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Chicken Dumpling Soup (Thai)

22 May

Chicken and rice dumplings simmered in a spicy coconut broth with vegetables.

I came up with this recipe when I wanted to make  Tom Kha Gai or chicken in coconut soup but I did not have enough chicken to feed everyone so I used rice to mix with the chicken and make tasty dumplings instead.  Delicious!

For the dumplings

  • 1 cup cooked cold white rice
  • 1 chicken breast
  • fresh coriander
  • 1 clove garlic
  • garlic chives or spring/green onions
  • a splash of fish sauce
  • a splash of soy sauce or pinch of salt
  • pinch freshly ground white or black pepper
  • 1 red or green chilli minced (optional)
  • 1 egg white
Bung the whole lot in a food process and pulse or finely mince all the ingredients together. Take a heaped tsp at a time, shape into balls then drop into the hot broth gently. The dumplings will rise to the surface when cooked, in about 5-7 minutes.
For the soup broth
  • chicken stock
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • red chilli sliced
  • sliced galangal
  • 1 stalk lemon grass
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
Put the ingredients for the soup broth into a roomy pan and bring to a simmer, drop the dumplings in to cook. After 5 minutes or so add some green vegetables. As soon as the vegetables are just cooked the soup is ready to serve. Check the seasoning and add a dash of fish sauce and / or a squeeze of lime to taste, ladle into bowls and scatter with a bit of fresh coriander, a few slices of red chilli or sliced spring onions.
Vegetables Use any green vegetables for colour and flavour such as green beans, runner beans, asparagus, garden peas, broccoli, mangetout peas, cabbage or pak choi
Noodles I sometimes serve this soup over noodles to make more of a meal of it. It is best to cook the noodles seperately to ensure that they don’t get over cooked any kind of oriental noodle works well, soba, vermicelli, yellow wheat noodles or big fat rice noodles. Just put a serving into each bowl and ladle the soup over them.
Tip To make your own stock simmer chicken bones with an onion, galangal, lemongrass and a few peppercorns.

Noodles with Peanut Dressing

8 Aug

Noodle salads are perfect summer lunch fare they also travel well so they make excellent picnic or lunch box food. This salad is dressed with crushed peanuts and oriental seasonings along with fresh cucumbers and mangetout from the garden, but you can use whatever is in season.

Serves 2  Prep and cook time 10 minutes

  • 2 servings of Soba or other oriental noodles
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • green onions or garlic chives
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sugar or honey
  • 1-2 tbsp rice vinegar or lime/lemon juice
  • chilli (fresh, ground or flaked) to taste (optional)
  • roasted peanuts, crushed
  • vegetables such as cucumbers and lightly cooked green beans or mangetout

In a large pan of water. Boil the noodles, for 3-7 minutes depending on the variety and packet instructions, until just cooked. Meanwhile slice the onions and put into a wide serving bowl along with the remaining ingredients, mix well to dissolve the sugar. When the noodles are cooked drain and toss in the dressing mixture. Serve hot or cold, and for a robust meal with some korean small dishes such as Green Onion Relish or Beansprout Salad .

Cooking Tip. It is important to slightly under cook the noodles when making this salad and any vegetables raw or lightly or cooked to keep the ingredients fresh so they are at their best served cold.
Noodles soba are a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat which comes in a number of varieties and flavours, the ones use in the picture above are flavoured with une plums, you could also use rice or mung bean noodles or even whole wheat spaghetti makes a great alternative.

Soba and Broccoli Salad

3 May

This healthy little salad makes a perfect spring lunch. A lovely combination of fresh green broccoli sprouts, buckwheat noodles and deeply satisfying oriental flavours.
Serves 2  Prep and cook time 10 minutes

  • 2 servings of Soba or other oriental noodles
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1/2 tsp fine sugar
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin (optional)
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • chilli (ground or flacked) to taste (optional)
  • sesame seeds

In a large pan of water. Boil soba for 3 minutes then add the broccoli florets and boild for a further 3-4 minutes until both are just cooked. Meanwhile slice the spring onions and put into a wide serving bowl along with the remaining ingredients. Whe the noodles and broccoli are cooked drain and toss in the dressing mixture. Serve hot or cold, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Cooking Tip. It is important to slightly under cook both vegetables and noodles when making this salad to keep the ingredients fresh so they are at their best served cold.
Cooks Note soba are a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat whole wheat spaghetti makes a great alternative. Mirin can be replaced by 1tsp voka mixed with 2 tsp water and 1/2 tsp sugar.
Variationsadd char grilled red pepper strips.

