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Tan Tsai Noodles

Tan Tsai Noodles

tan tsai noodles recipe

In Edinburgh the season has changed once again and it’s turned really cold now. I feel like I’m still recovering from our holiday where we had really hot weather but recently I’ve had a really nasty flu and so the weather in Edinburgh hasn’t helped. The best kind of food for this kind of cold wet weather is a bowl of hot and tasty noodle soup. So, today I’m sharing with you a famous Taiwanese noodle soup called Tan Tsai Noodles.

The story of Tan Tsai noodle began in 1895. There was a fishmonger, Mr Hong, whose family migrated to Fucheng from Zhangzhou in China where he learnt how to cook noodles while making a living catching fish. After some time he moved to Tainan in Taiwan where he still made a living catching fish.

In Taiwan there are two festivals, one called the Tomb-Sweeping Fesetival which is held in March and the other called the Moon Festival which is held in August. Between these seasons is a period called the “Slack Season” where fisherman can’t go out on the water, so Mr Hong began selling noodles.

His noodles had a unique taste and so became really popular so he then decided to sell noodles full time. During the beginning he would carry his noodles on shoulder poles so he could sell them in the streets, so he called these noodles “Slack season Tan Tsai Noodles”. These are known as “Tu Hsian Yueh Tan Tsai Noodles”. “Tu Hsian Yueh” means slack season in Chinese and “Tan Tsai” translates to shoulder poles in Taiwanese.

So, as you can imagine this noodle soup perfectly sums up my situation right now. Since coming back from holiday I’ve been experiencing a slight “financial slack season” and all of the ingredients for this recipe are easy and cheap to get hold of. But the most important thing about this dish is the price doesn’t reflect on the taste, it’s still incredibly tasty. It proves that both expensive and cheap food can be equally tasty. Personally, I like local market food rather than fancy restaurant. It tastes a lot more home made but good home made food is always better than restaurant food.

By the way, I finally took a final picture myself. Now it’s getting dark and with Chris’s work schedule he really doesn’t have time to take photos himself so he taught me how to do the photos. Hope you like it.

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: http://www.chrisradleyphotography.com

tan tsai noodles inredients

 

Tan Tsai Noodles

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 3 people

Ingredients

Ingredients for the noodle stock

  • 1 chicken bone
  • 6 Prawns only use the shells for the stock, keep the prawns for garnish
  • 1 handful bonito shaving also known as Katsuobushi shavings
  • 3 Spring Onions cut into 3cm lengthways
  • 2 slices ginger
  • water

Ingredients for the mince sauce

  • 400 g pork mince
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Rice Wine
  • 2 tbsp fried shallots
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 1 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 1 tsp rock sugar

Instructions

Procedure for the noodle stock

  1. Remove the shell from prawns and use a little bit of oil to sauté the prawn shell
    tan tsai noodles procedure
  2. Roast the chicken bone in the oven until the bone gets some colour on it
    tan tsai noodles recipe
  3. Put everything into a stock pot and cover the ingredients with water.
  4. Boil it first then simmer for 2 hours. It’s now ready to serve with noodle.

Procedure for mince sauce

  1. Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons oil and stir-fry the pork until it’s cooked on the outside.
  2. Add all the ingredients and mix them evenly. Boil it first then simmer around 30 minutes to reduce down half of the sauce.

Final procedure for Tan Tsai Noodle

  1. Poach the prawn and vegetable in a pot of boiling water first. After cook the noodle in the boiling water.
  2. Place noodle and some mash garlic (optional) into a bowl and pour some mince sauce on top. Garnish with prawn and vegetable and add the soup.

 

Smoked Duck Noodle Soup

Smoked Duck Noodle Soup

smoked duck noodle soup

In Taiwan, Taiwanese people will use smoked duck’s bone to make a special stock for noodle soup and duck meat for this smoked duck noodle soup. I always remember when I went to restaurants to have Peking duck (Beijing roast duck) with my family and my mother always asked for the bone to take home after dinner. She will use this duck bone to make stock and make rice soup in the morning for us as breakfast. The fragrance and the taste of that rice soup is so amazing. You can feel every inch of your body is awake after the first sip of the rice soup. Ah, such a wonderful memory. Now my mother is not in the UK so I have had to learn to cook this for my husband and I. I decided to cook this smoked duck noodle for us in our day off for our brunch but ever since I cooked it Chris has been pining for more.

I believe a good noodle soup or rice soup can enrich and bless your body even your mind. So here is my recipe for a delicious smoked duck noodle soup

Credits: Preparation photos were taken by myself but final photos were taken by Chris at: https://chrisradleyphotography.com

 

Smoked Duck Noodle Soup

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 4 duck legs
  • 2 portions noodles

Seasonings

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 ltr water
  • 2 spring onions
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 5 cm cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 piece dried tangerine peel
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Marinade for duck legs

  • 1 tbsp Sichuan pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine

Ingredients for smoking duck legs

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 bags teabags or tea leaf
  • 2 star anise

Instructions

  1. Marinade duck legs with the marinade seasonings for 1 hour.
  2. Heat up 2 tablespoon of oil in a sauce pan. Stir-fry the spring onion, ginger, all the spices.
  3. Pour the water, soy sauce, brown sugar into procedure 2 and boil it.
  4. Put duck legs into procedure 3 after it boiled and bring it to boil again. After boil turn the gas power to the lowest gas power and simmer for 45 minutes. Keep the sauce for stock later.
  5. Line the inside of a large roasting pan with foil and spread with ingredients for smoke the duck. Place a rack (cooling racks work well) inside the roasting pan. Place the duck legs on top of the rack (skin side down) and cover with tin foil to trap the smoke. Put the roasting pan on centre of the burner and heat up the roasting pan with moderate heat and after 2~3 minutes you will notice smoke coming out. Cook for a further 10 minutes. Brush some sesame oil on top of the duck legs after smoking.
  6. De-bone 2 duck legs and use the bones along with the sauce from Step 4 to make the stock. Put everything in to a small sized stock pot and simmer for 1 hour.
  7. Cook the noodle and place it in a bowl, pour some stock from procedure 6 and place the duck legs and duck meat on top with some spring onion and coriander as garnish.

