Noodles

Chow mein with cashews or with pork

It was one of those dinners, where I didn’t quite know what I felt like, but I wanted it to be soft, warming, easy and good.

And looking at what was in the cupboard and fridge - and the fact I seem to have three packets of these noodles … well, it was going to be noodle based.

Chow mein is, I believe, just ‘fried noodle’, so you can kind of add what you want.

I made it one evening with pork, and then for brunch a few days later with cashew nuts.

I also realised I had no idea where my Chinese 5 Spice was (just VANISHED from the cupboard) so I quickly pounded up some spices to make mine - but I’m intending to get another jar as soon as I can as that would make things just that little bit easier.

I’m going to be as vague as I ever have been about quantities here as it’s just all going to taste good really, so it’s entirely up to you and what you feel like and what you have.

My recipe is based on this one from the Hairy Bikers, but as I didn’t have lots of the ingredients, I made a lot of substitutions!


Start by getting it all together, so if you have those ready-to-cook noodles (as I do today) that’s all good, and if you have dried noodles then soak them first and drain so it’s all ready to go.

For two, you’ll need:

Cooking oil

Noodles, prepared as necessary and ready to go!

1 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice powder

Salt and pepper

A piece of pork loin or steak, around 250g, diced OR a good big handful of cashew nuts

Some sliced or diced vegetables - I have red and yellow peppers and carrot but spinach, broccoli florets, green beans, mushrooms … all good

A few spring onions, sliced (in my ingredients photo for the cashew version you’ll see I didn’t have any spring onions so used a sliced shallot instead)

A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated

1 small birds-eye chilli (I don’t think chillies are traditionally in a chow mein but I just could’t help myself, so omit if you prefer)

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 teaspoon corn starch

1 teaspoon demerera sugar (or plain white granulated is fine)

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

3 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Rachel Redlaw chow mein
Rachel Redlaw chow mein

Put the pork or cashews into a bowl with the Chinese 5 Spice and a good grind each of salt and pepper.

Put the vegetables together in one bowl and the ‘flavour’ ingredients in another (the spring onions, the chilli, garlic and ginger).

And mix the cornflour, sugar, soy sauce, water and sesame oil together in a little cup.

Put a non-stick pan on over a medium heat, add some oil and then the pork or cashews - cook for approx 2 minutes, stirring all the time.

I’d keep the pork on a slightly higher heat and the cashews on a little lower. You want the pork to brown properly on all sides and you want the cashews lovely and golden.

Add a tiny splash of water at any time you think it might be sticking - you want it all to be able to MOVE!

Remove the pork or nuts from the pan and put into a bowl.

Rachel Redlaw chow mein
Rachel Redlaw chow mein

Return pan to heat, add a little more oil and then the sliced/chopped vegetables - stir fry for another minute or two and then add the ‘aromatics’ and stir fry for - yes - another minute of two! Add a splash of water as needed.

Remove and tip on top of the meat or cashews.

Return the pan again to the heat and add a little more oil … then add the noodles and a slosh of the cornflour/sugar/soy/water mixture - give it another stir first before you add it.

Cook, stirring all the time, over a medium heat for another 2 minutes.

Then add back in all the lovely pork/nuts/vegetables as well as the rest of the liquid mix.

Stir fry for another minute and then we’re done.

That’s it, really.

Rachel Redlaw chow mein
Rachel Redlaw chow mein

Add some sliced radish to serve - if you have some and you like it.

This is just a super easy, warm, gentle, quick little dinner and I hope you like it too.



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE …

Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Comfort food extraordinaire!

Perfect, perfect perfect for a grey, rainy winter London day’s brunch.

Quantities are up to you really - I used one sheet of dried vermicelli noodles and one chicken breast for two, but hey - sometime’s I’m hungrier than others and would have eaten it all to myself.

So just choose how much looks and feels right to you. It’s all going to be good (and taste delicious).

For two today, I used:

1 sheet of dried rice vermicelli noodles, soaked in hot water (bring to the boil, add noodles, remove from heat) for 5 minutes

a few dried porcini mushroom, also soaked in hot water until needed - I used a ladleful of the water from the saucepan that the noodles were soaking in

pork mince, about 200 - 250g

a handful of fresh coriander leaves

white pepper

1 red birds eye chilli

1 clove of garlic

1 piece of ginger

cooking oil - I like to use a spray oil

water

about 1/3 of a Knorr chicken stock cube

fish sauce

light soy sauce

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Once the noodles have soaked for about five minutes, drain, rinse with cold water and keep to one side to add at the end.

Scrunch the pork mince with about half the coriander leaves, chopped finely, and about 1/4 teaspoon white pepper and then - using wet hands - shape into small meatballs and set aside.

Mince the chilli and garlic, peel the ginger and either cut into slices or grate finely (I had slices today but tried grating it the next time and preferred that as it’s a stronger ginger flavour).

Also remove the mushrooms from their liquid (keep the liquid!) and cut into small pieces.

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Put a non-stick over a medium heat with a little cooking oil (I used 20 sprays of my spray oil) and add the chilli and garlic. Add a splash of water too to stop it from sticking and then add the meatballs and cook, stirring, so they are sealed on all sides - add another splash of water if needed.

Pour in enough water to make whatever quantity of soup you want and bring to the boil.

Reduce to a simmer and throw in the ginger, crumble in the piece of stock cube and add a tablespoon of the reserved mushroom water (and now discard the rest). Also add a good slosh each of light soy sauce and of fish sauce.

Simmer until the pork is cooked - probably 6-8 minutes but do pull one of the meatballs apart to check.

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork

Throw in the noodles and cook for another minute, stirring, to combine and ensure it’s all heated through.

That’s it! Serve topped with the rest of the fresh chopped coriander, if liked.

This is my current favourite warming winter dish - I hope you like it too.

Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork
Rachel Redlaw: Vermicelli noodle soup with minced pork


You might also like …

Steak + noodles w/ Thai green curry-ish sauce

This recipe is one of my frequent 'something from nothing' dinners - when it looks like there's nothing in the fridge, cupboards, house that will make a good dinner for two ... and then, always, there IS.

I was looking at one steak, some slightly-past-their-best vegetables and wondering what to make when I saw there was also just one layer left of the dried rice noodles - like they were signalling to me to use them as well.

So I did.

I wouldn't naturally put beef with Thai green curry flavours, which are much more usually combined with seafood or chicken .... so I was thinking what to do with red curry, but I wanted something with lime and I was just drawn to the green curry paste, so that's what I did.

And a quick word on using a paste ... IT'S FINE!

When I lived in Thailand everyone went to the market in the morning to get meat and fish and vegetables and also to stop at the curry paste stalls to buy curry paste - you add your own touches to it when you use it, but you don't have to make your own. 

I like the one in my photo of the ingredients which I buy from the local Thai supermarket but my nearest Sainsbury's now stocks it too, so it might be in your supermarket - if you don't already have a favourite curry paste - and if not, it'll be available online. They last for EVER (pretty much) in the fridge so well worth getting.