Prawn & Cucumber Salad

21 Aug

A lovely, fresh tasting, Asian inspired salad of prawns, crisp cucumbers with a hot, sweet and sour peanut dressing. Add rice noodles to make this a substantial meal. It is quick and easy to make and it tastes divine, perfect for a hot summers day.

Serves 2 prep 20 minutes
handful cooked prawns, peeled
1/2 – 1 cucumber (depending on how big they are)
fresh mint and or coriander leaves
fresh garlic chive flower buds (optional)
handful roasted unsalted peanuts, roughly crushed
2 portions of thin rice noodles
1 clove garlic, finely crushed
1 fresh red chilli, thinly sliced
1 fresh green chilli, thinly sliced
4-6 tbsp hot water
2-3 tsp sugar (palm sugar if you can get it)
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp light soy sauce
Mix the sugar with the hot water and stir to dissolve. Add the garlic, chilli, fish sauce and lime juice and set aside to infuse. Meanwhile soak the noodles as directed on the packet (i find that they all behave a little differently some are best soaked for a few minutes in hot water while others need longer in cold water so it is best to follow the recommendations for the type you’ve got). Peel the cucumber, only if the skin is tough, otherwise slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and then into quarter lengths, remove the seeds and chop into bite sized pieces.
Lay the noodles in a large wide serving bowl, sprinkle with a few tablespoons of the dressing and toss to coat well. Decorate the noodles with the remaining fresh ingredients, toss gently, sprinkle with more dressing and scatter with the crushed peanuts before serving.

Prawn & Bean Fried Noodles

14 Aug

A quick, versatile and very tasty noodle stir fry using wheat noodles, prawns, green beans and beansprouts with a salty fish flavoured sauce. You could make this a vegetarian dish by using tofu or courgettes in place of the prawns.
Serves 2 Prep 10min Cook 5min

  • 1 tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 young white onion or 2 spring onions.
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 1 thick slice of ginger
  • 1 red hot Thai chilli
  • large handful of green beans mangetout peas, sugar snap peas, runner beans, or yard long beans
  • Large uncooked prawns about 8 per person
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 handfuls of fresh beanspouts
  • handful fresh coriander and / or chinese chives

Cook the noodles for 5-8 minutes, or as directed on the packet, until just softened then drain and set aside. Meanwhile prepare all the ingredients so that they are ready to hand to begin cooking; peel and roughly slice the white onion, peel and slice the garlic, peel and finely mince the ginger, slice the chilli into fine rounds, top and tail the beans and chop into 2cm pieces. Wash and chop the coriander and chives and mix together the 3 liquid ingredients.
Heat the oils in a wok and when smoking hot add the onion, stir quickly, then add the garlic, ginger, and chilli keep stirring. Then add the green beans stir for 30 seconds then add the prawns stir and cook until the prawns turn pink.Add the noodles and sauce and stir to make sure everything is well mixed. Finally mix in the bean sprouts and coriander and serve.

Cooks Note preparing the ingredients in advance should not mean having lots of little bowls and lots of washing up. I prepare the ingredients on a large chopping board, making a little pile of each ingredient, so that it can be just pushed off the board into the wok as needed.

Prawn & Snow Pea Stir Fry

29 Jul

Stir frying freshly picked vegetables is a great way of retaining the fresh crisp taste and goodness of young seasonal veg. Any leguminous pod vegetable and prawns is always a winning combination for me. I make the same dish using snap peas, french, runner or yard long beans, whatever is in season and they all taste great. Serve simply with plain boiled white or brown rice or rice noodles.

Or serve won a bed of rice noodles mixed with fresh raw beansprouts (pictured) for extra crunch and healthiness.
Serves 2 Prep 10min Cook 7min

  • 12 large, shell on, prawns
  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch cracked black pepper
  • 100-150g mangetout peas or beans
  • 1-2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1-2 medium red chillis, finely sliced
  • handful of fresh herb leaves to taste such as: corinader, garklic chives, mint, laksa or Thai basil

Seasoning sauce

  • pinch chilli powder (optional)
  • 1 tbsp Thai fish sauce 
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar

Run a knife along the back of the prawns to slice through the shell, this will help them to cook, season and and set aside. Prepare all the ingredients so that they are to hand ready to through into the hot wok. Remove the tops from the peas/beans and any stringiness. Mix up the seasoning sauce and set aside.
Heat a wok or large frying pan until very hot and throw in the prawns. Cook until the skin starts to blister then throw in the peas, garlic, and spring onions. Cook on a high heat for 2-3 minutes, stir, add the chilli seasoning sauce and toss well throw in the herbs and serve.

