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homestyle fried noodles

February 10, 2015

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I didn’t really plan to share this with you.

It’s not really fancy enough. Or photogenic enough. Or authentic. Or nutritionally super-powered. Or anything that would usually make a recipe blog-worthy.

There’s a couple too many ingredients for it to be completely un-threatening to a novice cook and the result, whilst really very tasty and more than satisfactory for a weekday dinner, isn’t the kind of meal you’ll rave to your friends about.

But I make it every week or so and we wipe that wok dry.

(Also, you guys loved the heck out of it on facebook and instagram, so here’s to you!)

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My mum used to make noodles like this when we were kids. She still does, sometimes, when I’m popping by before work and she needs a bit of time between that and having a nap.

It was a good choice for a working mum with the two of us (and more!) constantly underfoot. She could prepare the ingredients while we were asleep, or at school or otherwise occupied. Vegetables could be washed while we played outside and meat could marinate in the fridge while she chased us out the door.

And then, when it was time to eat, she could fry like a maniac for ten or so minutes and have a hot, nutritious meal on the table. (And, by the by, one that we would eat with flourish!)

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As a newlywed (yeah, I’ll keep playing that card for a while), I’ve been working on my 50’s housewife charm and trying to get a decent meal on the table from time to time.

One that isn’t pasta with sauce. One that isn’t scrambled eggs on rice.

One that has fresh vegetables and freshness and flavours that remind me of home and home-cooking and being on top of things – the laundry, the bathrooms, the bills – even though I’m really not sometimes.

And this one works.

(It also reheats really nicely, so is an absolute saviour when I’m not home from work until past 8, have to drive past a heap of takeaway and there’s some serious hunger happening in my belly before I even walk through the door.)

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And so, with a couple of quick snaps in the fading light, my homestyle fried noodles, with a couple of tips to make this meal work for you.

Buy your hokkien noodles from the fridge of your local asian grocer. Vaccuum sealed yellowish noodles from the shelf at the supermarkets won’t cut it – you’ll end up with a horrible, squidgy mess.

If you’re using chicken, thigh pieces taste so much better than breast. If not chicken (or if you don’t have the time to pop out and get any), mince works well too! Just make sure you fry the mince until it’s really cooked through.

I’ve stuck to soft vegetables for this quick meal, but if you want to use harder vegetables like carrot, slice them thin and pop them in to sautee with the mushrooms so they have an opportunity to cook through by the time the noodles are done.

Good luck and good eating xx

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homestyle fried noodles
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3
 
This isn't a strict recipe, so mix and match as you will. I use whatever meat I have on hand - beef strips are good, as is mince, some fishballs or none at all. Add a bit more dark soy and a bit more water for a sticky, saucy version and pop whatever vegetables in you have on hand. Koji and I absolutely demolished this for dinner and had just enough leftover for one lunch the next day - that said, we eat a lot, so I'd say it feeds 3-4.
Ingredients
  • 200g chicken pieces (I like thigh, use what you like)
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp cracked white pepper
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 bunch of gai larn or other chinese vegetable
  • 1 handful of snow peas
  • 6 or so fresh shittake mushrooms
  • ½ bag of beansprouts
  • 1 bag (450g) hokkien noodles
  • 250ml hot water
  • 2 tbsp dark cooking caramel
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cracked white pepper
  • ¼ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp oil (vegetable or peanut)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
How to make it
  1. Season your chicken (or meat) first. Slice it into 1-2cm pieces then pour over 1 tsp or soy sauce, ¼ tsp each of sesame oil and cracked white pepper and 1 tsp cornflour. Massage everything together with your fingers (or, tip everything into a plastic bag and massage through the bag) then pop it in the fridge while you deal with everything else.
  2. Prepare all of the vegetables next. Wash the gai larn well and chop it into 10cm lengths. Wash the snow peas, cut the stringy tops off and then chop them in half. Wipe the tops of the mushrooms and then slice them thickly. Rinse off a half bag of bean sprouts. All of the vegetables can sit in a strainer until later, except the mushrooms. Pop them to one side.
  3. Open up the bag of noodles put them into a big bowl and pour a kettle of hot water over the top. This will help to loosen them up and plump them a bit, so they're ready for the pan. Pour the water off after a minute so they don't soak up too much water.
  4. Mix up the seasoning sauce next - stir the hot water, cooking caramel, soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil together in a jug or bowl. You'll want the water nice and hot so that the cooking caramel dissolves into the sauce well.
  5. It's time to get frying. All of that prep you did can be done ahead of time, but the frying is quick-bam-all-go-now so make sure you're ready to go.
  6. Pop the oil in the wok, and when it's hot, tip the meat in and stir fry it until it's nicely seared on the outside and looks just about ready to eat. Take it out of the wok and set it aside.
  7. Next, pop the mushrooms and garlic in the wok - there'll be some oil still in there from the chicken so don't add any more. When you start smelling the garlic, tip all of the noodles in and toss it and turn it in the hot wok. They'll sizzle and char a little bit (yes! even on an electric stove!) When they're all happily separated and starting to look like they're browning in patches, tip in the seasoning sauce, give it a good stir and then let it simmer so that the noodles soak up the sauce and start to plump up.
  8. When the sauce has soaked up a bit and there's not much liquid left at the bottom, put the cooked chicken, the veges and the bean sprouts in and flip the noodles about so that the steamy noodles help cook all the veges. You're done once then veges are slightly wilted.
  9. Tear up some coriander and scatter it over the top just before you're ready to eat.

 


  • #1
    Laura
    February 11th, 2015

    Hello hello! This sounds amazing. I wasn’t sure what ‘Dark Cooking Caramel” is. Is that Dark Corn Syrup? Or something altogether different? Thank you!

  • February 11th, 2015

    Hi Laura!

    The Dark Cooking Caramel (or Karamel Masakan) is a thick soy sauce you can find at most asian grocers. It’s not as sweet as kecap manis, though that could be used if you really can’t find it! In the top picture, it’s the bottle right in the middle of the photo 🙂

  • #2
    koji
    February 11th, 2015

    I can confirm that these are good eating.

Shez