Usually I add the sauce-flavour-ingredients straight into the pan when I cook, but recently have been experimenting with combining them first - in dishes that this feels right to do of course - as with this sea bass recipe - so decided to play with that again for this.

It was quick and easy and really good .... do try!

For two people, you'll need:

1 layer of dried rice noodles, prepared according to pack instructions

1 steak - I like rump best but sirloin would work too

A few dashes of light soy sauce

1 heaped teaspoon of good Thai green curry paste *

1 generous tablespoon light soy sauce *

1 generous tablespoon fish sauce *

the juice of one good juicy lime *

1/2 teaspoon sugar *

(NOTE: if i'd had any toasted sesame oil I'd have added 1/2 a teaspoon of that too) *

some vegetables, sliced ready to stir fry - anything you like really - I had red and yellow peppers, broccoli and spring onions

Rachel Redlaw green curry steak noodles
Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles

Start with the noodles and prepare according to pack instructions - I usually throw them into a pan of boiling water, remove from heat and let sit for five minutes then drain and run under cold water to stop them cooking further and becoming gloopy and sticky.

And sprinkle a couple of dashes of light soy sauce over your steak so it's got a kind of marinade while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

So the noodles are already done and the steak ready to cook.

Now just chop the vegetables and we want them in quite small pieces so they'll cook quickly, and also mix also the sauce ingredients (marked in the list above with an '*') in a bowl so it's ready to add.

Cook the steak to your liking - I use a very hot griddle and like mine medium rare which is usually 3-4 minutes on one side and another 2-3 on the other then rest for a minute.

Rachel Redlaw green curry steak noodles
Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles

While the steak rests, put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil (not olive oil as it cooks at too low a temperature - vegetable or sunflower is good - my favourites are rapeseed or grapeseed).

When hot, add the vegetables and fry for around three minutes, stirring all the time, and adding a splash of water if it looks like it's sticking.

Then add the noodles and the sauce and mix it all together and stir fry for a minute or two more until it's all cooked and hot and the noodles and beautiful and not stuck together - and do add a splash more water if needed.

Remove from the heat, pour into a serving dish or individual bowls and top with slices of the steak.

Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles
Rachel Redlaw green curry steak and noodles

You'll understand, this being a 'something from nothing' dinner that I didn't have a lot of fresh herbs to hand - but if I had I might have added some chopped fresh coriander and/or mint to garnish.

Oh, but I did garnish with some toasted flaked almonds - literally just seconds in a dry pan gets them toasty and delicious, well, I wanted SOME kind of garnish, final flourish!



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Chilli squid with noodles

I've been experimenting this week with how I make sauces, just simple sauces I mean, I suppose just the flavour element really - usually I'll add the flavours straight to the pan, but then I got to wondering if sometimes it would work better to have them separate.

So instead of adding the chilli, garlic, ginger etc to the sea bass I made the other night, I fried the sea bass first and then made the sauce to pour over it.

It worked so beautifully, I thought I'd next experiment with adding the sauce to the pan, but combining the flavour ingredients together first rather than adding directly one at a time.

Oh and I thought I'd also give my rice noodles a little flavour bath to infuse even more layers of flavour!

And this chilli squid with noodles dish is now my current favourite thing to make.  I know it might look a lot of ingredients, or steps, but don't be put off, because it's actually really simple.

To make a huge bowl for a greedy one, or two smaller portions perhaps to have alongside something else, you'll need:

a couple of raw squid tubes - I always have a bag of frozen ones from the supermarket in the freezer and just defrost for ten minutes or so in a bowl of cold water

FOR THE NOODLES

a layer of dried rice noodles, soaked in boiling water (off the heat) for a couple of minutes

1/4 a cup or so of boiling water

1/3 or a piece of a chicken Knorr stock cube

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

FOR THE STIR FRY SAUCE

1 tsp demerara sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tsp chilli paste in oil (if you don't have a local Asian supermarket, it's easy to make your own chilli paste)

THE STIR FRY FLAVOUR INGREDIENTS

a piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 red birds eye chilli, finely chopped (use less or more to your taste of course)

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

THE VEGETABLE INGREDIENTS

some vegetables - I had green beans which I cut into smaller pieces and carrot, again cut into smaller pieces - but you could add red or yellow peppers or sugar snap peas or whatever you like

a few cherry tomatoes, halved - I added these just because they needed eating but I really liked them in this dish, so will definitely include in future too

PLUS ...

a few sprays of cooking oil, or a tablespoon or so of cooking oil


Cut open the squid tubes when defrosted (if frozen) and pat dry with kitchen paper then score on both sides to create a criss-cross effect before cutting into smaller pieces - rectangles, triangles, whatever you like!

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Add the boiling water, piece of stock cube and dark soy sauce to a little pan, bring to the boil, stir to make sure the stock cube is mixed in well, remove from heat and add the noodles and then just leave them to soak up additional flavour while you prepare the rest.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Add all the stir-fry-sauce ingredients to a little bowl and stir to combine so it's ready to use, and prepare the ginger, chilli, garlic and the vegetables. Keep the tomatoes separate as they'll go in last.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Put a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add the cooking oil and then the ginger, chilli and garlic. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds until it smells good - keep stirring so it doesn't stick and add a splash of water if needed.

Add the vegetables and cook for two minutes, stirring - add a little more water if needed to stop it sticking.

Then add the squid and cook for another couple of minutes - some of the pieces will roll up into tubes and they'll all look lovely where the diagonal pattern was made.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Add the stir fry sauce and the tomatoes and cook for two minutes more, then add the noodles from their 'bath' - but leave any liquid that doesn't come with them behind, you don't need all that liquid.

Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles
Rachel Redlaw chilli squid with noodles

Cook for another minute to get the noodles hot and everything stirred together - and then just tip out into a bowl to eat! 



YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE ...

Red curry with crispy pork belly + noodles

I love pork belly and have it often in a really spicy sour salad, or in this lovely soft noodle dish.

And today I thought I'd make a red curry with it ... I didn't actually mean to have this with noodles, but I'd somehow - outrageously somehow - run out of rice!

I didn't even know that was a THING, to not have rice just always there in the cupboard!

ANYWAY.

Cook the pork belly first (as much as you like - I had two slices per person) as that will take longest.

I drizzle my pork belly slices with a little light soy sauce and then cook until crispy and gorgeous - it usually takes longer than I think, anywhere from 40 - 60 minutes - and I turn them every 15 minutes or so. 

Once cooked, remove from heat and cut into chunks. I also remove some of the fat at this point as I just don't want it all, but that's just personal preference and entirely up to you. 

For a crispy pork belly Thai red curry for two, you'll also need:

rice or noodles, so cook the rice so it's ready to go, or prepare the noodles according to pack instructions

cooking oil (I use a spray oil)

a good dessertspoon of good red curry paste

1/2 - 1 tin coconut milk (I really do think full fat is better than 'light' versions)

whatever vegetables you choose, or happen to have! I had broccoli and asparagus - and I do like adding a few halved cherry tomatoes to this too

1 tsp sugar

a slosh of fish sauce

the juice of a lime

Thai sweet basil leaves if you can get them (don't use Mediterranean basil, it's totally different)

a few slices of red chilli to garnish, if liked

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

OK, so we've got our pork belly cooked and chopped, and our rice keeping warm in a pan with a lid on it, or - like me - soaked noodles ready to add at the end.

