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Chinese Noodles in Meat Sauce with Shredded Vegetables

This is one of the classic peasant dishes of Peking and, unlike most Chinese dishes, is a meal in itself. Traditionally, each diner is given a bowl of noodles to which he adds as much meat sauce and shredded vegetables as he likes.

ingredients

serves 4
1/2 kg (1 lb) Noodles or spaghetti
3 Tbs Vegetable oil
1 Medium onion, thinly sliced
2 Garlic cloves, crushed
4 cm (1 1/2 in) piece Fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
350 g (12 oz) Lean pork or beef, minced (ground)
1 Tbs Sesame oil
5 Tbs Soy sauce
2 Tbs Rice wine or dry sherry
1 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs Cornflour (cornstarch), blended with 4 Tbs chicken stock

shredded vegetables

75 - 125 g (3 - 4 oz) Shredded cabbage, blanched for 4 minutes and drained (a heaped side-dishful)
75 - 125 g (3 - 4 oz) Shredded carrots, blanched for 4 minutes and drained (a heaped side-dishful)
75 - 125 g (3 - 4 oz) Bean sprouts, blanched for 1 minute and drained (a heaped side-dishful)
75 - 125 g (3 - 4 oz) Shredded cucumber (a heaped side-dishful)
50 - 75 g (2 - 3 oz) 4 - 6 Tbs Shredded radishes (a saucerful)

25 - 50 g (1 - 2 oz) 2 - 4 Tbs Mixed pickles (a saucerful)
25 - 50 g (1 - 2 oz) 2 - 4 Tbs Chutney (a saucerful)

method

1. Arrange the shredded vegetables, pickles and chutney on individual serving dishes. Set aside.

2. Cook the noodles or spaghetti in boiling, salted water until they are just tender. Drain, set aside and keep hot.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying-pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and fry for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the pork or beef and stir-fry until it loses its pinkness. Stir in the sesame oil, soy sauce, wine or sherry and sugar, and stir-fry for a further 3 minutes. Stir in the cornflour (cornstarch) mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens and becomes translucent. Remove from the heat and transfer the sauce to a warmed serving bowl. Keep hot.

4. Divide the noodles or spaghetti between four individual serving bowls. Serve at once, with the meat sauce and shredded vegetables.

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