 

Taiwanese fried chicken and sweet potato chips

Taiwanese fried chicken and sweet potato chips

taiwanese fried chicken and sweet potato chips

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to update my blog for over a week due to a few things. First of all I’ve been working on a cook book, about favourite authentic recipes from my home country of Taiwan but also favourites that I have eaten in China and favourites as cooked by my grandparents who originate from China.

The other reason I haven’t updated my blog is I suffered a really bad burn on my arm at work which was fine for around a week, but several days ago I was opening scallop shells at work and got water from the shells in my burn. This resulted in my arm turning red and blowing up quite dramatically. I had to go to hospital and I was instructed to do absolutely nothing for 24 hours.

Most people think if you cut yourself or burn yourself you must let the wound breath and don’t cover it. Even my local pharmacist told me this but the doctor/nurse immediately dismissed this. 24 hours after taking penicillin tablets and wearing a gel patch with a dressing the swelling has come down.

dumpling pastry

The other thing that I want to reply to is Jenny who asked me a couple day ago about which dumpling pastry I used for my dumplings. Here is the photo of the pastry I used but I have to say I’m not entirely happy with this pastry. It’s a little bit thin so you must be carefully when you cook your dumplings. But otherwise it tastes better than other brands I’ve found in the UK. I hope my blog today help you a bit.

I think Taiwanese deep fried chicken (Sien shu gi) and sweet potato chips to Taiwanese people is just like “fish and chips” in UK to British people.

Taiwanese people love this deep fried chicken and sweet potato chips but this snack isn’t only confined to the night markets, it’s a snack that can be eaten anywhere, just like fish and chips in the UK. The chicken is crispy and crunchy with a strong fragrance.

Some businessmen will add some chopped garlic with the chicken to give it different flavour but here is my favourite recipe for this particular dish. I hope you will like it.

Credit: These photos were taken by Chris at Chris Radley Photography

 

Taiwanese fried chicken and sweet potato chips

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 3 whole chicken breasts
  • 1 spring onion chopped finely
  • 2 thin slices ginger chopped finely
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes

Seasonings

  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp five spice powder
  • 1 cup sweet potato starch

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breasts into 2.5 cm cubes.
  2. Marinade the chicken with all of the seasonings, ginger and spring onion but not the sweet potato powder for 1 hour.
  3. Peel the sweet potato and cut into 8 cm long strips. Add a couple tablespoons of sweet potato powder into a big bowl with a little bit of water and mix evenly. Add the sweet potato chips into the bowl and coated with the mixture.
  4. Heat up 3 cups of oil to 180c then fry the chicken until the chicken turns to a golden colour and add some basil to fry it with chicken when the chicken has nearly cooked. (Please be careful in this step. Because the basil can make the oil splash really badly.)  Fry the chips in the same way as well.

 

Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

chicken chow mein

My friends and family are always fascinated to know what kind of food Chris and I eat at home. Most people think we eat really posh Chinese food, like we have a large feast with peking duck, dumplings and so forth, but actually most of the time we eat fairly simple food and often a lot of junk.

While we both love eating Taiwanese and Chinese food, especially Chris, usually once a week we eat an amazing 14” pizza from Asda but the rest of the time we eat things like chow mein.

Listening to people while I’ve been living in the UK, a lot of people are really fascinated about chow mein and think it’s a really complicated dish, but for me it’s a simple, tasty and quite importantly, a cheap meal.

Chow mein in my country is like chicken and mushroom pie here. It’s just normal food. So, for my loyal readers, this is what we eat on a very regular basis. If it’s not this, it will be something equally simple like fried rice or Korean fast noodle. Sadly Taiwanese fast noodles, which are simply awesome, are very difficult (if not impossible) to buy here.

 

Chicken Chow Mein

Course Main Dish
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 2 people

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 medium Carrot
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 2 cloves garlic chop finely
  • 1/2 Chili chop really finely
  • 2 Spring Onions chop finely
  • 1 thin slice ginger chop finely
  • 1 pepper any colour, I used green
  • 50 g Chinese white chive cut 2cm lengthways
  • 150 g Chinese dried noodles available in any Chinese supermarket

Seasonings

  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • Couple pinches Black Pepper

Marinade for the chicken

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Chinese rice wine

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breast into fine stripes and marinade for 30 minutes at least.
  2. Julienne the carrot and green pepper.
  3. Cook the Chinese dried noodle in a pot of boiling water until al dente and rinse under cold running water and drain again. Drizzle with a dash of sesame oil and toss through to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.
  4. Heat a frying pan with some oil with full strength gas power to fry the chicken breast until the meat turned white colour and turn off the stove and leave it on a side. (At the time of writing this article I haven't found a good wok in the UK. I tried a Ken Hom wok but every time I try to stir fry of food with a bit of potato starch in it it always sticks to the wok really badly, effectively ruining the wok). These woks are completely useless.
  5. Heat a wok with 1 tablespoon of oil and stir fry chilli, spring onion, ginger and garlic first then add all the vegetable. Stir fry all the vegetables until it’s soften.
  6. Add noodle and chicken into wok and keep stir fry for a couple minutes then add all the seasonings for chow mein and give it a good stir fry for another couple minutes.
  7. Place it into a plate and serve.