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Mei-Mei's Lucky Birthday Noodles by Shan-Shan Chen

by: Shan-Shan Chen

Tokyo Japan: Tuttle Publishing 2014, $13.95, Hardbound
ISBN: 978-0-8048-4461-1

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Winter Volume: 2015 Issue: 22(4) page(s): 25

This book’s loving story of adoption, Chinese culture, and a special birthday treat is a beautiful warm story of the universal joys of a mother’s love, a birthday wish, and a bowl of homemade goodness.

Illustrated by Heidi Goodman, it shares quality time in the kitchen as this mother makes a delicious cultural dish, birthday noodles, for family and friends for Mei-Mei who is Chinese. Her mom and dad flew all the way to the other side of the world to adopt her and bring her home, and this is one way they are teaching her about her birth culture.

They want her to know all about China where she came from. On her birthday they make a traditional Chinese birthday treat, long noodles for a long and happy life. Mei-Mei is now old enough to help make them. The book’s author, a Californian who comes from a long line of restauranteurs, ends this volume with a classic recipe to do so.

Author and publisher, fluent in Chinese language and culture, teach about sharing quality time in the kitchen and the joys of making this delicious birthday dish.
Lucky Birthday Noodles
1/2 pound flank steak, sliced thinly across the grain
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoons granulated sugar
8 dried shiitake mushroom, soaked, their caps diced, their stems discarded
1/4 cup peeled and diced carrots
1 cup bean sprouts, tails removed
1/2 cup canned drained bamboo shots, diced
2 cups bok cai. diced
1 cup beef stock
1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 pound egg noodles, cooker for six to eight minutes, then drained
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Combine beef, sugar soy sauce, and the sesame oil and set saide for at least twenty minutes.
2. Mix cornstarch with one tablespoon cold water, and set this aside.
3. Heat wok or fry pan, add the oil, and fry the beef mixture with the drained marinade, the bring to the boil, stirring. Then add all the vegetables and stir for two minutes until the sauce is thickened, then add the cooked noodles, and pour this over the beef mixture, and serve.

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