From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...One of the most memorable meals we've had while traveling, was in the Muslim quarter of Xi'an, China. The food culture in this area is based on bread and noodles, and while pork is the meat of choice in most of the city, only lamb or beef are served within the Muslim quarter. The city is famous for hot pots and dumplings, but the dish that I most remember was one made by a street vendor situated just outside the mosque. Defying common sense and suspect sanitation, residents and tourists alike patiently queued for plates of fragrant and spicy lamb piled atop clouds of deep-fried rice vermicelli. It was in a word, wonderful. Once home, I, of course, attempted to duplicate the dish. I found a recipe developed by Jacki Passmore that was awfully close to the dish I remembered. I fiddled with it a bit and finally came up with something we really liked. I also developed an unintended reputation. My grandsons, watching the vermicelli expand as it was fried, were sure I had magical powers unknown to other grandmothers. I was a
Lamb Shreds with Deep-Fried Rice Vermicelli...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Jacki Passmore
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 pound lean lamb, thinly sliced and cut into fine shreds or very thin batons
4 cups vegetable oil
2-ounces rice vermicelli
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1-1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 medium yellow onion, cut in thin wedges
1-1/2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt + salt to taste
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
1 tablespoons finely sliced scallion greens
1) To make seasoning: Combne rice wine, brown sugar and hoisin sauce in a medium-sized bowl. Add lamb shreds and toss to coat. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 2 hours.
2) To make noodles: Heal oil in a wok or large, deep skillet until temperature is 375 degrees F. Slide noodles into oil and cook just long enough for the noodle mass to expand. Quickly turn and cook the other side, about 1 minute more. Do not let noodles color. They should remain cloud-like and puffy. Lift into a colander that is lined with several thicknesses of paper. Set aside.
3) To make vegetables: In a separate skillet, heat vegetable and sesame oils until almost smoking. Add onion wedges and stir-fry until soft, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add lamb to skillet and stir-fry for 2 minutes longer. Return onions to pan and toss with lamb to mix.
4) To make sauce: Add hoisin sauce, chili sauce and salt to pan. Toss to coat and cook about 30 seconds longer. Add salt to taste. Remove pan from heat.
5) To serve: Spread vermicelli on a serving platter. Spoon lamb over noodles and garnish with orange peel and chopped scallions. Serve immediately. Yield: 2 to 4 servings.
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