I have distinctly Northern Chinese food tastes, despite being Hong Kong born and bred, and always make a beeline for the fried noodles and fried dumplings first. That said, I won’t say no to a soupy bowl of wonton noodles if there’s a bottle of Chinese vinegar nearby to douse it in… But at home there are only a few noodle recipes that I dare to cook myself, and I’m always on the look out for new ones to try. When I saw this on the frankly quite awesome The Woks of Life blog, the noodles looked too tasty to be true… (where true = easy!)
So so wrong that this is already become my favourite home-cooked noodle dish, hands down 🙂 It really does taste as good as it looks – slick, chewy udon noodles, loaded with satisfyingly savoury mushrooms that go perfectly with sweet bites of pork, and bak choy to round everything out. Seriously, what’s not to love? A quick marinade and quick cook time means you can be tucking into a bowl of these in about 20 minutes!
This recipe didn’t need any tinkering, it really was perfect as it was and the only changes I made were to ‘Britishify’ some of the ingredients. The real trick to this dish, for me, is slicing the pork nice and thin so that it doesn’t need much cooking and avoids getting all tough and chewy. The noodles, however, I just can’t resist leaving in the wok to get a little bit of char on them, because who doesn’t love that ‘breath of the wok’ flavour 🙂
The recipe uses a few store cupboard staples rather than needing a spoonful of something you have to buy especially, and then will forget to use again before it rots in the back of the fridge, which just makes it even better still. And the marinade is so simple but so flavoursome that I’ve even started using it with some old mum-taught Chinese recipes… shhhh! Don’t tell her!
Shanghai Fried Noodles
These delicious wok fried noodles are satisfyingly savoury and, with just a handful of ingredients, ridiculously easy to rustle up.
I struggle with what to make for lunch. Sandwiches are the obvious choice but a limited rota of fillings makes them get boring really quickly. Even at the weekend when I’ve got more time I’m generally quite stumped as to what to make. Left to my own devices I’d probably just rustle up a bowl of ramen noodles every day (and chorizo pasta every night!), but Hubby keeps pointing out the inherent unhealthiness of that, so… I’ve always got one eye out for new and interesting things to make for that meddlesome midday meal whenever I’m flicking through foodie mags or watching foodie progs. When I saw (the very lovely!) James Martin make his Singapore Chilli Crab Noodles one Saturday morning I knew I had to give it a go – not just because it looked tasty good but also because it looked like it could be Eat’s Spicy Crayfish Noodles, crab crayfish swap notwithstanding, which are awesome! Sadly, the only Eat in Edinburgh is inconveniently way out at the airport which is why I’m happy to have found a recipe that is tantamount to making my own…
Other than the obvious fact that this is not a sandwich, I love this for lunch – the sweet spicy noodles are delicious cold and the whole thing tastes lovely and fresh thanks to the coriander and zingy lime juice. Despite the long list of ingredients it really doesn’t take long to make these, and that wee bit of effort the night before will totally pay off the next day when you tuck into these for lunch 🙂
My take on JM’s original recipe cuts down the sauce:noodle ratio quite a bit as the Eat noodles I’m trying to recreate are eaten cold, and too much sauce with cold noodles = claggygedon. You’ll probably still need to give them a good shoogle to loosen them up before eating (a fresh squeeze of lime juice all over helps), especially if they’ve just come out of the fridge
Sweet & Spicy Prawn Noodle Salad
Delicious cold noodles in a light sweet and spicy sauce, set off perfectly with zingy lime juice.
600g fresh egg noodles, cooked according to packet instructions
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 limes, juice one, quarter one to serve
Heat the oil in a wok before adding the ginger, garlic and chillies and stir-frying them for 2-3 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the tomato ketchup, chilli sauce, hoisin sauce and fish sauce. I find it helps a little to melt the sugar in the hot water separately before adding that to the bowl and whisking everything together.
Add the sauce to the wok, stir well to incorporate the ginger, garlic and chillies, and then bring to the boil before reduding the heat and simmering for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
Add the prawns first and coat them in the sauce, and then add the noodles, coriander and lime juice, and stir/mix/shoogle until you’ve coated everything in the sauce.
Decant into lunch containers, leave to cool, and then pop into the fridge until needed. Best eaten at room temp with some fresh lime quarters to squeeze over.
Adapted from James Martin, Singapore Chilli Crab Noodles
Adapted from James Martin, Singapore Chilli Crab Noodles
This is a bit of a spur of the moment post! I rustled these up for lunch and thought they looked good enough to snap, and the pics turned out well enough that it would have been sad not to use them. So here’s a quick and tasty weekend lunch dish, as scoffed by me today 🙂
I should start by confessing to being a total noodle-head. I love them in pretty much any shape or sauce I can get my hands on – ramen noodles, chow mein noodles, Singapore noodles, Pad Thai noodles, udon noodles, Malaysian style char-grilled street noodles, even pot noodles (don’t judge me!). But I was never much good at making them myself (except for the ramen and pot varieties, obviously) and it wasn’t until I watched the way my mum sauced the egg noodles last year, and saw her tricksy way of doing it, that I finally made any myself that I was happy with. Like these!
