Taiwanese use a lot of black soy sauce paste (醬油膏) in their cooking – that’s something I learnt from watching a lot of Taiwanese cooking shows.
I was intrigued and glad that I managed to find a bottle at the Chinese grocer. It is usually thickened with glutinous rice or any other types of starch and is usually used as a dipping sauce or for braising (滷肉) in Taiwanese cuisine. The texture is like oyster sauce but doesn’t have the seafoody/ shellfish taste of oyster sauce. The taste is very much like soy suace but the flavour is more intense and slightly sweeter. It is extremely salty, so use sparingly. One tablespoon of it was enough to flavour the noodles.
Braised Noodles with Yellow Chives (韭王炒面
Prep time: 35 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Yield: serves 2
- 2 portions dried egg noodles
- 8 prawns – de-veined and de-shelled, dried with paper towels
- 1 cup home-made Chinese soup stock OR any low sodium stock (plus more for braising, about 3/4 cup)
- 4 dried Chinese mushrooms
- 10 g dried black fungus
- 1 small carrot – thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic – minced
- 100 g yellow chives – cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1/4 cup Shaoxing wine
- 1 tbs black soy sauce paste 醬油膏 (you can use oyster sauce)
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce (mainly for colouring)
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp white pepper powder
- 1 tbs Sesame oil
- Chili oil flakes (optional)
- Mix together prawns, a pinch of salt and pepper. Leave to marinate while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Boil 1 cup of soup stock, remove from heat and add dried mushrooms and black fungus. Leave to soak until softened (about 15-30 mins). Drain, squeeze dry and thinly slice mushrooms and fungus. Keep the soaking liquid for later use. [You should get about 3/4 cup soaking liquid, top this up to 1 cup with more stock.]
- Heat up wok, add about 1 tbs oil.
- Fry prawns until cooked. Remove from wok and leave aside for later use.
- Add garlic, fry until fragant.
- Add sliced mushrooms, black fungus, carrots. Stir-fry until carrots are softened slightly.
- Add yellow chives, stir-fry until slightly wilted.
- Pour in Shaoxing wine, stir-fry until almost dry.
- Mix in soy sauce paste, dark soy sauce, sugar and mushroom/fungus soaking liquid.
- Add dried noodles. Cover and leave to cook for a few minutes. Open to check and stir noodles around. Add more chicken stock if too dry. [I added about 1/2 cup more stock for noodles to be fully cooked, the noodles shouldn’t be too dry.]
- Stir in cooked prawns.
- Season to taste with soy sauce and white pepper powder.
- Remove from heat, mix in sesame oil and serve with chili oil.