Many of the foods served at a Chinese New Year gathering are rich in symbolism and meaning, but typically far from vegan and vegetarian friendly. So we were inspired to bring the meatless eaters good luck too by creating a dish with many of the symbolic foods rolled into one bite. Tangerines represent wealth and good luck, lettuce represents fortune, and long noodles will bring health and long life.
Courtesy of Lauren Toyota and John Diemer of hot for food blog.
Tangerine Chili Dipping Sauce
Shiitake Scallion Noodles
In a small saucepan heated at medium-low, fry minced garlic, chili flakes and ginger in sunflower oil for 2 minutes until soft and fragrant. Be sure not to burn the garlic.
Whisk in tangerine zest, tangerine juice, rice vinegar, ½ cup of water, soy sauce, sugar and sea salt, and bring heat back up to medium-high to bring the mixture to a boil.
Once boiling, continue to whisk the sauce frequently for 15 minutes until it reduces by about half.
In a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and water until the cornstarch is dissolved.
Whisk the cornstarch and water mixture into the sauce. Bring the heat down to medium low, but still bubbling. Continue whisking for another 3 minutes until thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt. Once at a rolling boil, place the noodles in the pot and cook for 3 minutes stirring once or twice so the noodles don’t stick together. Drain and set aside.
Heat a large frying pan to medium heat. Add 1 Tablespoon sesame oil and fry shiitake mushrooms, water chestnuts and most of the green onion including the white base (leaving some green from the top for a garnish) for 5 minutes.
Add soy sauce, 1 Tablespoon of sesame oil and noodles into the pan. Toss to coat evenly and fry for another 3-4 minutes.
Place a lid on this pan, remove from heat and set aside while you fry the chik’un pieces.
Heat frying oil in a deep saucepan over medium-high heat until it reaches 350°F (180ºC) to 360°F (182ºC). It should take about 8-10 minutes to get hot.
Only when the oil has reached its frying temperature should you mix the batter. In a mixing bowl, combine rice flour, ginger ale or soda, sea salt and paprika, and stir with a fork. Don’t over mix as you want a lot of the carbonation to remain in the batter.
Separate the chik’un pieces with your fingers and submerge them in the batter to coat. Fry about 4-5 pieces at a time depending on the size of your saucepan (don’t over crowd) for 2-3 minutes until golden and crispy.
Remove the pieces from the oil using a slotted deep fryer spoon to allow the excess oil to drip off and set aside on top of paper towel. Continue this until all the pieces are fried.
Assembly: Remove the Boston lettuce leaves from the stem and delicately wash and pat dry. Assemble the wraps with the noodle mixture on the bottom, a couple of chik’un strips on top and extra green onion for the garnish. Drizzle tangerine chili sauce on top or individually portion out the sauce for dipping.