I’ve found that these really only work with the thinnest of egg noodles, and would rather wait until they’re back in stock than use medium if that’s all the store has. And it’s not a meat heavy dish so you can buy a small cut of steak, even half of what I’d use for a strog for example. In fact, I’ve quite happily made these in a vegetarian stylee with just the broccoli and it was still tasty good. The trick is making sure the noodles themselves have enough flavour… but more about that later 🙂
PS – I think the writing up of how to make these actually took twice as long as actually making them!!
Beef & Broccoli Noodles
A simple, classic noodle dish that's perfect for a lazy weekend lunch.
1 packet Broccoli spears (if you can’t get spears, broccoli florets cut up so that they’re fairly thin work too)
Rump steak, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic
Oyster sauce (Lee Kum Kee or bust!)
Dark soy sauce
Corn / vegetable oil
Chinese chilli oil, optional
Salt for seasoning
Knorr chicken powder, optional
Halve any large broccoli spears, or cut up your broccoli florets, and rinse under cold water.
Skin the garlic clove and put it in the garlic crush, but don’t crush it yet, and set aside.
Thinly slice the rump steak. Fill the wok with enough water to cook the noodles in, and heat on a high heat until it’s boiling. Fill the mixing bowl about 2/3rds full of cold water and set near the sink.
When the water in the wok is boiling, pop the noodles in and cook per the packet instructions (usually for about 3 minutes) using chopsticks , or cooking tongs, to loosen the noodles up as they’re cooking.
When they’re ready, pour out over a sieve and drain the noodles, shaking as much loose water out, and then tip the noodles into the bowl of cold water and leave them for just now.
Dry the wok and then set it back over a medium-high heat with a slug of corn oil. When the oil is hot, add the broccoli and stir fry for about 3 minutes, adding salt to season and a little scattering of chicken powder if you’re using it (I like my stir fried broccoli a little browned at the edges so tend to whack the heat up during this bit).
After the 3 minutes or so is up (or you have enough brown bits!) add just enough tap water to cover the bottom of the wok. Put a lid on the wok and leave it on the heat until the water has all disappeared – this should steam the hard crunch out of the broccoli without over-cooking it. Try a bit and if it’s still too crunchy for you then add a wee bit of water and steam again. When your broccoli is cooked to taste, remove to a plate or bowl and set aside.
Add a little more corn oil to the wok, crush your garlic into it and then throw in the rump steak quickly, so that the garlic doesn’t have a chance to burn. You really just want to flash fry the steak and should only need to fry it for 2 to 3 minutes, or until nothing (or almost nothing if you’re more of a medium-rare person) looks raw or bloody.
Add a couple of dashes of soy sauce and move everything around the wok for another minute, then empty the steak and soy sauce over the broccoli.
Put the wok back on the heat, add a little more corn oil, and while that’s heating pour the noodles back into the sieve and drain off all the cold water. Shake to get rid of any lingering water before adding the noodles to the wok. Chilling the noodles before trying to cook with them just stops them from clagging together and becoming an immovable mass of noodle that you can’t work with. For some reason, cold noodles are just easier to move around. Bit like how you really can’t make fried rice with hot rice, just cold. But I digress!
Now we get to the saucing of the noodles, the Chinese way, or maybe it’s just my Chinese mum’s way, but it works!
Pour some corn oil over the noodles, it helps the noodles to move and not clag together.
Add a few good glugs of oyster sauce and some Chinese chilli oil (fifi says... if you're not used to this, be sparing at first as it can be quite potent. You can always add more later if you need to, which is far easier than trying to get the chilli out!).
Take your chopsticks, or tongs if you find them easier to use, to the noodles and just shoogle them about to coat the noodles evenly with sauce while you’re reheating them (fifi says... my mum actually dons the trusty CSI gloves and gets her hands stuck into the mass of noodles to do the shoogling. I haven't been quite that brave. Yet...).
Add more oyster sauce and/or chilli oil if you think it needs it, and shoogle well again. If the noodles start sticking together then add a little more corn oil. Taste again, and if you think it still needs more sauce then have at it. Basically, sauce to taste. And keep shoogling them about in the wok until they are hot (heat hot, not chilli hot).
Share the noodles between two bowls (tongs are really good for getting a grip on the by now slippery noodles), top with the still warm broccoli and steak, and tuck in!