Happy Lunar New Year! The celebration began last week and will continue for a few more days until the first full moon. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit, a Year of Hope, what a beautiful aspiration. Some enjoy eating long noodles during the festivities for they symbolize long life, according to the History channel. The “longevity noodles” are considered even luckier if they can be eaten without biting through the strands. I really like that idea, similar to Southerners belief of eating black-eyed peas and cabbage for luck and prosperity for New Year.
Since long noodles may be in your future, I wanted to once again share this recipe for the leftovers.
This post was originally published on April 29, 2016
Chinese take-out is something we get every once in a while, whether it is from a craving or from working a “way too late” day. The other day, for me, it was to satisfy a craving. I had a great morning workout, ran some errands, and was on my way home feeling very hungry. So hungry, I just pulled into our neighborhood Chinese restaurant for a take-out order of chow mein noodles, one of my favs. I love eating them from a noodle bowl with chopsticks. It was obvious to me by the time I ate all I could and looked at the container, that my “so hungry” feeling made my eyes bigger than my stomach. I looked at the leftovers and thought-“well, at least I have dinner… shrimp cakes!”
Almond Crusted Oriental Shrimp Cakes with Cajun Sweet-n-Sour Sauce
For this recipe, I like to add the shrimp to the food processor. It not only helps bind the cakes but also makes the texture similar to a crab cake. If you prefer, you can finely chop the shrimp. The most important step in this recipe is letting the shrimp cakes sit in the fridge for at least an hour. The cakes can be cooked in a skillet over medium heat with olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes per side, but the almonds toast really quick, so I prefer to bake them in the oven.
The Cajun sweet-n-sour sauce can be adjusted to your spice preference or use any of those leftover sauce packets from the take-out-spicy mustard, duck sauce, soy sauce. F.Y.I.: Those packets also make a great stir-fry sauce, too, so save them. Just add one packet to 1/2 cup broth simmered down.
Serve the cakes over a bed of shredded cabbage or cole slaw mix. Use the sauce as a topping or for dipping each bite. If you are lucky enough to have leftovers from the leftovers, the cakes can be warmed in the microwave to make a sandwich or eaten up with a fried egg-my choice! No, it isn’t that crazy of an idea-think about how many Chinese dishes include eggs. (But let’s keep that on the down low, for my non-egg eating hubby!)
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: Think about all the different additions to Chinese noodle dishes and how the flavor of the cakes would change. Think about what the dish already has in it-onions, celery, peppers and what it doesn’t have that could be added. Have chicken, beef, or pork in the leftover noodles? Just dice it up and add it in. Don’t have any carrots? Add in another vegetable, mashed peas, diced broccoli or cauliflower. Want to make a heartier cake? Use ground chicken instead of the shrimp. Don’t have leftover Chinese, but have Pad Thai? Use ground peanuts for the cakes and serve with a peanut sauce!
FOOD FUN: Last week I learned something new and fun. Did you ever wonder about the shape and folds of Chinese take-out containers? According to Huffington Post, “the box seemingly unfolds, lays out into a plate, and if you don’t finish your food in one sitting, it folds right back up and tucks into itself, ready to store back in the fridge” As presented here by Food Beast: Guess I’ve been eating my take-out wrong for years!