Tag Archives: noodles

Recipe: Lemon and Coriander Noodle Soup

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This is a simple, fragrant soup with sour and hot notes. it makes a lightening-quick, great tasting, lunch or supper. You can add more vegetables to this if you want, but I’ve kept it simple with only the flavour of lemon, coriander and chilli.

I have assumed you’ll be using the type of noodles that come already portioned in nests or bundles of noodles. If you don’t have that type of noodle, you’ll need about 80g per person.

 photo Lemon20amp20Coriander20Soup_zpsjvvedo6g.jpg

Ingredients
2 portions noodles (about 80g each)
500ml vegetable stock
1/2 chilli, chopped
25g fresh coriander, chopped
100g tofu, diced
Juice of 1 lemon
Sesame oil

Cook the noodles according to packet instructions.
Drain into a colander and cool under a running cold tap.
Set aside.
Heat the vegetable stock in a saucepan.
When it is simmering add the chilli, coriander, tofu and the lemon juice.
Simmer for 5 minutes.
Season with salt.
Divide the noodles into two serving bowls.
Pour the soup over the noodles.
Serve with a little sesame oil drizzled over the top.

Serves 2 for lunch

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Recipe: Curried Coconut and Noodle Soup

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This is another mid-week recipe. You can spot these because they use curry powder and pre-cooked noodles. This recipe uses two ingredients that are fast becoming staples in my kitchen: coconut milk and fresh rice noodles. There are a lot of vegetables in this dish, some cooked in the coconut and curry broth and some added as it is served.

This is really quick and really tasty. You can ring the changes depending on what you have in the fridge so it is endlessly adaptable when you don’t have time to shop.

Rice noodles in curry coconut broth photo DSCN1129_zpsb1f631f2.jpg

Ingredients
60g tofu, cubed
1 tbsp curry powder/paste
150ml coconut milk
350ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
150g rice noodles
handful bean sprouts
6 sugar snap peas, or mangetout, sliced lengthways
1/2 little gem lettuce, shredded
3-4 slices red onion, sliced
1 spring onion, sliced
1 red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp coriander, chopped
1 lime wedge

Heat some oil in a large saucepan and add the tofu.
Fry for a few seconds and then stir in the curry powder or paste.
Make sure that the tofu is coated in the spice mix and let it cook for a few minutes.
Add the coconut milk, vegetable stock and soy sauce and bring to a simmer.
Stir in the noodles, bean sprouts and sugar snap peas.
Bring back to the simmer and let cook for a minute. You’re not actually cooking anything, just heating things through.
Just before serving, turn off the heat and stir in the lettuce.
Serve in a large bowl with the red onion, spring onion, chilli and coriander placed on top as a garnish.
Add a lime wedge for squeezing.

Serves 1

Recipe: Singapore Noodles

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Singapore Noodles or Singapore Style Vermicelli has long been a favourite of mine from Chinese take-away menus. Wanting to make the authentic thing I asked a Singaporean friend of mine for the recipe. She’d never heard of it. It turns out it’s a Cantonese dish, so here’s my inauthentic version of something that was never really authentic in the first place! Tastes great though.

A few notes about this. I’ve used the packet cooked noodles you can find next to the salads in most supermarkets, but you can use the dried rice noodles if that’s what you have (cook them according to their packet and then let them go cold). I’ve used more oil in this than I normally would in a stir-fry, it shouldn’t be swimming in oil, but you need a fair amount for it to work. I’ve put more vegetables in this than I normally see in a take-away version, but this should remain a noodle dish rather than a stir-fry vegetable dish.

This recipe is for one. When I’ve tried to make this for two it’s ended up as a soggy mess. I think that’s because domestic woks and cookers just don’t get hot enough. If you’re cooking this for two – make one and then do another batch. It takes less than five minutes to cook anyway.

