banner success. It sold over a million copies.

Try the Soy-braised Snapper and Shiitake Mushrooms with Rice Stick Noodles; baked and brothy, they take less than five minutes of preparation, then they are baked for fifteen more. The Lemon Grass Pork Chops with Chinese Pesto Noodles are a banner dish for the barbecue. When I made mine, I put on a few extra chops. These I used in a magnificent Thick Egg Noodles and Barbecued Pork, Onion, Green Pepper and Black Bean dish. The Gailan and Oyster Sauce Lo Mein and the Chinese Noodle and Scallion Rosti show off noodles at their best, steamed and pan-fried, respectively. The Thin Egg Noodle and Black Plum Clafouti is brilliant, the Hazelnut Yan Wonton with Maple Syrup a wonderfully warm contrast when served with vanilla ice cream. You should try them all, I plan to do likewise.

There is one carp (though no recipe for same). It is the ethno-centric notion that noodles originated in China. Jones and Wong say that they made their way westward with Marco Polo. Some varieties may have, including rice noodles. However, Italy's pasta museum and many books more correctly report that pasta in Italy pre-dates Marco Polo and actually may have begun independently in both places. Never mind. Just keep in mind that this carbohydrate collection is for those who love Asian tastes, so use your own noodle and cook from it!

Gailan and Oyster Sauce Lo Mein
Ingredients:
1 pound thin egg noodles
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound gailan or broccoli or rape
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup oyster sauce
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds (optional)
Preparation:
1. Cook noodles in a large pot of salted water about one and a hallf minutes or until al dente, drain and coat with a quater of the sesame oil. Put on a platter and set aside.
2. Heat a non-stick wok or skillet and heat oil for thirty seconds then add garlic and stock and stir briefly.
3. Add soy sauce and ginger to the skillet or wok and bring to the boil, then cook thirty seconds more. Pour this sauce over the vegetables and noodles, sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired, and serve.
Chanpuru
Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons oil
1 eight-ounce block of tofu
2 teaspoons salt
2 scallions, sliced
4 ounces bean sprouts
4 ounces bitter melon, peeled, seeded, and sliced
8 ounces Chinese cabbage, cut bite-sized
4 ounces daikon, peeled and cut bite-sized
8 ounces green papaya, grated
Preparation:
1. heat oil in wok or large deep skillet and brown the tofu breaking it into pieces and salting them.
2. Add scallions and all the vegetables and stir-fry until tender. Add a tablespoon of water or stock, if needed.

                                                                                                                                                       
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