Next, just put a non-stick frying pan over a heat, add a few sprays of cooking oil, and then go in with the red curry paste.

Stir this just for a few seconds really, enough to start releasing the fragrance, and then pour in the coconut milk (how much is how thin or creamy you like the consistency - personally I go for half a tin for two).

When it comes to a simmer, throw in the vegetables and simmer for five or six minutes.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

Then add the pork belly pieces and the noodles (if using), stir to combine well and add the sugar, a good slosh of fish sauce and squeeze in the lime juice.

Cook for another minute and then remove from heat, stirring in the Thai basil if you have it.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

It would have looked nicer with the green basil, so I tried to pretty mine up a bit with a couple of slices of red chilli.

That didn't really work but what this lacks in prettiness it certainly makes up for in the most comforting deliciousness and combination of textures and flavours!



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Coconut milk, noodles + eggs (perfect for a cold day)

And then from what seemed like finally spring ... we were blasted back to winter overnight, and it snowed all day.

So I wanted a really warming, nourishing brunch and came up with this - I'll definitely be having it again too! 

Quantities are kind of up to you and how much you want to eat of course, but I had leftover from the night before half a tin of coconut milk and half the nest of rice noodles (ready soaked and in the fridge) so that's what I used.

Cook eggs by carefully lowering into a saucepan of boiling water (with a pinch of salt) and boil for exactly six minutes, then drain and pour lots of cold water in to stop them cooking any further.

Into a non-stick frying pan with a spray of cooking oil, I added:

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

1 green chilli, diced very fine (use more or less chilli of course, to your taste)

1 piece of ginger, peeled and grated

Cook for just a few seconds, stirring all the time, until you can start to smell the delicious flavours, and then add the coconut milk and 1/2 teaspoon garam masala.

Rachel Redlaw coconut milk, eggs and noodles

Bring slowly to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add vegetables - I had some asparagus tips and broccoli - cook for another couple of minutes and then add the rice noodles.

Add a tiny pinch of sugar, a dash of fish sauce and cook for another minute or two, stirring often, until the vegetables are done and the noodles hot all through.

Tip out into a bowl and top with the eggs and a few drops of light soy sauce.  I added a slice of red chilli too but just to make it look pretty really! 



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Noodle soup with seafood

Yummy! This was perfect yesterday for weekend brunch on a freezing, icy but sunny day.

So many good things in this one, and it IS simple, although it might look like a long list of ingredients.

Read it through to get a sense of the simplicity.

Quantities are kind of up to you and what you feel like, but for two I used this.

I made a paste with the pestle and mortar, gently pounding (CAN you 'gently' pound? Well, I can when I'm trying not to get the food on my white sweater ha!):

a piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

a clove of garlic, peeled and minced

a chopped red chilli

a couple of kaffir line leaves (stalks removed)

a stick of lemongrass (only the middle part, outer woody layers removed, minced)

1 scant tablespoon each of runny honey, light soy sauce, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil

Then 3/4 of this paste went into a pan of boiling water along with a Knorr chicken stock cube, and the other 1/4 into a bowl to marinade squid and prawns and mushrooms.

Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood

You could mix it up of course - try chicken instead, add scallops, have just all sorts of different mushrooms.

Cook the seafood on a hot griddle pan or in a non-stick frying pan - you could of course just add to the soup if you want to keep it really simple but I love this charred griddled seafood.

I added another squeeze of runny honey over the seafood in the last minute or so.

Add lots of diced vegetables to the broth along with a nest of rice noodles (thin ones or wider ones, both work!) for a couple of minutes.

Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood

Finish with a squeeze of lime and a dash more soy or fish sauce as needed - to taste.

Share the noodles into two bowls, ladle over the soup and vegetables, top with seafood, griddled mushrooms or meat.

Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood

This is one that once you've made it you can just play with, adapting to whatever you feel like and whatever you have in the fridge and cupboard.

It was perfect for a frosty morning here in London, lots of warming flavours with the chilli, garlic and ginger, and then the rousing citrus lemongrass and lime juice, alongside comforting broth and noodles.



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Pork belly + noodles

Sticky, crispy pork belly, with soft noodles and lovely warm flavours - this is my favourite comfort food of the moment.

Really simple to make, and really good.

Quantities are kind of flexible so it's up to you if you want more of the pork belly or more of the noodles, or to make the sauce more of a soupier texture. Or just more of all of it of course!

I'd say maybe 2 pork belly slices per person and we want these good and dark and sticky and crispy, so add a couple of tablespoons of light soy sauce and another couple of runny honey. 

Mix it all together and then cook on a baking tray a medium oven (or in a remoska, like me), turning a few times, for 45-60 minutes. You can finish under the grill if you really want it crisped up more.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

While the pork is cooking, prepare some dried rice noodles according to the pack instructions so they're ready to stir fry.  

I like these vermicelli rice noodles for this dish and mine took longer to soak than the packet said - I like them very soft in this dish anyway, so soaked mine in a pan of boiling water (taken off the heat the minute it comes to the boil and the noodles thrown in) for about ten minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water to stop them cooking further.

They can then just wait until the pork's done.

Also prepare the other ingredients:

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 - 1 red chilli depending on your taste and how you feel 

2 or 3 tablespoons - maybe a little more - water

1/3 Knorr chicken stock cube

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 finely sliced spring onions

fresh coriander leaves, chopped

When the pork is cooked, remove it from the baking dish and slice into bite-sized chunks - I also remove some of the fat if it's very fatty but that's just personal choice, so do whatever's going to taste best for you.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

Then put a non-stick frying pan on the heat, add the tiniest amount of oil - I use a few sprays of a spray oil - and add the onion, garlic and chilli, stir frying for a couple of minutes.  Add a splash of water if it looks like it might be sticking - garlic burns really easily so keep it moving and add that splash of water if you need to.

Then add a good slosh of water, crumble in the piece of stock cube, add fish sauce and bring it all to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes or so until the onions are soft.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

It's entirely up to you if you want to add more or less water, to make more of a sauce or more of a dry dish.

When the onions are softening, add the noodles, and stir fry for another few minutes - again add water if you need or want to - until the noodles are hot through.

Then add the pork pieces and stir - cook for another minute or so, then add the spring onions and coriander, stir through, remove from heat and serve.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

Finish with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and - that's it!

finished.JPG

Yes it takes a little time for the pork belly to cook, but then the rest of it is just combining a few ingredients really.

Eat and enjoy .... 



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Simplest Thai green chicken curry noodles

I had this today for a quick brunch ... needed something super-soothing (and spicy) after a very un-relaxing start to the weekend with eyebrow threading, followed by a bikini wax. Ouch!

Plus I had just over half a tin of coconut milk in the fridge from the night before when I'd made my new favourite Thai-inspired salmon and new potato tray bake.

