August 16, 2007

Chinese Chives with Shrimp, Pork & Rice Noodles

1/2 lb medium sized flat rice noodles, broken in half lengthwise (if long)

1 lb Chinese chives, cut into 2 1/2 inch pieces*
3/4 lb medium to large raw shrimp, peeled and cut in half
1/2 lb ground pork
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons canola oil
pinch salt
pinch palm sugar
juice of 1 lime

for sauce:
1/2 teaspoon palm sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 1/2 tablespoons water

In a large bowl, soak the noodles in warm tap water for about 15 minutes or until just pliable. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan or wok with high sides. Add the garlic and cook until just fragrant. Add the shrimp and pork and stir, breaking up any chunks of pork with your spoon, and sprinkle on the salt and sugar. Cook until they are about cooked through, only about 3 minutes or so. Add the chives. Toss the ingredients together and stir. Cook for about 3-5 minutes or until the chives have wilted. Add the noodles. Stir, than cover for about 1 minute. Stir in the sauce and cook about 3-5 additional minutes or until the flavors have combined and the noodles are soft. Serve immediately.

Yield: about 2 servings if a main course, about 4 if a side dish.
*Sometimes the bottom inch or two of the chive is rather tough. If this is the case, just chop it off.

My thoughts:
This is a perfect dish for summer, quick, light and fresh. The trick is treating the chives like a vegetable and not just a garnish or accent. Chinese chives (also known as garlic chives) look like your basic chive but have a little white bulb or even white flowers blossoming at one end. They have more a garlic flavor than oniony and when you cook them as this recipe states, the flavor goes out of them and into the pork and shrimp and the chives themselves take on this lovely fresh green flavor. Most Asian markets sell Chinese chives in 1/2 lb or 1 lb bundles, look for ones that bright green and crisp looking.