Pretty close to comfort food perfection
This is one of my absolute favorite Sunday morning meals — exactly what comfort food tastes like if you grew up in a Fuzhou household. I have yet to see it offered in any Chinese restaurant I’ve been to in the US. There isn’t even an English translation for it. The core of the recipe involves pouring rice flour batter around a very hot wok. The batter instantly cooks into a soft noodle that you fold into a rich broth. You can make it with either a seafood base, meat base, or both! For more details about its history, you can check out the Wikipedia article.
16 oz rice flour
1 cup water
mushrooms, (e.g. 苳菇)
seafood: dried shrimp, dried scallops, fresh clams
meat: sliced pork belly
This will depend on your taste preference and any individual ingredient here is optional. Feel free to add your desired combination of vegetables and meats.
broth or water
You can make the broth fresh from the ingredients above (e.g. by cooking your clams). The recipe below will use water, which will be less flavorful, but easier to do on a casual day.
large rounded wok
gas or wood fire stove - the ideal stove will have very high heat and a wide flame, so that the flame can sufficiently heat the sides of the wok. If the wok doesn’t get hot enough, the batter won’t cook fast enough and run into the soup, making a gross soup paste.
Place the rice flour into a mixing bowl.
Add 1 cup of fresh water and stir the mixture until the rice flour is fully dissolved
For each of your solid ingredients, you’ll want to cook them separately and set aside. Stir fry the cabbage in cooking oil and set aside. If you have pork belly or other meats, now would be the time to stir-fry them and set aside.
Stir fry the mushrooms with a little cooking oil.
You can cook the mushrooms with the dried scallops and dried shrimp. Stir fry it quickly (15 seconds) to extract the flavors.
Add a little water to the mixture and cover until the water reaches a boil. For more flavor here, you can use broth instead.
You can prepare the seafood while the water comes to a boil. If you have large clams or fresh fish, you can cut them into little pieces. Note that we'll be adding seafood absolutely last, as it cooks relatively quickly.
Once the water is boiling, use a piece of cooked cabbage to apply a thin layer of vegetable oil on the exposed wok above the water line of the soup.
Scoop a bowl full of the rice flour mixture
This is the hardest part —- along the side of the wok, just above the water line, pour a thin layer of rice flour mix. You want to do this in one fell swoop, circling the wok like below. I find it easiest to let the edge of the bowl skim the surface of the wok as you flick your wrist in a circle (as opposed to holding the bowl above the wok).
If the batter is too thin, it’ll burn easily. If it’s too thick, the batter will run into the soup, turning the soup into an undrinkable paste. This can take many many years of practice to get right, so don’t feel bad if it’s not perfect on your first try.
If the wok is hot enough, the noodle should cook instantly and brown. If it takes some time to cook (i.e. too thick), quickly cover the wok to try to get it to cook quicker before it runs into the soup.
Using a spatula, push the noodle into the soup.
Apply more oil on the wok and repeat until the soup is sufficiently dense with noodle. This is a really good pour!
If you have live seafood (e.g. clams and scallops), add them in last to avoid over-cooking.
You may not use all your batter in the first go around. If the soup becomes too full with noodles, empty the wok and start over with a new batch of soup.
Finally, add salt to taste and serve. Yum :-)
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