Cook’s Note   I use home grown, dried and freshly ground chillis see making chilli powders which have bags of flavour and heat, so unless you have good quality fresh cayenne or chilli powder don’t use it, just add more fresh chillis to taste.

Vietnamese Beef Wraps

5 Jun

This is great summer food great for eating outsdoors. Marinated char grilled beef is served with plain rice noodles, dipping sauce, a vietnamese salad of fresh herbs and raw vegetables and lettuce leaves for wrapping. We ate something like this is in a restaurant in Aix-en-Provence and I was inspired to make our own version of it at home. It was served with rice pancake wrappers, but I wanted to use our large crisp lettuce leaves. Set all the ingredients out on the table, with a Vietnamese dipping sauce, and let dinners do the work, its great fun and very tasty.

Serves 2
1 medium to large fillet steak
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1 spring onions finely sliced
1/2 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted and lightly crushed (optional)
Raw vegetables choose any of the following: cucumbers, mangetout or carrots julienne, beansprouts, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced spring onions or shallots
Lettuce Leaf Wraps Chose nice clean large lettuce leaves iceberg, cos or romaine work well.
Aromatic leaves a mixture of any: fresh mint, coriander, Thai basil, laksa leaf, rocket or mizuna.
Rice Noodles 1 portion
Dipping Sauce make up a batch of Vietnamese dipping sauce

Slice the beef across the gain in very thin strips and put into a bowl with all the marinade ingredients mix well and set aside for at least 2 hours for the flavours to infuse.
Soak thin rice noodles in boiling water for 5-10minutes until they are soft. Drain and set aside to cool meanwhile prepare the rest of the ingredients. Prepare the raw ingredients, lettuces and aromatic leaves and set out on a serving plate with the noodles.
To serve cook the beef at the last minute by throwing into a very, very hot wok, griddle or plancha and cook very fast until browned, it should just take a minute or two, then lay over the rice noodles or alternatively use a table top cooker for dinners to cook for the meat for themselves as in the restaurant.

To make a wrap place a little of each ingredient on the inside of the wide end of the lettuce leaf and gently roll up into the small end to make a fat cigar shape. Dip into the sauce and munch.

Use rice pancakes as wrapping. These are bought dry and soaked in warm water until soft. Wrapped with a rice wrapper these make great picnic food.
original post Mas du Diable 5/6/2007

Pad Thai

21 May

Pad Thai is probably the best known Thai noodle dish, and rightly so. The flavourings are a special blend of sour tamarind, sweet palm sugar, salty fish sauce or shrimp paste, garlic, chilli, shallots or spring onions, roast ground peanuts and preserved vegetables. To which all kinds of vegetables can be added including all forms or oriental leaves, beansprouts, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, mangetout along with any combination of protein such as tofu, chicken, pork, dried shrimp or prawns. This version uses pork and dried prawns, home made salted radish preserve, beansprouts, pak choi and garlic chives.
Serves 2 large portions or 4 regular portions

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 tbsp dried shrimps
  • 1 pork chop, cut off the bone and finely sliced.
  • 1-2 tbsp salted turnip or radish
  • 200g medium or large dried flat rice noodles
  • 2 red hot chillis, finely sliced
  • 2 handfuls of pak choi (or other vegetables)
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, roasted and crushed
  • small bunch of garlic chives, chopped
  • 2 handfuls bean sprouts
  • Garnish with any combination of: crushed peanuts, bean sprouts, cucumber match sticks, grated carrots or lime wedges

Pad-Thai Sauce (4 tbsp)

  • 1 tsp tamarind concentrate (or juice of half a lime)
  • 1/4 cake palm sugar or 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 ladle of hot water
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce

As with any stir fried dish it is best to prepare all the ingredients in advance as the cooking process should be quick fire. When everything is in place the cooking is very simple.

Mix together the sauce ingredients and set aside. Soak the noodles in cold water for 10 minutes, or cook as directed on the packet, drain and set aside. Prepare all the other ingredients ready to hand.

