Saturday, May 23, 2009

Spicy Chinese noodles


Serves 2

The yearning for noodles has now officially reached breaking point... This recipe can honestly be adapted to whatever you can find in the fridge or freezer. You could add bacon, prawns and peas, or peppers and bean sprouts, but for a pure and authentic experience - buy your ingredients specifically for this, it will be worth those few extra minutes of effort.

125g fine Chinese egg noodles
2 knobs fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
6 spring onions
10 shiitake (or button) mushrooms, trimmed
½ cucumber1 lettuce, such as romaine, trimmed
1 tsp cornflour
2 tblsp good soy sauce
1 tblsp dry sherry or sake
2 tblsp sunflower oil
50g salted peanuts or cashews
¼ tsp dried chilli flakes

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions — they normally take about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking: finely slice the ginger into strips; finely chop the garlic; slice the spring onions; rip (or slice) the mushrooms; and peel, halve and slice the cucumber.

Trim and wash the lettuce and cut into 1cm-thick strips. Keep each ingredient separate.

To make the sauce, mix the cornflour with the soy sauce, honey, sake (or sherry) and 5 tblsp water.

Heat a wok or frying pan over a high heat. Add the sunflower oil and ginger. As soon as it begins to sizzle, add the peanuts and garlic. Briskly stir-fry while you slowly count to five, and then add the chilli flakes. Stir-fry for another count of five, then add the vinegar and stand back as the kitchen fills with chilli fumes. Next, add the spring onions and mushrooms.

Keep stirring: as soon as the mushrooms begin to look cooked, mix in the cucumber and lettuce. Stir-fry for a few more seconds until the lettuce begins to wilt, then mix in the noodles and the sauce. Allow the liquid to bubble up and thicken, then serve.