A sizzling chicken noodle treat you can make in no time

Ditch the takeaway and make this stir-fried noodle dish in five easy steps

Delicious: chicken stir fried noodles

Delicious: chicken stir fried noodles

 

Stir fried noodles are real family food that is fast to cook, and only uses one pan, which is always good. The dish does involve a little preparation, but this can be done at any time of the day and assembled at the last minute. Packs of ready chopped stir fry vegetables are always handy in a pinch.

November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth
November is Food Month in The Irish Times. irishtimes.com/foodmonth

Almost all of the vegetables need to be cut into thin julienne matchsticks. If you have a budding commis chef in the house, who can use a knife safely, then enlist their help. Getting kids involved always helps ensure that they will eat the finished dish with pride. 

I like to use these tasty noodle bowls as a vehicle for vegetables. Stir fried noodles have the potential to serve up all of what a growing family needs – with carbohydrates, protein and vegetables all tangled together.

Noodles can be messy and should be noisy, like the slurping sounds of the noodle halls in Singapore. Noodles and sauce are a winning combination. Think of children’s faces eclipsed by the bowls they are tilting to get every last drop of broth.  

We’ve probably all eaten chow mein, but lo mein is where noodles really get delicious, with the umami of soy sauce and the toastiness of sesame oil. The main difference is the way the noodles are cooked. Chow mein means fried or crispy noodles while lo mein means tossed or stirred noodles with a delicious sauce.  

When relying on a few key ingredients, it really is important to read the back of the pack. Not all soy sauces are created equal, so buy one that is as pure as possible. Most supermarkets have a great selection now, and health shops have some organic ones. If you need a gluten-free version, use tamari. Coconut Aminos are another suitable substitute if you are soya, wheat or gluten intolerant or need to cut down on salt intake as it has up to 65 per cent less salt that regular soy sauce. It’s made by fermenting coconut sap with sea salt and the results are like a light, slightly sweet soy sauce. 

Sesame oil has a low smoke point, so never fry or cook with it. It’s perfect for dressing noodles, or using in sauces like this recipe.

When serving up this dish, I like to leave the finely sliced spring onions in the middle of the table and my kids can add their own. You can serve it with kimchi too, or do a vegetable version and top it with a fried egg or shredded omelette. This dish is a useful way of using up any leftover vegetables that you have in the fridge.

STIR FRIED NOODLES

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

300g wholewheat egg noodles

80ml chicken stock

3 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp cornflour

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp ginger, finely sliced 

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 chicken breast, thinly sliced

2 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks

125g Chinese cabbage (or use bok choy or baby spinach)

3 spring onions, finely sliced on the diagonal

Method

1 Whisk the stock, soy sauce, sesame oil and cornflour together till smooth. Set this sauce aside.

2 Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions till just al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little sesame oil. Set aside.

3 Add two tablespoons of oil to a heavy based frying pan or wok on a high heat. Add the ginger and garlic, quickly followed by the chicken. Move the chicken around for a few minutes until it is almost cooked.

4 Add the vegetables and move them around the pan while it is still on a high heat. Add the noodles, followed by the sauce. Once the sauce begins to thicken, lower the heat a little. The vegetables and noodles will absorb lots of the sauce as it thickens.

5 Tip into a wide bowl and garnish with the fresh spring onion.  

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