I seem to find it more and more of a struggle to find meals that will tick all the boxes for my carb addicted, vegetable dodging daughter. I swear she gets worse with every year. I often wonder why I even bothered with all those pureed organic vegetables, fresh fruit compotes and sugar-free yoghurts. My endeavours do not seem to have created a discerning gourmet and any influence I might have as a chef falls on deaf ears.
Anyway, her latest addiction is supernoodles. Cheap, yucky packet ones, the worst kind of junk.
‘Please Mum, they only cost 36p in Lidl’ she cries, as I sigh with resigned horror.
Since I can’t keep her from them I have set out to create my own healthier version of her beloved dish, ones with proper added protein (a bit of chicken; I think I’ve mentioned more than once she won’t eat any other flesh…she is now known as a chickenarian), real vegetables and more recognisable spices and flavourings.
My latest attempt to transform a junk food dinner into something resembling real food was a Ken Hom vegetarian classic; a version of Hong Kong or Singapore Noodles. Quick to prepare, made from store cupboard basics and with a few added vegetables is even vaguely healthy, very tasty and teen friendly.
Vegetarian Singapore noodles:
300g rice noodles (I used some super quick straight to wok ones by Amoy but you may have to pre-cook them if you are using dried noodles)
50g Welsh shiitake mushrooms, soaked for 20 mins and then drained and finely diced…(so the teen doesn’t realise they are there!!)
250g fresh or frozen peas/petit pois (if using frozen cover with water in a bowl and allow to thaw, then drain before use)
250g finely shredded chinese leaf cabbage
couple of tables spoons of groundnut oil
3 cloves of garlic crushed and finely chopped
1 dessertspoonful grated fresh ginger
a couple of fresh or dried chillies finely chopped
1 teaspoon of salt
a small tin of drained water chestnuts, sliced
4 spring onions finely chopped
For the curry sauce:
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of Pataks curry paste, I used madras
2 tablespoons of rice wine or dry sherry
2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
400ml tin coconut milk
Fresh coriander to serve
extra salt and pepper if necessary…season to taste
To make: Heat the oil in a large wok over a high heat until it just starts to smoke. Add garlic, ginger and chilli and stir fry for about 30 seconds.
Then add cabbage, mushrooms, water chestnuts and salt and stir fry for another minute. Next add peas and rice noodles and stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add all the sauce ingredients and allow to bubble for about 5 minutes until the sauce cooks down and starts to evaporate. Serve sprinkled with chopped spring onion and coriander. Eat immediately.
NB: This is real cold weather comfort food that according to the teen is ACTUALLY better than supernoodles!
NNB: If you want to make a meaty version chop 250g chicken or lean pork into thin strips and stir fry with the garlic and ginger at the very beginning.