(OK I KNOW you're not supposed to keep opened tins in the fridge, but it was just overnight, k?)

Anyway, on to brunch.

SO GOOD.

SO SIMPLE.

Not terribly authentic as I didn't have any Thai basil or pea aubergines, but hey ho, it's close enough and it tastes great!

Here's what you need for one big bowl of yummy green curry noodles:

1 layer of dried rice noodles, prepared according to packet instructions

cooking oil (I use a spray oil plus a splash of water)

a good Thai green curry paste - THIS is the one I use

1/2 - 1 chicken breast (depending on size and hunger), cut into bite-sized pieces

about 200ml (around half a tin) coconut milk

some vegetables - I had a few bits of broccoli, a few green beans, a couple of mange tout and some yellow pepper

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon sugar

Thai basil to serve would be best; coriander would be nice; I had a few slices of spring onion and a few slices of red chilli just to make it look nice really

First, get the noodles ready, according to the instructions on the packet, so they're ready to add, and prepare all the ingredients.

Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles

Put a saucepan, big frying pan or wok over a medium heat, add a slosh of cooking oil or around 20 sprays of your cooking oil and add a walnut sized amount (a couple of teaspoons) of green curry paste and the chicken to the pan.

Stir fry until the chicken is sealed and white, adding a splash of water if needed to prevent it sticking.

Then add the coconut milk, bring to the boil and boil on a low-ish boil for 5 minutes.

Throw in the vegetables and cook for another 2 minutes or so.

Add in the fish sauce and sugar, stir, then add the noodles and cook for another minute.

Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai green chicken curry noodles

If you have Thai basil, add it now, remove from heat and stir to wilt in.

Otherwise, just tip it into a big bowl, add any garnishes you like and enjoy!



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Prawn, tomato, rocket // easy summery pasta

Simplest summer pasta.

I used to make this all the time, then somehow forgot about it and my sister recently reminded me of it as she'd made it (it was a recipe of hers originally I think).

Quantities are vague really, it doesn't really matter (except what tastes good to you) but for two people, I used:

cooking oil (I use a spray oil)

1 small white onion (finely diced)

1 clove garlic (squashed and minced)

1 red chilli, diced

1/3 chicken stock cube (I always use Knorr)

Water

A glass of white wine

2 ripe tomates, core removed and diced

King prawns - I had these lovely head-and-tail-on jumbo prawns and used four for each person - but any large prawns will be good

A couple of handfuls of rocket

Cooked pasta, to serve (I make this first and add at the end but you might prefer to time it so it all comes together! I also use gluten-free but of course just use your own favourite)

 
Prawn tomato rocket pasta Rachel Redlaw
 

Put a frying pan over a medium/low heat and add a tablespoon of cooking oil, or a few sprays of oil, if you're using a spray oil (if you are, you may well need a little splash of water too to stop the ingredients sticking so just add a little as needed).

Cook the onion, garlic and chilli slowing until softened - this always takes longer than I think (anywhere up to ten minutes).  Keep stirring to stop it sticking and add a little water if it looks like it will.

Crumble in the piece of stock cube, a slosh of water, and the wine and bring to a simmer.

Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes - it should be good and juicy so add another slosh of water if it needs loosening at all.

Add the prawns to the simmering mixture and cook for a few minutes until either hot through (if the prawns are already cooked) or until the grey raw prawns are completely pink and cooked.

Add the rocket and immediately turn off the heat but keep stirring to wilt the rocket.

Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta
Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta
Rachel Redlaw summer prawn, tomato, rocket pasta

You can serve with the pasta or - as I usually do - add the cooked pasta to the pan to re-heat as it'll be slightly cooled if cooked earlier, and stir to combine.

Season to taste and enjoy! 

 
Rachel Redlaw prawn tomato rocket pasta
 

There's something very elegant about the simplicity of this dish - as in fact with my other favourite summer pasta with prawns + lemon.

Hope you love them too.


 

 

Thai prawn + ginger noodles

This is a lovely recipe - it's a BBC Good Food recipe, shared with me by a friend and the original recipe is HERE if you'd like it.

I love the sauce made with red curry paste, orange juice and zest - so good, and such a great idea.

I did adapt it a little and because I hate precise measurements (and don't think they're needed with this way of cooking) I've made them a little bit easy-going :) 

What else did I just adapt a little?

First, the noodles - the recipe calls for sen lek -  lek means small so the original uses thin noodles.  I prefer the wider rice noodles so that's what I used - my message as always is to use what YOU choose.

Whichever you choose, soak or prepare the noodles according to your pack instructions, so they're ready to stir fry.  Always run your soaked noodles under a cold tap until they're completely cold to stop them going gloopy and sticky.

Oh and beansprouts - I don't really like them so left them out, but I'll add here in my recipe where to add them if you're using them.

The only other thing is basil - in my opinion this should say Thai sweet basil (horapha) as Mediterranean tastes totally different and won't work at all. So I'd say if you can get Thai sweet basil, then that would be amazing, but if you can't just leave it out, and don't use Mediterranean basil. 

And the coriander - I know a lot of people don't like it so if you don't, don't let that put you off this delicious, simple dish - just don't add coriander! It's still going to be very, very good.

OK, so I thought I'd try this one out just for me to see how I got on with it before I make it for anyone else, but now I can't wait for tomorrow dinner to cook it! 

For my one portion, so just double for two, I used:

Some lovely rice noodles, soak or prepare ready for stir-frying, according to pack instructions

Zest and juice of half an orange (zest first before halving - not being patronising, just making sure no-one else is sometimes as dizzy as me)

1/2 - 1 tablespoon red curry paste, depending on the strength of your brand of curry paste (you don't want it overwhelming but you do want to taste it)

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon Demerara sugar (I didn't have any so just used white granulated)

1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoons cooking oil, or cooking oil spray (I used 20 sprays)

A small piece of fresh ginger, about thumb-sized, peeled and grated (it makes about 1 teaspoon)

I large garlic clove, squashed and minced

1/2 red pepper, sliced

a handful of mange tout or sugar snap peas, halved lengthways

a handful of beansprouts - optional, if liked

a few prawns, however many you want to eat, I had 7

a handful of Thai sweet basil, chopped - if you can get it - if not, just leave out

a handful of coriander leaves, chopped - optional, if liked

Stir together the orange zest and juice, red curry paste, fish sauce, sugar and water to make a sauce and set aside.

And get the other ingredients ready to go.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

As I'd used the grater for the zest, I used it again to grate the ginger - which I prefer to having larger pieces, but am usually too lazy to get the grater out! (and yes I realise that that really IS lazy) - anyway that's why my ginger and garlic has little flecks of orange in with it!

Put a pan or wok over a medium heat, add the oil and then 2/3 of the ginger/garlic and fry, stirring all the time for 30 seconds or, as all Thai recipes say, 'until it smells good'.

I added a tiny splash of water too as garlic burns so quickly and wanted to make sure that didn't happen.

At any time in your cooking if it needs loosening a little, just add a splash of water. It's good to cook when things are moving fluidly and happily.

