Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Mum's Chow Mein

Tonight was good. The weather has finally eased off a bit, and I had dinner on the table early for a change. Master 3 ate all of his, and came back for seconds. Tonight was the first night in ages he's eaten all his dinner without complaint. Can't go wrong with two minute noodles I guess. And yes, I know they aren't highly nutritious, but it was just a filler anyway.

My mother's fabulous, but probably highly inauthentic Chow Mein
(give her a break... we're dutch)

I'll give you the recipe as my mother told me, then I'll tell you how I do it ;)

750g mince
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cabbage, shredded
3 tbs rice
1 carrot, grated
2 sticks celery, sliced finely
250g green beans, sliced (I use presliced frozen beans, unthawed)
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 pkt chicken noodle soup
1 1/2 cups hot water

Brown the onion in a large pan with a little butter, then add the mince. When the mince is no longer pink, add all the other ingredients except the soup mix and the water. Mix the soup and water, and stir into the frypan. Cover and cook for 45 mins over low heat, stirring often.

Of course, I am almost incapable of sticking to the exact letter of a recipe, so we make it a little different, but not really any different than Mum has done herself on occasion.

For starters, 750g mince? Not likely. I use around 400g for the four of us, mainly because that what size blocks I freeze. 500g for a standard family would be about right. And I never use 1/2 a cabbage. That is a *lot* of cabbage. I use a 1/4 cabbage, and it still is plenty. The last change to the ingredients we make is to use 2 packs of two minute noodles instead of the rice, because my DP can't eat rice.

(See over stuffed pan size?)

I cook it much the same as Mum, although I have refined the process a little due to not having a frypan the size of hers. After browning the mince slightly, I add the curry powder (or else add it to the hot water and soup later). Then I add the cabbage in small batches, letting it sweat down before adding the next, otherwise my pan would overflow from the start. Then I add the noodles, trying to put them as close to the bottom of the pan as possible. Then everything else gets tipped in, mixed around, and then noodles pushed to the bottom again. All this is done on high heat. Then I tip in the soup/water/curry powder (if not already in) and bring that to a boil before turning down to a simmer. I don't have a pan, so I might add more water occasionally. I don't simmer for 45 mins either... just till the cabbage is soggy, and the beans are cooked. That's the great thing about using noodles instead of rice... they cook in two minutes!

I cooked up a batch for dinner, while that was simmering I sliced all the vegies for a second batch, and after dinner made a huge big bag to go into the freezer. Yes, this freezes well, just tip into a large pan to reheat, or freeze it in microwave proof containers, and reheat straight from the freezer.

Freezable goodness!

Coming up tomorrow, Kids Cooking Thursday (we're making a biscuit recipe off the back of the choc chip packet)

This has been an entry for my very first blog event Monthly Mingle - One-Dish Dinners

***EDIT*** Round up is here


Katz said...

Now this sounds nice!!!
Guess what we are having for tea and I even have all the ingredients just sitting here waiting to be used (well I have to go and pick a cabbage from the garden)

Meeta K said...

That really does sound scrumptious. Glad you could make it to the MM!

Mrs. W said...

I'm definitely going to be trying this recipe--looks great!