I spotted a nice looking pack of stir-fry vegetables in the supermarket the other day, and with a few chicken fillets in the fridge, I thought it would make a quick and easy dinner.
My packet of veggies had some baby sweetcorn, two little pak choi, a stick of lemon grass, some broccoli, mange tout and a red chilli. The nice thing about stir-fries is that you can pick what you like, leave what you don’t and also use up some random stuff from the vegetable drawer.
If you’ve ever made a stir-fry before, you’ll have learnt the hard way (haven’t we all?) that preparation is key – that’s why I’m going to literally walk you through this step by step. Forgive me if I’m being bossy, and ignore me if you like, I won’t mind
- A large wok or frying pan
- a bowl to hold the noodles
- A long-handled wooden spoon
- a rubber-ended set of cook’s tongs
INGREDIENTS: to serve 3-4
- A packet of stir-fry vegetables, trimmed to similar sized pieces; lemon grass finely chopped; pak choi separated into leaves
- a mild red chilli, deseeded and chopped
- 2-3 portions of dried fine noodles
- a bunch of spring onions – chopped into 1 inch lengths
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- a smallish piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped into match-sticks.
- Bunch of coriander, stems finely chopped and separated from the leaves
- Two skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1cm pieces
- Low salt soy sauce
- Fish sauce
- Oil – a couple of tablespoonfuls or so.
Sorry about this… 😉
- Set the table
- put your plates in to warm
- Have all your vegetables prepared as above – (you can add carrots in fine matchsticks, peppers, spring onions, shredded cabbage etc.)
- Put the noodles into a heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water.
- Leave for about 5 minutes until the noodles have softened and you can pull them apart with a fork (put a timer on this, as it’s easy to over-cook them)
- Drain the noodles immediately and rinse under cold water until they are fully cold.
- Drain well, put them back into the bowl and mix through a tablespoon of oil. Set aside.
- Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok.
- Season the chicken and add to the wok, then stir it around to separate the chicken pieces. Allow it to cook for a few minutes
- Then add the ginger, chilli and coriander stalks. Stir again for another minute.
- Shout up the stairs to get the family at the table..
- Add the garlic, all the other vegetables, and the noodles and move gently but firmly around the wok until the vegetables have wilted slightly, the chicken is fully cooked and the noodles are hot. I find it helpful to use a tongs at this stage to separate out the noodles and to make sure that everything is evenly distributed.
- Ignore the family looking at you from across the kitchen – they don’t yet realise that they’re in the presence of greatness..
- Add two tablespoons of the soy sauce, and one tablespoon of the fish sauce and mix in. Don’t be tempted to use more – with the zingy fresh ginger, garlic and chilli, the flavour is really good.
- Using your tongs distribute the stir-fry amongst your warmed plates – I find it easiest to dole out the noodles first and then top them with the chicken and veggies.
- Top with a big handful of fresh coriander, and lime wedges to squeeze over, and serve immediately.
- Sit down, catch your breath, and watch the fruits of your labours disappear in no time at all!
- It is all rather pressurized I agree, especially if you have an audience, but after you’ve done this once it becomes easy.
- If you like a creamier finish, or even just to ring the changes, follow the recipe as it’s written above, but just before you serve it, pour in half a tin of coconut milk and stir through. Garnish and serve as before.