rice noodles

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!


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


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.