Add the red pepper and cook for another two minutes, stirring all the time.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

Then throw in the sugar snap peas or mange tout and after stirring to ensure everything's mixed add the curry sauce mix.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

I turned up the heat a little and added a splash more water and when it started to simmer, turned the heat back down to medium and added the prawns (add the beansprouts now too if you're using them).

Cook until pink - about two - three minutes - then throw in the last of the ginger/garlic, stir and add the noodles.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles
Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

Stir to combine and make sure the noodles are hot, then remove from heat and serve, topping with coriander if using.

Rachel Redlaw Thai prawns and ginger noodles

I really, really like this!

Great flavours - and one I'll be making again (and again).



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Singapore noodles

One of my favourite dishes when I'm using things up ... when there's just a few prawns left in the freezer, or one rasher of bacon and some cooked chicken.

I often use bacon as an ingredient not as the main part of a meal, such as in this fish recipe where there's just one rasher for two people. So I'll keep single rashers in the freezer - they defrost really quickly.

So, Singapore noodles.

It's basically ALL in the prep as when you start cooking it only takes minutes, so getting everything ready is key.

PESCATARIANS! Just use more prawns.

VEGETARIANS! Up the vegetables and add some pre-fried tofu.

Read through the whole recipe first as there's quite a lot going on - it's all simple but there is a bit to prepare.

To serve two, you'll need:

around 100g vermicelli rice noodles

a handful of green beans, cut in half

Soak the noodles in freshly boiled water according to pack instructions. Mine said five minutes and I added the beans for the last minute to blanch them.

When they're done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop the noodles cooking further or becoming sticky.

Into one bowl add 1 egg, beaten with a little shake of white pepper and a tiny splosh of sesame oil

Into another bowl go the vegetables. I had half a red pepper, sliced ; a couple of mushrooms, sliced and if I'd had waterchestnuts I'd have added them too

Now into another bowl go 2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal; 1 garlic clove, crushed and minced; a small piece of ginger, approx 1 teaspoon, peeled and minced or grated; 1 green birds eye chilli, finely chopped and 1 teaspoon curry powder

1 rasher bacon, chopped

a few prawns in a bowl with a little fish sauce, maybe 1/2 teaspoon

some cooked chicken - I had approx half a breast in the fridge so cooked that on the griddle and then chopped

(What would be lovely to have had would have been char siu pork - next time I make it, I'll make sure there's a piece left over to make noodles).

Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles

Once all the other ingredients are ready the noodles should have dried out a bit so now separate out the green beans and put them aside.

I normally cut the noodles in half with kitchen scissors as it makes them easier to stir fry later, but forgot today!

Put the noodles in a bowl and add:

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

And mix it all around to combine thoroughly - I just use my (clean) hands!

 
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
 

Now, you just need some cooking oil and we're ready to cook ... 


Add a few sprays - or a couple of teaspoons - of cooking oil to a wok or good deep frying pan over a medium heat, add the bacon and cook until done.  Remove the bacon and set aside.

Add the prawns and a splash of water, cook for a few minutes until done and set aside too.

 
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
 

Add a little more oil to the pan, tip in the contents of the dish with the spring onions, garlic etc and cook quickly, stirring all the time - you don't want it to burn - for a few seconds until it starts smelling good.

Then add the bowl of vegetables plus the green beans and stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Add a splash of water if it looks like sticking but not too much as after a couple of minutes you then push the vegetables aside and tip in the beaten egg mixture.

Leave it for a few seconds - I usually count to 10 - to start setting and then quickly scramble in to the other ingredients.

Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles

Add the prawns, bacon and chicken and stir and then finally add the noodles and cook for another minute or so until everything is hot.

This is where it would have been much easier if I'd cut the soaked noodles in half! 

 
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
 

Remove from heat and tip out onto a serving dish.

If I'd had some coriander, I'd have added a small handful of the leaves to garnish.

But with or without the garnish, this is very good - and after you've made it once or twice, very easy. 

Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles
Rachel Redlaw Singapore noodles


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Tom yum noodles

I couldn't decide.

I wanted tom yum goong, and I also wanted something with lovely slippery rice noodles.

And what I really didn't want to do was make a wrong decision - I hate making wrong food decisions! 

So I thought I'd make a tom yum noodles ... and it was exactly what I wanted.

A few things to note ...

1. the ingredients weren't hard to find so hopefully you won't find them so either. Galangal (although I used ginger here as that's what i had), lime leaves an lemongrass are all available at my local Sainsbury's although it is a really big one. M&S and Waitrose are a good bet otherwise, even smaller stores.

2. t's a bit of a faff picking the bits of ginger, lime leaf, lemongrass and chillies out of the pan, so I've just ordered some of those little muslin bags you use for spices or bouquet garni and when they arrive will be trying it using one to keep those ingredients separate and easy to remove.

3. you'll need some chilli paste in oil, nam prik pao - it's easy to make and keeps in the fridge for ages but you will need to make this in advance - here's the recipe.

So for a good big bowl of tom yum noodles, you'll need

rice noodles, soaked first or prepared as per pack instructions, ready to stir fry

1/2 cup water

a piece - around 1/3 - of a Knorr chicken stock cube

a piece of galangal or ginger, skin removed and cut into slices (make them quite large so they're easier to pick out later)

1 stalk lemongrass, tough outer removed, cut into two or three pieces and bashed with a rolling pin

a few kaffir lime leaves, leaves torn from the stalks and stalks discarded (this smells AMAZING by the way))

2 or 3 birds eye chillies (don't worry, you don't actually eat the chillies), stalks removed and given a bash with the rolling pin

one shallot or a small piece of white onion, sliced

a big heaped teaspoon of chilli paste in oil nam prik pao

a couple of mushrooms, or one large one, sliced

one tomato, cut into quarters or sliced - or a few cherry tomatoes, halved

some prawns - I had 7 or 8 raw ones

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1-2 limes depending on how juicy they are and your taste

small handful of coriander leaves, chopped (optional)

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle

Add some water, probably half a cup or so (you can always add more) to a wok, deep frying pan or saucepan, turn on the heat and when it starts to simmer, crumble in approx 1/3 of a stock cube and stir.

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles

Add the ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and chillies and simmer for two minutes, stirring and add a splash more water if needed. 

Then add the vegetables and a good teaspoon of chilli paste in oil and simmer again for a couple of minutes.

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodle
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles

Add the prawns and cook for a minute or so, stirring, until they have JUST turned pink - don't worry you'll cook them a bit more later and it's easy to over-cook them.

Remove pan from heat and pick out the bits of ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and chillies.

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles

Return pan to heat and add the fish sauce, lime juice (stir and taste to see if you need more) then add the noodles.

Cook, stirring, for another minute of so until everything is cooked and hot.

Throw in the coriander leaves, if using, stir again, removed from heat and serve,

Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles
Rachel Redlaw tom yum goong noodles

I absolutely love this - I love the flavours of tom yum and I love the softness of rice noodles - and hope you do too.



Jamie's hot + sour rhubarb and crispy pork with noodles

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, recommended to me some years ago by one of my sisters and one that I only got round to making a week ago.

