Monday, January 23, 2012

Lunar New Year + Year of the Dragon + Garlic Shrimp & Broccoli Noodles

Reminiscing of Lunar New Year celebrations in Korea, J and I thought we'd welcome in the Year of the Dragon. We eat a bit of Korean food every once in awhile, but rarely eat Chinese food anymore. Having Chinese food isn't the easiest thing anymore, once you remove soy from your diet!

Although it's not the Year of the Monkey (J's year) or the Year of the Boar (me), it's still fun to acknowledge and welcome in Lunar New Year. I was thinking back to how I spent my two Lunar New Years while living in South Korea. It was such a fun time in school with all my little munchkins. They'd come to school dressed in their traditional Hanbok (below) and we'd make crafts and rice cakes all day (in between taking photos of how adorable everyone looked, of course). The entire school would walk across the street to our neighborhood park and would take a giant photo including every student in their Hanbok. Nothing was cuter than that sea of kids crossing the street!

Anyway. The other plus with Lunar New Year was our long weekends. You do not let a day off go wasted. In 2006, I recall spending a whole lot of time reading in my very very favorite (and missed) tea room - The Old Tea House, filled with yummy quince tea and birds (yes - birds...flying around, as you sit on a big pillow on the old creaky floors. Swoon). In 2007, however, J and I decided to mark the "new year" with something a bit more drastic: a polar bear swim and a run. Yup. A bit more drastic (for the likes of me, anyway). January swim in the ocean off of South Korea. Completely sane...right? Well. We actually thought so, but the doctor that treated my poor very cut foot did not think so. I suppose that going for an hour hobble-run the day after cutting your foot on a rock in the ocean does sound a bit nutty...especially when telling this to a doctor in broken English as he uses a giant syringe to shoot water into my foot. Awesome-ness. Oh the fond, fond memories of living abroad....and being 23.


Talking about foot injuries in a food blog.


Back to food.
Are you still here?

We started to seek a compromise between what we were craving (noodles), what we had (shrimp), what we could eat (soy-less) and what would still be a true Chinese dish.

Remembering that I bought J the Company's Coming Chinese Cooking last Christmas, I flipped through (and drooled over) the pages looking for something that would work with a wee bit of oyster (fish) sauce in place of soy sauce, without altering the recipe too much. Found it. It worked. It was awesome. We paired the dish with a bit of not-so-healthy boxed dumplings. I blame it on nostalgia. :)

Garlic Shrimp And Broccoli Noodles
Inspired (but greatly altered) from a Company's Coming Chinese Cooking recipe.

What J Used (I made him do it!):
- 3 tbsp of water
- 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup of vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- "Chinese BBQ Sauce" - we didn't have this, so we used: 1tbsp Garlic BBQ sauce, 1tsp sriricha, 1 tsp of PC Smoked Paprika marinade (not all are sugar-free. *tear* BUT it was a small small amount).
- 1 tbsp coconut oil and vegetable oil
- 1 square inch of ginger, cut very small
- 4 cloves of garlic, cut very small
- 1/4 cup of leeks
- 1 small shallot
- 1/2 tsp of Chinese 5-spice
- 2 cups of broccoli
- 2 cups of shrimp
- chow mein noodles

What J Did:
1. Stir water into cornstarch in a small cup or jar. Shake and set aside.
2. Heat wok with oils.
3. Add ginger, leeks, shallot and garlic. Cook for a minute. At same time: cook your chow mein noodles - they only take 3 minutes.
4. Add broccoli with a few tbsp of water. Cook.
5. Add shrimp. Once pink, add sauces and spice.
6. Add in noodles and cook for 2 minutes.

The above all happens really quickly and the order doesn't matter too much. You just want to make sure that the broccoli gets cooked and the shrimp doesn't get overcooked.

Notes: I have no suggestions for improvement. I literally inhaled this - as in: I think I forgot to chew. 

Our yummy noodles + Our not-so-healthy dumplings (also yummy, of course!)

Any fond memories to share? Favorite Chinese recipes made healthy? Pin It


  1. Oh, my tummy is growling! Thanks for the dinner inspiration...

    1. Thanks for reading AND for commenting!! Belly growls are a great compliment! :P

  2. sounds delicious!!! i've been LOVING shrimp lately.

    1. I know..I get on a shrimp "kick" every once in awhile.

  3. In 2006, Allison's Gram and I went to Korea to visit....we loved the Bird Tea Room - and had lots of fun with the kids...and experiencing Korean food! I had the most delicious cinnamon tea while sitting on a puffy cushion watching the birds fly around! What an experience...little trip down memory lane this morning!!

    1. Awwww. I know...that was SUCH a great visit & time. Don't you wish we could teleport back to that teahouse for a day?