Sweet and Sour
I’ve just recently realized that we’ve been using our dipping sauces as seasoning in our daily cooking for the longest time. Fish sauce, soy sauce, hoison sauce and hot and sour sauce are being utilized in very single possible way. Does it mean we’re too in love with our sauces? Does it mean we can never have enough of it? But for real tho, I used to find a way to finish the side sauce serving a long with my main dish, including drinking it. Thou shalt not waste!
Within those sauces I listed above, there is one that has been challenging my cooking skill for the longest time. That fantastic and also annoying sauce is the sweet and sour sauce. The sauce as a dipping is wonderful, and there is no doubt about it. However, when it comes to incorporating it into cooking, it’s one of the most stubborn ingredient ever. I tried to use it in fried rice: FAIL. I tried to mix it with scrambled egg: FAIL. I tried to put it in soup: EPIC FAIL. I would say 80% of my ideas were flops.
But hey, as one said, failure is the mother of success. I did come up with some damn good recipes using the sauce as its main ingredient. One of them is the Sweet and Sour Chow Mein. This dish is extremely easy to make, and it’s a great stomach warming comfort food.
This dish initially inspired by my co-worker’s lunch. Her husband made her this fantastic noodle dish which she was so proud of and generous enough to offer sharing the joy with me. The smell and taste of the dish immediately reminded me of my favourite sweet and sour sauce. It included a few basic ingredients such as bell peppers, mushrooms and meat. The best part of the dish was the extra heat which I’d never thought of using. He added a small tablespoon of cayenne pepper to create this effect. I think it was a genius idea. It complete the cycle of 3s: Sweet, Sour, and Spicy without changing the overall flavour.
After being impressed by this idea, I came up with my own version of sweet and sour noodle recipe. This version is based on my experience with Chinese cuisine culture. It includes a couple more Western ingredients such as Tofu, Garlic Chive, and Fired Onion. These additional ingredients allow me to improve the protein content and add a crunch factor to the dish.
One top of that, I decided to go with a bigger type of noodle while I was testing the recipe. I haven’t figured out why, but I have this method which I prefer to use big noodles for more intense sauce/soup and thin noodles for lighter sauce/soup. In my opinion, the texture fits better with the taste. However, you’re free to use whichever type of noodle you desire. Please let me know if you think your type of noodle works better for this dish.
Sweet and Sour Chow Mein