Well! Do I wish I'd tried it sooner?! (The answer's YES).

I've made it three times this week, twice just for me, and once for me and my (other) sister last night.  And she loved it as much I as I do!

I've adapted it a bit, mainly due to me not having cresses or Chinese Five Spice (where on earth did I leave it? I remember taking it somewhere ... ).

Oh, and not having six people to feed! And of course, I used rice noodles in place of egg noodles.

The original recipe is HERE if you'd like it.

And here's what I used to make this utterly delicious dish for two.

For the marinade

4 smallish sticks of rhubarb, ends cut off, and chopped into a few large pieces

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1-2 (depending on your taste) bird eye chillies, roughly chopped

A chunk of ginger, roughly thumb-sized, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds *

1 star anise *

2 whole cloves *

1/2 teaspoon black pepper *

(all marked with a * you could replace with a scant teaspoon of Chinese 5-Spice but I haven't tried it!).

a wineglass of water

And the rest of the ingredients

4 pork belly strips, cut into chunks

2 spring onions

coriander leaves

1 red chilli

cooking oil

2 layers rice noodles, prepared according to packet instructions

2 halves of a lime, to serve


OK, first the marinade. Put all the marinade ingredients into a blender - and blend until all blended and smooth.

Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb, pork and noodles
Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles

Put the pork cubes into a roasting tray or dish and pour over the sauce and cover with foil, or - as I'm doing - put it all into my trusted, beloved remoska. Jamie's recipe said to cook for 90 minutes, but mine was done after 60 minutes, so do check.

pork.JPG
Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles

The original recipe says 180°C/350°F/gas 4 so it might take longer.

There are no temperature options with a remoska - as with an AGA - and I love cooking using both. I've had my remoska for over a decade and highly, highly recommend it.

Yes it's a bit of an initial outlay but you'll rarely ever need to use your oven again - this is so much easier and more efficient.

Anyway, however you're leaving that gorgeous sauce and beautiful pork to cook, leave it to cook and prepare the rest!

Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles
Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles

Slice a couple of spring onions, chop a small handful of coriander leaves and slice a red chilli (as much as you like - if I'd had a bigger mild chilli it would have been a whole one, but I only had bird eye chillies so used about 1/3) - ready to add all of them right at the end.

 
Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles
 

Towards the end of the pork cooking time, cook the rice noodles according to pack instructions so they're ready to go - drain and put a lid on to keep them hot.

Remove the pork pieces from the sauce.  Heat a wok or frying pan, add a little oil and cook for a few minutes 'until crisp'.  I have to say mine didn't actually go 'crisp' but very good it was anyway - I just cooked them a few minutes and drained on kitchen paper.

I left my rhubarb sauce cooking while I fried the pork to thicken it a little more - but look at the sauce and decide if you want to stop the cooking when the pork comes out or give it a little longer if it looks a bit thinner than you were expecting.

Put the noodles into bowls, ladle over the utterly delicious sauce and top with the incredible pork belly pieces. 

Add a good sprinkling of spring onions, coriander and chilli - and serve with a wedge of lime to squeeze over.

Rachel Redlaw Jamie Oliver rhubarb pork and noodles
finished eating.jpg

I'm just glad rhubarb season goes on until about June - as I just want to make this again! Yes, despite having had it three times in one week!



 

 

Thai-inspired meatballs + rice noodles

Some dishes are prettier than others and this isn't a very pretty one.

But it tastes MUCH better than it looks and it's really simple (as always) too - so do give it a try.

I made it with beef mince as that's what I had in the fridge, but pork and chicken would both be good and change it up a bit.

Also, I used lovely fresh rice noodles as I'd been to the Thai supermarket and these are my favourites, but dried rice noodles are good, or you could have the meatballs with rice, or even with pasta. All going to be good! Prepare your noodles or rice first so it's all ready to go.

So, for meatballs for one, I used: 

approx 100g mince

half a carrot, shredded and diced

a little piece of ginger, diced

1 birds eye red chilli, also diced

(If I'd had parsley, I'd have added a small handful of that too, finely chopped)

one little lime leaf that was in the salad drawer - I just removed the stalk and chopped the leaf into very fine slices and diced. If you don't have lime leaves, then I'd grate some lime zest in

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and then scrunch it all up to combine and shape into little meatballs.

Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs

Then prepare the sauce ingredients.  

You'll need:

1/2 cup boiling water with about 1/3 of a knorr stock cube (I used chicken)

another little piece of ginger, diced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 birds eye red chilli, finely chopped (use just half if you don't want it too spicy of course)

2 spring onions, sliced on the diagonal to look nice

2 teaspoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

 
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
 

And then you just put a frying pan over a heat and either add a tablespoon of cooking oil or, if you're losing weight like me, 20 sprays of that 1-cal-per-spray cooking oil and put the meatballs in.

Keep turning until they're browned all over and if using the spray oil, you'll probably need to add a splash of water too. It takes a few minutes.

When browned, add the chopped ginger, garlic and chilli and fry for a few seconds, then tip in the stock.

Bring to a simmer and cook for around 5 minutes, then add the soy sauce, fish sauce and toasted sesame oil.

Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs

Cook for another minute or so, tasting to check you're happy with the balance of flavours, and that's it. 

Ready to serve!

Some parsley or coriander, chopped and scattered over, might have looked nice, but I didn't have any ...

Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs
Rachel Redlaw Thai meatballs


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Stilton & spinach pasta

The Christmas and festive period has finished and I've been back at work three days.  All the chocolates have been eaten and the Port has been drunk.  

But there's still a fairly good-sized piece of Stilton lurking in the fridge and I neither want to throw it away nor eat it on yet more biscuits (or on celery of course which is actually my favourite cheese carrier.  Is carrier the right word?).

So, stilton and spinach pasta it is and it's very good and super simple too. 

It's also quite rich - as it would be - so I made a quick and easy salad of just fresh little gem lettuce leaves and a mustardy dressing to go with it.  I have salad at most meals and this is my favourite dressing.  

I make it one day then pop it in the fridge and just add to it the next day - it keeps going for about a week before I tip the last bits away, wash out the glass and start again. In the summer this never-ending dressing goes beautifully with tomato and onion salad.

For the dressing just put a couple of sloshes of olive oil in a glass, jar or mug and a good slosh of white or wine or rice vinegar.  Peel and squash a garlic clove and throw that in and then stir in a teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Taste and see if you need more oil or more vinegar to get the balance right for you. 

Put the lettuce leaves in a bowl, spoon on some dressing, add black pepper and a very little salt and that's the salad done.

Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta

Cook as much pasta as you like and while it's cooking, you can start the sauce. You will need the pasta cooked and drained to add to the sauce near the end of cooking.

For two, I had: 

light olive oil for frying

1/2 a white onion, sliced very finely 

creme fraiche (I used half fat), a couple of tablespoons

the piece of Stilton (it weighed about 80g)

2 big handfuls of spinach (about 100g)

black pepper to taste

 
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
 

I fried the onion in the olive oil for about five or six minutes until soft and golden - and I added a spoonful of boiling water from the pasta pan when it looked like it was about to stick and maybe burn.

