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5 Ingredients. 5 Minutes. 5 Meals. – Simple Noodles
Post written by jules from stonesoup | minimalist home cooking. Follow her on Twitter.
I love pasta.
Simple, comforting, versatile and inexpensive it’s easy to see why it’s on high rotation in most family dinner repetoires. But sometimes pasta can get a little boring week after week. Which is when I look to Asia and the wonderful of world of noodles for inspiration to freshen things up.
From fresh hokkien noodles, to dried rice sticks to soft Japanese udon noodles. There are so many options to choose from. And they’re fast. No need to boil for 10 minutes or more like pasta, just pour over some boiling water, soak for a few minutes and serve.
I know the thing that holds me back from cooking Asian food is the long ingredient lists and the thought of having to buy a whole heap of different sauces that I’m only going to use every now and then. So I’ve tried to keep things simple. To cook all 5 dishes you’ll only need three sauces – soy, fish and oyster. If you haven’t cooked Asian before I’d urge you to at least invest in a bottle of soy sauce and start from there.
So why not surprise the family with some noodle fun?
japanese noodle soup with spinach
Udon noodles a lovely fat white Japanese wheat noodles. I’m still not sure how they can be all soft and fresh looking but come in packs that don’t need refrigerating. Noodle magic?
They are brilliant to have on hand for a quick meal. Just add in some some soy sauce lemon and baby spinach for a deeply satisfying nutritious dinner.
1 chicken breast, finely sliced into ribbons
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 packet udon noodles (7oz or 200g)
1 packet baby spinach leaves or 1 small bunch english spinach
Bring 2 cups water to the boil in a medium saucepan. Add chicken and simmer for 1-2 minutes or until cooked. Scoop out chicken with a slotted spoon and divide between 2 bowls.
Return broth to the heat and add noodles, soy and spinach. Stir to break up the noodles and let the spinach wilt. You might need to add the spinach in batches. Don’t worry it will fit in as it wilts.
Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, stir and taste. Keep adding lemon until it tastes fresh and zesty. Pour soup over the chicken and serve hot.
2 minute noodles with bok choy & oyster sauce
If the thought of using 2 minute noodles disturbs you, by all means try another noodle but I was pleasantly surprised how lovely they were with the fresh greens and the savoury sauce.
If you can’t find bok choy, any other asian greens would work or you could just use a big bunch of English spinach.
1 packet 2 minute noodles – chicken flavour
1 bunch baby bok choy, separated into individual leaves
1/3 cup oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Place about 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and add the flavour sachet from the noodles and bring to the boil. Add bok choy and noodles and simmer for 2 minutes until noodles are cooked and the bok choy is wilted. Drain and return to the pan. Stir through oyster sauce and oil and serve hot.
Laksa is a wonderful coconut milk based noodle soup that hails from Malaysia. These days you can get commercial laska or other Thai curry pastes that take all the hard work out of it.
I’ve used Singapore noodles in this recipe which are a fine version of fresh hokkien noodles but I have eaten laksa with rice noodles and even a combination of the two so feel free to substitute.
I’ve cheated a little on the 5 ingredient rule by including ‘mixed chopped vegetables’ as a single ingredient. I actually used a carrot, a zucchini and a red pepper, all cut into little batons. Chicken laksa is also really popular. Prawn or shrimps are lovely cooked in the spicy fragrant coconut broth.
3/4lb (350g) fresh Singapore noodles
2oz (60g) Laksa paste or other Thai curry paste
1 large can (1 1/2 cups) coconut cream
2 cups mixed chopped vegetables (see note above)
handful fresh basil leaves
Place noodles in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for 1 minute then massage to loosen into individual strands. Drain.
Meanwhile heat 2 tablespoons of peanut or other vegetable oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add curry paste and stir fry for 30 seconds. Quickly add coconut cream and 2 cups boiling water. Bring to the boil and add vegetables. Simmer for 2 minutes or until vegetables are cooked to your liking.
To serve, divide noodles between 3 bowls. Pour over soup and vegetables and top with basil leaves
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