During Monday night's season 3 "MasterChef" finale, Christine Ha won the title, $250,000 grand prize and a cookbook deal. But that's not what makes her so inspiring. Ha is blind -- the first blind contestant on the show.
Ha navigates her way through a world of sharp knives and hot stoves with her sense of smell, touch and taste. Read here story HERE.
Below, the chef shares one of her recipes from her cookbook, 'MasterChef: The Ultimate Cookbook,' available in stores next week.
Recipe: Stir-Fry Noodles with Seared Scallops
From the chef's cookbook: Overcooking rice vermicelli ruins it. The threadlike strands go from pliable noodles to soggy mush in a matter of seconds. Christine Ha dips hers in boiling water for literally 10 seconds before instantly shocking them in ice water to stop the cooking. Because the rice vermicelli is meant to be stir-fried, you're not trying to cook it long enough to make it tender and toothsome, only long enough to soften it. In a little hot oil in the wok, the noodles will become tender and perfect in about 30 seconds.
Like a lot of Asian dishes, this one is all about prep. The actual cooking takes a matter of moments, but that's only once everything is completely ready to go and lined up next to the wok. It's also crucial not to overcook the scallops. Heat the saute pan to blazing hot--don't be afraid to turn up the heat to high. If you're timid, the scallops will steam and not brown.
Ingredients for the Noodles:
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon mirin
1 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces dried rice vermicelli, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 shallots, diced
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 tablespoon peeled, finely chopped fresh ginger
1 pound oyster mushrooms, halved if large
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Ingredients for the Scallops
16 large sea scallops
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons chili oil
Sprigs fresh cilantro
Instructions for Making the Noodles:
Whisk the fish sauce, soy sauce, chicken stock, lime juice, mirin, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Prepare a large bowl of ice water. Drain the soaking water from the vermicelli. Add the vermicelli to the boiling water and cook for just 10 seconds. Quickly drain the noodles, then place them in the ice water to cool completely. Drain well.
Heat a large heavy wok over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil, then stir in the shallots, garlic, and ginger. Cook until fragrant and the shallots begin to soften, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and carrots and stir-fry until they soften slightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vermicelli and the reserved sauce and stir-fry to coat, about 30 seconds. Stir in the scallions,
Instructions for Making the Scallops:
Season the scallops with salt. Heat a Large heavy saute pan over high heat. Add the canola and chili oils and swirl to coat the pan, then add the scallops and cook until dark brown, about 2 minutes per side.
To serve, divide the vermicelli among 4 wide bowls. Top with the scallops, garnish with the cilantro, and serve immediately.