Bean/ glass vermicelli with gourd and dried shrimps (大姨妈嫁女)
from my mother’s kitchen
ingredients (available from most Chinese/Asian food stores)
1 small packet of glass noodles (cut with scissors into manageable strips and soaked till soft, makes it easier to eat as well)
2/3 tablespoons of dried shrimp/lardons (lardons are small pieces of bacon)/dried shitake mushrooms . Soak the shrimp and mushrooms if used and keep the liqour
Half a hairy gourd (depends on size and how much gourd you would like) can be substituted by marrow if not available (take off the skin and cut into julienne strips but not too fine)
2/3 cloves garlic, crushed and roughly chopped
Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
3/4 tablespoons of water
A tablespoon of oyster sauce/soy sauce (for gluten free get tamari sauce)
My mother used to make this for us when we were kids. It had a strange name Elder maternal aunt marries off daughter (大姨妈嫁女) but the Cantonese have fanciful names for their dishes like Phoenix claws are chicken’s feet and there’s a dish named Monk jumped over a wall.
I think this is a good dish for people who need gluten free diet. It is also very light and not difficult to prepare. For those who cannot get dried shrimp or do not like them, they can substitute with lardons or strips of finely sliced bacon. For vegetarians, you can sustitute with dried shitake mushrooms to add a deeper flavour.
You may need a PA’s assistance – the oil may splash when the pan/wok is heated. Add oil, then garlic and dried shrimp or lardons/ dried shitake mushrooms after rehydrating (keep the liquid for use later).
Saute and remove from pan after 5 minutes, take care not to burn.
Add the gourd and stir frequently, taking care not to disentegrate them too much, after a few minutes add the softened noodles. Add the saved liquid and keep stir frying until the noodles and gourd strips are well integrated. Add the other ingredients, finish with seasoning sauces. There should be no need for salt.
Serve with rice or on its own.
Take care when stir frying. There’s no need to use a wok if it hinders visibility. (A wok has higher sides to hold the food to make it easier to toss and stir the ingredients. A frying pan can be used instead by people who need to sit while cooking). A friend/ PA can help by either doing the stir frying or handing you the ingredients to be added. Stir frying needs the heat to be vigorous and if you do not stay focused, the food can get burnt easily. Have some water to hand to add to the pan if there’s any chance of getting too dry and burnt.
This dish is not recommended for freezing.