Thursday, December 18, 2014

Mise en Place - Absolutely Unauthentic Singapore Noodles

Mise en place (French pronunciation: ​[mi zɑ̃ ˈplas]) is a French phrase which means "putting in place", as in set up. It is used in professional kitchens to refer to organizing and arranging the ingredients (e.g., cuts of meatrelishes, sauces, par-cooked items, spices, freshly chopped vegetables, and other components) that a cook will require for the menu items that are expected to be prepared during a shift. The practice is also effective in home kitchens.

The cruise is already a memory, and we are Home.  Sitting on my couch with my furry kids, watching the news, searching the net for stir-fry recipes.  We've already been to Publix, put things away, moved right back into our comfortable routine.  I feel good.

We had stir-fry from the Mongolian grill one day for lunch onboard.  It was pretty good, but I felt it lacked that garlic-ginger punch to bring it up to another level.  I was sure I could do better, so of course I had to buy the ingredients in Publix and of course I had to work out a recipe right there and then, and of course I had to try the recipe right there and then.  Sometimes, my enthusiasm is only exceeded by my stupidity, and this was one of those times.  I was more tired than I realized and while stir-fry is simple to cook, it is exhausting to prepare.  Before you fire up your wok, it is critical that every single ingredient be prepped and ready to go.  That is mise en place, and never is it more important than when you are cooking stir-fry dishes.

Absolutely Unauthentic Singapore Noodles

The Meat:

6 oz. frozen extra small cooked shrimp, defrosted under cold water, patted dry, and sprinkled with the garlic pepper blend (next time I will try this with 8 oz. of medium shrimp)

12 oz. boneless pork (I used boneless butterflied chops, about 1/2 inch thick), marinated and cooked according to directions below

Pork Marinade:
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons orange blossom honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons white wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon Heinz ketchup

Place the pork into a ziploc bag.  Combine the marinade ingredients in a 1-cup glass measuring cup, then pour over the pork.  Seal the bag, turn it several times to insure all of the pork is coated, and then place into the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Pour a shallow layer of water in the bottom of a roasting pan. Place a wire cooling rack in the pan and put the pork on top, reserving 2/3 cup of the marinade. Roast the pork at 425 degrees for 15 minutes then turn the heat down to 350 degrees and continue cooking for 15 minutes more, carefully and generously brushing on the remaining marinade as you go.  Finish with not more than a minute under the broiler.  Let cool and cut into thin strips.  Do not discard any liquid left in the bottom of the pan; it's made up of water, juices from the pork, and any of the marinade that dripped down, and may be used to moisten the noodles at the end.

The Noodle:

1 - 8 oz. package Hokan Chinese Noodles (Mein), cooked according to package directions, rinsed in cold water, left to drain completely in colander

The Spice:

3 tablespoons curry powder (or more to taste)
2/3 cup reserved marinade
4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
2 tablespoons peeled and grated ginger root
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Garlic pepper blend

The Vegetation:

1 thinly sliced medium carrot, blanched in boiling water for 2 minutes, drained and set aside

1/2 very large onion (Vidalia or other sweet onion), slivered

1 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced

3 small stalks bok choy, white and some green parts, sliced (definitely using more of this next time)

1 -16 oz. bag Publix frozen Japanese Blend (broccoli, green beans, red peppers, mushrooms), defrosted under cold water, well-drained in colander  (the next time I prepare this, I plan on using more fresh vegetables instead of this frozen mix.  Probably broccoli florets, green beans, and cauliflower, blanched like the carrots, fresh shittake mushrooms, and a fresh red bell pepper.  Maybe some bean sprouts. I am also going to hit the Asian food aisle for canned sliced water chestnuts.)

1/2 cup frozen corn (also 1/2 cup frozen peas.  I just did not have any in the freezer.)

The Big Finish:

2 eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt and a splash of sesame oil
4 tablespoons peanut or canola oil


First, take a look at the photo at the beginning of the post.  That is my final mise en place of ingredients, lined up in the order they will be going into the wok (I use an electric wok, which was set up to the right at the time I shot this.)  It takes a lot of work to get to this point, but it is the only way to prepare stir-fry.  Right to left: the garlic-ginger-curry powder mixture; fresh vegetables; frozen vegetables; eggs beaten with sesame oil; cooked pork and defrosted, seasoned shrimp; and the noodles, which have been tossed with the remaining marinade and curry powder.  Most if not all of these components can be prepared hours ahead of time, even the day before.  Take everything out of the refrigerator about a half hour before you are ready to start cooking.

To the cooked noodles, add half the curry powder, and the 2/3 cup of reserved marinade. Toss together well until the noodles are well coated. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and the remaining curry powder and set aside. 

Set up separate bowls of the following: the fresh vegetables; the frozen vegetables; the cooked pork and shrimp; and the beaten egg.
Heat the oil in a wok until smoking, then add the garlic and ginger mixture. Stir-fry for 30 seconds until fragrant, then add the fresh vegetables. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, then push to the side of the wok and add the egg. Allow to cook undisturbed until almost set, then scramble into the other ingredients in the wok. Add the defrosted vegetables, the shrimp, and the pork; toss together and then cook covered for several minutes until the broccoli is soft but not mushy.  Remove the cover. Finally add the noodles and toss everything together for a couple of minutes until it's all well combined.  If the stir-fry seems dry, add some of the liquid from the pan in which the the pork was cooked (cook down first if a bit if too watery).

It turned out to be a darn fine stir-fry. Upon reflection, it was well worth the ill-timed effort on my part.

No comments:

Post a Comment