Saturday, March 27, 2010

China - Hunanese Soup Noodles


The rice pasta called fen is a specialty of the Hunan region. Fuschia Dunlop in the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook describes its importance as " Rice fen is eaten for breakfast all over Hunan. Some people buy the freshly made fen and take it home, where they serve it in a bowl of broth, topped perhaps with a fried egg, some sliced scallions, and a dollop of chopped salted chiles" (p.252).

Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 bunch scallions
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp olive or peanut oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz fresh rice noodles
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 dried chiles, sliced

  1. Start water boiling and in a separate pan heat the vegetable broth.
  2. Chop the tops off the scallions. Trimming off dead ends. Blanch in boiling water with mushrooms. Drain
  3. Thinly slice the bottom part of the scallions.
  4. Prepare the serving bowls by placing some soy sauce, oil, sliced scallions, and salt and pepper to the bottom of each serving bowl.
  5. Boil rice noodles until they are of the desired softness. This happens very quickly with fresh ones. Drain.
  6. Fry 2 eggs sunny side up.
  7. Pour vegetable broth into serving bowl. Add noodles to serving bowls. Top with mushrooms, scallions, fried egg, sliced scallions, and chiles. Serve.

Results and Discussion
This is dish was simple and tasty. Preparation time is about 20 minutes. Making the dish look nice is also very easy. It is very spicy for breakfast but it wakes you up and is very warm. The fresh rice noodles have a very nice texture and soak up the broth's flavor. We would make this again for any meal. Dunlop discusses how this recipe has many different variations so you can top it with whatever strikes your fancy.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Before we start, take a look at this: Friendly's Breakfast Menu - Sweet Creations.  Look at the pictures.  Look at Strawberry Fills Forever French Toast, for heaven's sake.  This is not breakfast.

Not too say it doesn't look delicious.  Double Chocolate Pancakes were clearly invented with me in mind.  But not for breakfast!  This is the food you eat for dessert, so that when your sugar high dissipates, you are ready for bed.

And I am picking on Friendly's a little bit.  This is really a universal problem.  We have our standard weekend breakfast foods: pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, sausages, etc.  It does start to get repetitive.  What else can you do but start adding some chopped apples here, powdered sugar there, a little whipped cream on top?

Well, I personally can't eat that much sugar that early in the morning.  So we came up with a plan.  There are over 200 countries on our planet, and they do not all eat bacon and eggs for breakfast.  We will take a culinary tour and try everybody's morning meal everywhere.  If we make it to the end of the list, we will have 236 new breakfasts*, and no ice cream.

* CIA - The World Factbook -- Country Comparison :: Population, accessed 3/26/10