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:
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
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.
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.
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.