Anita Lo is a culinary legend. From her celebrated Annisa to her cookbooks and food television appearances, Chef Lo is a force in the kitchen. Ahead of the Chinese New Year celebration for the Year of the Ox, Chef Lo has partnered with A Writer’s Odyssey to host an Instagram Live cooking demo.
On Thursday, February 11 at 6 p.m. EST, Chef Lo will be cooking her recipe A Writer’s Odyssey Longevity Noodles along with Beef, Baby Green Veggies and Shiitake mushrooms on her Instagram account (anitalonyc). The cooking demo will showcase how this recipe is a great option for Chinese New Year as well as a staple recipe that many home cooks would like to have in their repertoire.
Ahead of this cooking demo, I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Lo about this recipe, her insight on Chinese New Year dishes and why food can spark some interesting conversations.
Anita Lo celebrates Chinese New Year with Longevity Noodles.
As Chef Lo explained, the Chinese New Year is filled with many dishes. Since food and the table brings families together to celebrate, the dishes often reflect certain hopes for the year ahead. From good fortune to a long life, the various dishes look to symbolize those concepts. Over the multi-day celebration, many people enjoy these dishes to bring them good fortune.
Longevity noodles are a traditional dish. In this recipe, Chef Lo uses beef to represent the Year of the Ox. While the name might seem intimidating the recipe itself is approachable for the home cook. With more cooks exploring global flavors, longevity noodles and the various other ingredients are relatively easily accessible.
For this particular recipe, Chef Lo created it and the related cooking demo in partnership with the release of A Writer’s Odyssey from CMC Pictures. While food may not be the central theme of the movie, food is interwoven into the storyline. It shows that food and culture are always connected.
Chef Lo suggested there is much symbolism when it comes to Chinese New Year and food. For example, the very long longevity noodles are meant to represent a long life. In the recipe that she is sharing, other ingredients, like the mushrooms, beef and baby vegetables add other layers of symbolism.
While this recipe is full of intention, the dish is more than just a stand alone recipe. Chef Lo agreed that food can be part of a conversation. Although various cultures have certain ingredients, there are common threads through all types of cuisines. The flavor connections are there, just the names are different.
Even though food can bring everyone to the table, the discussion might be more fiery than tame. Chef Lo shared that some people fiercely debate the proper way to make a cassoulet or who owns the origin of a particular ingredient. Although there might be a recipe for disaster, that spirited conversation can make for an interesting evening.
With more home cooks exploring their cooking skills, the Instagram Live cooking demo is a great way to spark another conversation. Whether you just watch or cook along, the recipe for Longevity Noodles might become a new favorite dish to your kitchen. It doesn’t have to be just a Chinese New Year dish.
Here’s how to make A Writer’s Odyssey Longevity Noodles Celebrating Chinese New Year from Anita Lo.
- 1 pkg longevity noodles (aka e-fu noodles) 7 oz.
- 8 oz. beef, cut into thin strips (such as flat iron, flank, etc)
- 1 Tbsp. Shaoxing cooking wine (substitute dry sherry)
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 6 dried shiitake, soaked in hot water, stems removed and discarded, caps sliced
- 3 Tbsp non-flavored oil such as canola
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp. chopped ginger
- 2 small long hot red chilis, seeded and julienned
- 12 oz. baby green vegetables such as Chinese broccoli or bok choy
- 3 Tbsp. of the mushroom soaking liquid
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 c. oyster sauce, or to taste
- 1 Tbsp. sriracha (optional)
- 1/4 cup scallion greens, cut thin on a bias
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and generously season with salt. Add the longevity noodles and boil, pushing them down and turning every once in a while, until cooked to desired consistency. Drain well and place in a bowl in a warm place.
- In the meantime, marinate the beef: in bowl, mix the beef with the Shaoxing, cornstarch and soy sauce and set aside.
- Heat a wok or large saute pan on high. Add the oil and the garlic and ginger and swirl. Add the beef and stir to get it into one layer if possible. Allow to cook, then turn and cook through. Add the mushrooms and stir to heat through. Remove to the bowl with the noodles. Add the red hot chilis and stir, then add the vegetables and the mushroom liquid. Season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook until al dente.
- Stir and remove to the bowl, leaving any liquid in the pan.
- Add the oyster sauce, sriracha and scallions and mix. Taste and adjust seasonings.
This recipe by Anita Lo is a classic that home cooks can return to time and again. In addition, it is adaptable and within most people’s cooking ability.
Are you ready to get cooking? Be sure to watch the cooking demo on Chef Lo’s Instagram account.