‘Long‘ in Foochow means ‘egg’ while ‘mien‘ is ‘noodles’. Although it translates to just egg noodles, this dish has many other ingredients to make it super-special and CNY-worthy. My Dad has been waiting to contribute something to Feats of Feasts but since he doesn’t cook all that much, we both had to wait till CNY so he could make this dish. This is the highlight for reunion dinner. It is a hefty soup filled with seafood, protein and vege. It’s not a Foochow dish, I’ve verified that again when I went back home but it was something Grandma would make at her place always for reunion dinners.
Most people would be camera shy but Dad was like ‘Hey, make sure you get my face in the shot!’ As pictorial proof that he made the dish and that he has stepped into the path less travelled in the kitchen. 🙂
I would define this dish as one of those that helps the younger generation stay connected to the past. I make it a point myself or an effort to record as much ‘traditional’ family dishes as I can before it completely dies out. That would be such a shame. If there’s one thing that I aim to do in my lifetime, it’s to make sure all these family dishes be carried forward for as many years as possible.
LONG MIEN / EGG NOODLE SOUP RECIPE
20 eggs (to make as much noodles as you like)
1 leek, sliced
1/2 Chinese cabbage, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 can abalone (totally optional or use clams), sliced
1 can button mushrooms, sliced
Dry shitake mushrooms, soaked in water and sliced
Chicken stock, lots
Chinese celery (optional, for garnish)
1. Beat all the eggs in a large bowl. Cook them in an oiled frying pan to make thin omelettes. Repeat until you’ve finished all the batch. Let the omelettes cool.
2. Roll the omelette individually and then slice them with a sharp knife into noodles, like how you would slice pasta fettucine.
3. Mix the seasoning of the meatballs together thoroughly. To ensure even portion of meatballs, you can place the meat into a bag, cut the corner and squeeze it out to your other hand. Use the other hand to shape the balls till you have enough.
4. In a deep, large wok, stir fry the garlic in very little oil. Add your sliced button and shitake mushrooms. Stir fry for 1 min and then add the celery, cabbage and eventually the leeks.
5. Add a little of the abalone stock. Stir fry till the vegetables have somewhat soften. Add your chicken stock till your ingredients are fully covered and submerged. Remember to add more stock than you would because once you add the egg noodles, it will absorb more of the liquid.
6. Let it come to a boil and add your sliced abalone followed by the meatballs one by one. Do not stir at this point.
7. When the meatballs are cooked through, season with pepper and salt. Taste and adjust.
8. At the last minute before serving, drop in the egg noodles and let it warm through. Decant to a very big dish.
9. Eat while it’s hot! The dish taste even better the next day.