When soft, add the creme fraiche and stir in then crumble in the Stilton and cook on a low heat until the cheese melts.

Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta

Add the cooked, drained pasta and the spinach and stir in for a few minutes until the spinach wilts.

Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta

Tip into a serving dish and add some black pepper to taste.

Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta
Rachel Redlaw stilton and spinach pasta

Let me know if you make this and please do share your own recipes and ideas for using up that Christmas cheeseboard ... 



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Wat ton hor / fried noodles in an egg gravy

A few days ago I'd never heard of this dish and now I've made it twice in two days! A colleague at work was telling me about this great dinner they'd made, a noodle dish, from Gizzi Erskine's Healthy Appetite.  Another book to go on my wish list! 

I'm a Gizzi fan and a noodle fan so that was it for me, no further discussion needed - and I bought the few things I needed that I didn't already have at home ready to make it.  

Well, except for making a trip to the Thai supermarket to get the wide rice noodles it really needs (it's been freezing in London this weekend and has not been weather for going out).  

So I used some thin dried rice noodles from the supermarket that were in the cupboard and it was so good I can only imagine how much better it's going to be with those wide slippery noodles.  So much so that I'd even go out in freezing rain for them next time I make this if necessary.

This dish is another that I know might sound a bit odd. Egg gravy anyone?

But as with my recent discovery of Eggs in Masala, it's another one that is just so much lovelier than it sounds.

Another one that's just perfect comfort food for wintry days (and nights) . .. it's soft and soothing and delicious. 

Back to the recipe.  The recipe I'd been given was for four, so I just made up what the measurements would be for one (very greedy) portion.  I had to improvise a little at various stages and wasn't quite confident enough in my version to share it.  

But I was very intrigued by the recipe so searched online and found a few other versions and made mine again today with more confidence and slightly more simply. 

This serves a huge portion for one very hungry person (it actually defeated me today which is unheard of - but don't worry, I went back to it and finished it off an hour later) or two as a very light meal.  Or just add a few more noodles for two and another rasher of bacon to make it for two - honestly, I don't think it's possible to ruin this dish no matter what you do!

Prepare the noodles as required so they're ready to stir fry, and then then other ingredients you'll need are:

cooking oil 

1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon dark soy sauce

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

1-2 cloves garlic (your choice, I used two), finely chopped 

a small piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 rasher unsmoked streaky bacon, chopped into small pieces

some thinly sliced chillies in a little soy sauce, to serve

some slices of squid (I had one small squid ready cleaned from the supermarket fish counter) - I like it in slices then scored so they end up rolling up into tubes, but you could use ready sliced into rings calamari if that's what you have

a few prawns - I had four - deveined

1/2 cup or so chicken stock (I used half a Knorr cube and then just topped up with boiling water straight into the cup)

light soy sauce

white sugar

white pepper

some pak choi or other leafy green vegetable

one egg, beaten (you actually only need half an egg, so instead of breaking straight into the pan, it's easiest to beat it first and then tip in half.  To be honest I was a bit heavy handed and it didn't affect the deliciousness!)

Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy
Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy
Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy
Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy

Heat a pan, add a glug of oil and when hot add the noodles, soy sauces and oyster sauce and stir fry over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time so the noodles don't stick.  Some recipes say to cook until 'charred' or 'caramelised' but I wasn't really sure what this would look like so just cooked a little longer than I'd though necessary, so all the sauces are coating the noodles and then noodles are hot through. 

 
Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy
 

Tip into a bowl and put somewhere to keep warm.

Wipe the pan with kitchen paper if your noodles stuck at all, or just put straight back onto the heat and add some more oil, then the chopped garlic.

Stir fry for a few seconds until the garlic smells good and add the ginger, bacon and squid and stir over a medium heat for a few minutes, taking care that the garlic doesn't burn (don't have the heat on too high!). 

Add the prawns, stir and tip in the stock plus a dash of soy sauce, a pinch of sugar and a shake of white pepper.  Stir and then simmer for two or three minutes til the prawns are done.

Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy
Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy
Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy

Next stir in the cornflour and water mixture and keep stirring for a minute or so as the gravy thickens.  If it looks too thick just add a splash of water.

Add the pak choi and stir for another half a minute, then turn the heat off and immediate pour in (half) the beaten egg, stirring all the time so it scrambles . Keep stirring until it's all combined and the egg cooked in the hot gravy.

Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy
Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy

Get the bowl of noodles and unstick them a little if they've stuck together a bit then top with the lovely gravy. 

Top with some of the sliced chillies and soy sauce, if liked.

finished 2nd 1.jpg
Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy
Rachel Redlaw wat ton ho fried noodles in egg gravy

Twice in two days and I'm still not sick of this! If it wasn't for the fact I have a bacon and egg pie to make I'd even be considering having it for dinner too!

Would love to know what you think! Please make it and let me know. 

PS. Next time I make prawn balls, I'll be saving a few to freeze to halve and have with this dish. I'd fry them at the same time as the bacon and squid.



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Summer roast tomatoes / roast tomato pasta

Tomatoes to me just smell of summer

I love the smell of them growing, of the stalks, of the green and ripe tomatoes both (and I'm looking forward to next weekend and having tomatoes straight from my parents' garden). 

Add oregano - and they smell like a Mediterranean summer

And roasting tomatoes with oregano has got to be one of the most languid and evocative cooking smells ever. 

So easy to do - but as with nearly everything very simple to make that relies on flavour, using the best tomatoes you can find is going to make all the difference.  I admit to just getting mine at the supermarket but I did get the tomatoes on the vine that actually smell of the fruit. 

Halve the tomatoes, cutting out the stalk if it looks a bit tough, and place on a baking tray.  Drizzle over extra-virgin olive oil, some salt and black pepper, and some dried oregano.  

Then roast in a low oven (Gas 4 / 170 degrees) for an hour.  

Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano

About half an in to the cooking time, they started SINGING with the smell of tomatoes and oregano, making my whole flat smell amazing!  

And that's it.  

Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano
Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano

Once cooked, you can use them as part of an antipasta platter, or the base of a tomato sauce for pasta or pizza.  Put them in pastry.  Have them on toast.  Eat them in a salad. Or even put them in a jar and give them as a gift. 

What I did was make a really simple pasta dish for dinner

In a frying pan I softened some chopped onion and a clove of chopped garlic over a low heat in a little olive oil, then added the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon.  

No need to add extra seasoning as the tomatoes have so much flavour.  When they started to bubble I added some de-veined prawns, a few chilli flakes and some halved (and stoned) black olives.  

Right at the end, I threw in some fresh basil. 

When it was hot right through, I mixed it with pasta and served with a green salad and my favourite dressing of olive oil, vinegar and Dijon mustard. 

Rachel Walder The Tiniest Thai roast tomatoes with oregano

Tempted to make more today - they were so good!

Would love to hear what you make with roast tomatoes - do give them a try. 



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Pad keemao gai - drunken noodles with chicken

I love pad keemao (drunken noodles) - and no surprise there as it has my same favourite pad krapow flavours but in a rice noodle dish and with some more veg.

