Thursday, January 31, 2013
Yakisoba - and haiku to you
wok heats over flame;
so much to chop; make cocktail
and sip, grasshopper.
I've learned only in very recent years how one's mise en place makes an enormous difference in the ease of putting a meal on the table within a reasonable amount of time after one's spouse has come home from work. Witness this:
With enthusiasm: "Hi, honey, I'm home."
With resignation: "Hullo."
With anticipation: "What's for dinner?"
Snappishly: "A goddamn stir-fry if I ever finish chopping everything up."
Compare with this:
"Hi, honey, I'm home."
"What's for dinner?"
"The mother of all stir-fries which will be ready in minutes as soon as you're ready."
Mise en place is what makes the difference. It doesn't take a long time to chop up stuff, except when you feel under the gun. Get out your Tupperware and do the chopping in the morning or even the night before. In most stir-fries there are things that go into the pan (wok or not wok) in sequence. Simply put them in separate containers. When it's time to cook get that pan or wok hot, hot, hot. While the oil heats put your bottles of soy sauce, cooking wine, vegetable oil, sesame oil, whatever, next to the stove.
I designed this one carefully, using pre-cooked noodles. My result was a one-dish dinner. If there's ever a divorce in this family it won't be from a complaint that "his mise was never en place." (I wonder if they can develop a pill for it?) "If you need more than four hours to get everything in place for a stir-fry, contact your physician immediately. Ask your doctor if you are healthy enough for stir-fry activity."
Oh, what's in it:
1/2 onion, sliced
1 huge clove garlic, minced
4 mini and multi-colored bell peppers
4 baby bok choys
4 scallions, green and white parts, 1" long
6 medium button mushrooms or baby bellas
leftover cooked sliced steak
8 oz. yakisoba noodles
To taste: splashes of Shiaxing wine, soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil
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