Yi Mein, or Long Life noodles, is a festive Chinese dish that signifies longevity, prosperity and good luck. This dish is the perfect way to celebrate the Lunar New Year which took place last week. Pick-up mushrooms from Screaming Oaks farms at the Mid-City market to compliment this recipe, and get creative by adding chicken, tofu, herbs or extra veggies.
Boil 3 quarts of water in a large wok or pot to pre-cook your Yi Mein noodles. Once boiling, add the noodles. The directions on the box may say to boil the noodles for 5 minutes, but we recommend no more than 3 to 4 minutes to keep them firm and chewy. Overcook them, and you will end up with a mushy texture.
Sample a noodle while cooking, and when it tastes closer to the uncooked side of al dente pasta, it’s ready. When the noodles are done, immediately drain and set aside. Dissolve the sugar and salt in 1 tablespoon of hot water, and add the regular soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper. Stir until combined.
Heat the wok until just smoking, and spread 2 tablespoons of oil around the perimeter.
Add the mushrooms and the light green parts of the chives, and stir fry for 30 seconds. The mushrooms are like sponges and will soak up the oil, so add another tablespoon of oil if they look too dry.
Add the noodles (they still should be warm but with no water dripping), and stir fry everything for another 20 seconds. If they cooled off, just cook them a bit longer until they are warmed, because warming the noodles before adding the sauce is important!
Spread the prepared sauce mixture evenly over the noodles, and stir-fry everything together for 1 minute, or until the soy sauce mixture is distributed evenly. Spread another tablespoon of oil around the perimeter of the wok to prevent sticking if you feel you need it.
How much oil you use is definitely a personal preference. If the noodles stick together, drizzle a bit of oil directly over the noodles. You can also add a splash of hot water if the noodles are too dry, even after adding the sauce.
Mix gently so you don’t break up the noodles--remember, you want to have long noodles to give longevity and prosperity to whoever’s going to be eating this dish!
Add in the remaining green parts of the chives and mix until they turn bright green and the noodles are heated through. This will take 1-3 minutes, depending on if your noodles were cold or still warm when you started stir-frying, and how hot your stove and wok can get.
Market Umbrella is an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3), based in New Orleans, whose mission is to cultivate the field of public markets for public good. Market Umbrella has operated the Crescent City Farmers Markets (CCFM) since 1995.
The Crescent City Farmers Market operates weekly year-round in four New Orleans neighborhoods. The CCFM hosts nearly 80 local small farmers, fishers and food producers, and more than 100,000 shoppers annually.