Heat the oil in a wok, add the garlic and dried shrimps stir-fry until fragrant. Add the pork and stir until the meat starts to colour. Then add the onion, chilli , pak choi and fry for 1 minute or so then add the salted radish and noodles, stir well and pour in the sauce, keep stirring until everything is well mixed. The noodles should be soft, if they are not add a little cold water and stir again.

Finally add the peanuts, garlic chives, and bean sprouts, toss and serve topped with your choice of garnish.

Variation Some recipes have an egg or two stirred into the mixture towards the end of cooking, but i prefer it without the egg.

Cooks Note Preserved turnip/radish can be bought in oriental shops but you can easily make your own Salted Radish Preserves

Beef Noodle Soup (Vietnamese)

1 May

Phở Bò is the classic Vietnamese noodle soup dish. Flat wide rice noodles served in a bowl of delicately spiced beef broth with thin slivers of beef and garnishes of aromatic fresh herbs and vegetables. In spring it is lunchtime staple in our house, thanks to a special Phở stock paste I found in an Asian grocers, which makes it even easier to knock out this tasty lunch.

Serves 2 Prep & Cook 20min
Phở Bò Stock 1 tbsp of paste to 2 pints of hot water
Beef steak
1 tsp each of soy sauce and fish sauce
Wide flat rice noodles (2 portions)
1 onion thinly sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Garnishes The traditional Vietnamese garnishes are; green onions, white onions, coriander, Thai basil, saw leaf herb (Eryngium foetidum), mint, lime segments, bean sprouts, and sliced red chilli peppers. As some of these can be difficult to come by we use all kinds of aromatic leaves including: sorrel, garlic chives, angelica, dill, chervil, fennel tops as well as sprouted spice seeds such as fennel, onion and fenugreek.

Slice the steak against the grain very thinly and marinade in the soy and fish sauce while you prepare the rest of the dish. Soak the noodles in water for 15 minutes or as directed on the packet, rinse and drain. Meanwhile prepare the garnishes. Just before you are ready to assemble the dish, drop the noodles into boiling water for a further 2 minutes or so then drain and divide equally between bowls, scatter with some of the onions, marinated beef and some chopped coriander. Ladle the boiling stock over to cover and serve with a plate of garnishes. The garnishes are generally provided on a separate plate, along with; hoisin sauce, chilli sauce or fish sauce, allowing diners to adjust the soup’s flavour to their taste.

Variation I like to add a handful of greens such as spinach, green beans, asparagus whatever is in season, to each bowl they cook in the hot broth and are delicious. You can also speed up preparation even further by dropping the noodles straight into the stock to boil for 3-7 minutes (depending on the type of noodle) then ladle out and garnish.
COOK’S TIP If you don’t have the paste or prefer to make fresh stock; boil up some beef bones or cheap cuts with an onion, a few slivers of ginger, some star anise, cloves and fish sauce, covered for at least an hour, strain and it is ready to use.
Cook’s Note Some sources claim the name phở is derived from the French soup pot au feu. To read more about the origins of phở visit this website dedicated to the appreciation of phở
Phofever or read this article in the San Francisco Chronicle A Bowl of Pho 


Asian Rice Noodle Salad

19 Apr

Perfectly fresh, crunchy, light and spicy a great summer lunch. Use whatever vegetables you have in season and just shred or grate them raw into the mix. It can form the base for loads of different dishes with toppings of fried meats, seafood or tofu and makes a great packed lunch or picnic food.
Serves 2 (4 as a starter) Cook 5 min Prep 5min

  • 2 portions of thin Rice noodle
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1-2 carrots grated
  • 2 handfuls beansprouts
  • handful mangetout peas
  • 1 tbsp Chinese or regular chives, chopped
  • 1 tbsp shredded mint or coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp roasted pumpkin seed or roasted peanuts crushed
  • 2 tbsp Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese Dipping Sauce)

Cook the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes or as directed on the packet, rinse in cold water and set aside to drain. Add 1 tbsp of the Nuoc Cham sauce toss to coat and set the noodles aside. The noodles can be left like this until ready to use up to 24 hours in the fridge.
When you are ready to make the salad simply chop up and grate all the vegetables and herbs mix through the noodles, sprinkle with remaining dressing and scatter pumpkin seeds or peanuts over the top.