So the same rules apply! If you can get krapow - Thai holy basil - then that's the best. If you can't but you can get fresh or jarred horapha - Thai sweet basil - then definitely do that! And if you can't get either then honestly I would still make itanyway.

Another thing ... whilst pad keemao should be made with rice noodles, you could use whatever noodles you like. I often make it using leftover cooked pasta with shapes like penne - and it tastes amazing still.

So - this is really versatile and up to you how you pimp it basically!  Oh, and you can also use any meat or seafood of your choosing of course or have just with vegetables.

Ok, so to make a couple of portions you'll need ...

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

about 1.5 chicken breasts, chopped small so it cooks quickly

a few garlic cloves and bird eye chillies, skins and stalks removed and bashed in a plastic bag with a rolling pin. The chilli pieces should still be large enough to remove easily if you don't want to eat them.  I used three garlic cloves and six chillies

I had a few slices of white onion, chopped, but this isn't traditional and I'm only adding it as I had a piece of onion that needed using up. Entirely up to you to include or not.  If not I would definitely include spring onion in your vegetables

half a chicken knorr stock cube

selection of veg, chopped - I've got spring onion, a piece of carrot, red pepper, fine beans and mange tout

rice noodles, ready to stir fry, or other noodles or pasta cooked ready to add

fresh or jarred Thai basil

white sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce

handful of spinach leaves (optional but nice)

Heat a frying pan or wok, add cooking oil and when hot add the chicken, chillies and garlic and onion (if using).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Stir fry over a medium-hot heat until the chicken is completely sealed, then crumble in half a stock cube and a splash or water and stir fry until it's all mixed in.

Add the veg and stir ... then add a teaspoon of jarred Thai basil (or half a good handful of Thai sweet basil leaves).

Stir again and then add a good pinch of sugar, a few dashes of soy sauce, a glug of oyster sauce and a small splash of fish sauce.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Cook for a minute and then add your noodles - and yes, I've got too many noodles or too small a pan really!

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then add half a teaspoon more Thai basil from a jar (or another handful of fresh Thai basil leaves) and a big handful of spinach leaves (if using).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Stir until the leaves begin to wilt and then turn off the heat and continue stirring until the leaves are completely wilted in.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad keemao

Hope you like this recipe: it's an everyday favourite here! Let me know what you think ...



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Pad Thai (no further description needed!)

I love Pad Thai - who doesn't?! Ultimate comfort food.  But I've had a mental block about making it. Actually, that's not quite right as I've been experimenting and experimenting and trying out different recipes but none I felt confident enough in sharing, until I came across a recipe for Pad Thai on Chez Pim's site.  I then started making it slightly more regularly (I still have weird Pad Thai nerves!) and adapting slightly until I now have a recipe I know by heart and that I feel I can happily pass on.

If you'd like the original, you can find it here.

And here's how I make it.  The absolute key thing is to make the sauce first.  Most recipes tell you to add the tamarind, fish sauce etc into your wok whilst cooking and I just find that impossible. As, I think, do most people.

To make this dish easily, you do need to get everything together first.  And, again as usual, just cook 1-2 portions at a time - it'll just become a gluey noodley mess if you try and do too much in one pan.

Here's what you'll need to make a portion for two ...

 For the sauce:

1/2 cup tamarind paste/pulp/puree - this is often available in supermarkets now although I did get mine from the Thai supermarket and it looks like this

 
The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder tamarind
 

1/2 cup fish sauce

very slightly less than 1/2 cup light brown sugar (or white if you don't have any)

1 tsp chilli powder

Other ingredients:

vegetable cooking oil

about a handful of fried or other hard tofu, sliced into bite-size pieces.  The tofu my local Thai supermarket recommended looked like this (but I'm sure any firm textured tofu would work).  The tofu's optional though so don't worry if you can't get it

The Tinest Thai Rachel Walder tofu for Pad Thai

one clove of garlic, minced

wide rice noodles, cooked or soaked according to instructions, ready to stir fry - enough for two people

one egg

dried shrimp - optional.  If you can get them they keep well in the freezer to use as needed.  If you're using them, you need about a tablespoon and use a pestle and mortar to fluff them up slightly (this will make sense when you do it!)

raw prawns, maybe 6-8 per person, deveined and defrosted if frozen

a small handful of peanuts, chopped or ground

as many beansprouts as you like! I use just a handful but I'm not a huge beansprout fan so you may like more

a handful of chopped garlic chives, or just normal chives if that's what you have

To serve:

wedges of lime

some more chopped peanuts

sugar

chilli flakes

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad Thai

OK ... start with making the sauce.  Put the tamarind, fish sauce and sugar in a pan and bring to the boil very, very, very slowly and when it starts to simmer add the chilli powder.  Taste and see if you need to adjust the flavours - it'll taste a little odd yes, but what you're after is salty first, then the sour tamarind, then a little sweetness and ending with just a touch of spicy.

When you're happy with it - and if you can't tell then just follow this the first time and adjust next time if need be when you're more confident as YES it's hard always to tell - turn the heat off and just leave the pan to one side.  This does make more than you'll need for a couple of portions but it'll keep in the fridge for a week or two.

Now you need your noodles and you want them nice and unstuck.  I tend to play with mine for a bit, gently puling them apart.  You really don't want a noodle glue and you definitely don't want to be accidentally chopping them in half.  If you can start coaxing them into lovely shiny individual noodles now it's all going to be better in the pan!

So - heat your pan and when hot add quite a bit (3-4 tablespoons) oil and then add the tofu, a tablespoon of the Pad Thai sauce and the garlic and cook for a minute or so over a medium high heat stirring all the time.

Then add the noodles and a nice ladleful of the Pad Thai sauce. Stir all the time, keeping everything moving and break up the noodles so they're not in a lump. I'd turn the heat down just a touch now. Add a little water if it becomes dry or a tiny bit more sauce - if the noodle is really sticking add a touch more oil. Cook for a few minutes until the noodle is warm and lovely and perfect (taste it).

Push the noodles to one side and crack the egg straight into the pan.  Count to about 10-15 until it's setting then toss everything together to combine.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad Thai

Add the dried shrimps, raw prawns, peanuts and beansprouts and fry, stirring all the time.  Add a little more sauce if need be.  Keep it moving!

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad Thai

When the prawns are cooked - it'll only take a few minutes - take the pan off the heat and stir in the chives.

I love to serve this with the additional flavouring you add to taste just on the plate itself - so add some lime wedges and a small pile each of chopped peanuts, sugar and chilli flakes for people to add as they like.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pad Thai

Confession: I not only had a mental block about MAKING pad Thai, and then about WRITING the recipe but I've also had one about POSTING it and this has been sitting here waiting for me to press publish for ages!

Well, here goes.  And I hope you like it. Please let me know.

PS. due to the mental block, there's also very few pics on this post (I'll add some more of the steps soon).

UPDATE: I've now got a couple of beautiful pics, thanks to a photographer who came to a Tiniest Thai recently - thank you Viktoria! 

www.viktoriakuti.com



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