READER REPORT:

What's on your plate?: Noodles

JARRED WILSON
Last updated 05:00 24/10/2012
noodles

Hoisin and five spice pork noodles.

noodles
Garlic and Chilli Prawn noodles.

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NEED TO KNOW

Main ingredient Noodles
Type of dish Quick and easy
Course Main course
Cooking time <30 min
Serves/makes 4+
Special options None

I'll start off with some of what I think are noodle basics and then show some different ways to work from that. I don't really ever have "set" recipes for these as they're different every time I do them.

Noodle Basics training camp:

First up: the noodles! Straight away we have untold variety in shape, size, colour and texture - this'll take some trial and error on your behalf to find some you prefer. The ones I use are thin egg noodles, which you can find in any supermarket.

Marinade:

Marinating the meat is generally a must (unless using prawns) to really get the flavour into it so you can cook things nice and fast in the wok. There are three things that are essential for any stir fry marinade in my opinion: one tablespoon each of rice wine, light soy sauce and sesame oil (I shall refer to this as the Stir Fry Trinity from now on). Start with these and you're already on to a winner. Of course marinating is the perect opportunity to add other flavours such as garlic, ginger, chilli, five spice etc, and depending on the meat, hoisin sauce or even teriyaki.

Mung bean sprouts:

I consider these essential in any noodle dish! Just throw them in at the end before you stir through your noodles and oyster sauce so that they retain a bit of crunch and freshness. They add a real crunchy dimension against the soft noodles.

And, following on from that, oyster sauce: These vary a bit in flavour. Again, trial and error to find the one you like. This is stirred through at the very end.

Optional stuff:

Your imagination is the limit here. A small number of stir-fried vegetables (not too much, these are NOODLE dishes, not stir fries), onion, spring Onion, baby corn, coriander, lime juice, basil, Thai basil, cashew nuts. The possibilities are endless.

So, three versions coming up:

Ginger/Garlic Chicken

Meat: Chicken thigh, cut into strips. One thigh per person works.

Marinade: The Stir Fry Trinity, one finely chopped or crushed garlic clove, a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger. Leave for two hours in the fridge.

Other ingredients: A handful of mung bean srpouts, oyster sauce and half a white onion finely sliced.

Get the noodles boiling and drain when cooked.

Get the wok hot, VERY hot and throw in your chicken plus marinade. Stir fry until it gets some nice colour and then throw in your sliced onion. When the onion is cooked, add a good handful of sprouts and stir fry until they are just beginning to wilt, turn the heat off and tip in your drained noodles (refresh under cold water if stuck together). Add enough oyster sauce to coat everything and stir until the noodles are warmed through. Split into a couple of bowls and you're sorted.

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Five spice and hoisin pork

Meat: Pork pieces from the supermarket

Marinade: The Stir Fry Trinity, one tablespoon of hoisin sauce and one teaspoon of Chinese five spice powder. Two hours in the fridge.

Other ingredients: A handful of mung bean srpouts, oyster sauce and one sliced spring onion per person.

Same format as above: Cook and drain noodles. Brown meat, add onion, then sprouts, tip in noodles and stir through oyster sauce.

Garlic and Chilli Prawn

Meat: Raw prawns, shelled.

Marinade: None

Other ingredients: A handful of mung bean sprouts, oyster sauce, broccoli florets, sesame oil, chopped chilli, finely chopped garlic.

This one breaks the rules of the first two in terms of marinade, but follows the same basic idea in terms of the cooking. Cut the broccoli nice and thin, but long - this will help them cook quickly. Get the wok smoking hot and stir fry with a little bit of oil intil they get some nice colour.

Remove from the wok. When the wok is back to smoking, throw in the prawns, garlic and chilli, and stir fry until the prawns are just about cooked. Return the broccoli to the wok and a handful of your sprouts, and stir fry until the sprouts begin to wilt. Give the wok contents a quick drizzle of sesame oil (about a teaspoon) and tip in the noodles. Finally, heat off and oyster Sauce to coat.

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