Singapore Noodles photo DSCN1090_zpsf2948d0f.jpg

Ingredients
2-3 tbsp oil
1/4 onion, finely sliced
1/4 red pepper, finely sliced
handful bean sprouts
1/2 chilli, sliced
6 mangetout or sugar snap peas, finely sliced
4 closed cup mushrooms, quartered
1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp curry powder
150g cooked rice noodles
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp coriander

Heat a wok and then pour in the oil.
When the oil is really hot, add the vegetables and stir for a minute.
Add the rice wine and stir for another minute.
Add the curry powder and stir until all the vegetables are coated in it.
Then add the noodles and the soy sauce.
Stir for a couple of minutes until the noodles are heated through and are coated in the curry sauce.
Serve with the coriander sprinkled over the top.

Serves 1

Recipe: DIY Healthy Pot Noodles

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This is a gem of an idea, I only wish I’d thought of it, but the honours must go to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and the River Cottage Veg Every Day recipe book. It’s a great lunch to take to work because you can prepare it the night before and it only needs boiling water to cook it. There isn’t a work place in the country that doesn’t have a kettle!

You can use any thin noodle, but the instant noodles (which are the cheapest as well) cook the quickest, which is important as you have soft green leaves that wilt very quickly. I think the secret to the success is how you make your layers, the flavour goes at the bottom, followed by the noodles and then the crunchy vegetables with the green leaves on top. You also need a sealable pot or mug about 500ml in size.

I couldn’t believe how well this worked, and it cost pennies to make versus the £5+ I’ve spent on something similar from a food outlet near my office.

DIY Pot Noodle photo IMG_0478_zps02f75b08.jpg

Ingredients
1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon powder, or 1/4 vegetable stock cube
1 tsp soy sauce
Dash of chilli sauce, or tabasco
2 slices of lemon, or lime
Slice of fresh ginger
3-4 slices of fresh chilli
Packet of instant noodles, broken into pieces to fit your container
50g tofu, cut into cubes
1 spring onion, chopped
3 cm length of cucumber, deseeded and cut into matchsticks
3 cm carrot, cut into matchsticks
3 cm courgette, cut into matchsticks
1/2 little gem lettuce, shredded
1 tsp chopped coriander

Add the bouillon powder, soy sauce, chilli sauce, lemon, ginger and chilli to the bottom of your container.
Break the noodles into pieces so that they fit the container and put them on top of your stock base.
Add the tofu and then the vegetables, leaving the lettuce and coriander until last.
Put the lid on.
When you are ready to eat, pour boiling water into the container until the noodles are covered.
Put the lid back on and leave to stand for 5 minutes.
Remove the lid and stir thoroughly before eating.

Serves 1 for lunch

Quick Bites: Tofu Noodles with Sweet Chilli Sauce

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This is a bit of a late night, back from the pub snack. It was inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe, so that makes it a bit more respectable! However, I’m not going to give precise measurements to keep in with the unrespectable aspects of this recipe.

Tofu Noodles with Sweet Chilli Sauce photo DSCN0669_zpsbc8302ce.jpg

Ingredients
Noodles
Tofu
Sweet chilli sauce
Soy sauce
Spring onion, chopped
Crisp lettuce, shredded
Coriander, chopped

Put the noodles on to boil. While they’re cooking head a little oil in a small frying pan over a medium heat. Add the tofu and heat through. Add 2-3 tablespoons of sweet chilli sauce and about a tablespoon of soy sauce. When the sauce starts to bubble stir in the spring onion and a handful of the lettuce. Once the noodles have cooked, drain them and put in a serving bowl. Pour the sauce over them and garnish with the chopped coriander.

Serves 1 as a late supper, or snack at any time

Restaurant Review: Tonkotsu

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I think my first bowl of ramen was at Tampopo on Manchester’s Albert Square in the late 90’s. I’ve been quietly addicted to the combination of slippery noodles in hot broth ever since. When I left Manchester Wagamama has been my consistent source of a ramen-fix, but I’ve always known there was better out there.

I have found it at Tonkotsu on Dean Street in Soho.
The place is small and busy at 7pm on a Monday evening. There is a first floor (according to other bloggers) but my friend and I were shown to a shared table next to another couple. The decor is all unvarnished wood and metal grills – a bit industrial, but pleasant enough in dim lighting.

As the dining room is small, so is the menu. There are three mains: Tonkotsu ramen, Tokyo ramen and Miso and Shimeji Mushroom ramen (the veggie one). I suppose there aren’t many restaurants that can claim that 1/3 of their menu is vegetarian! Joking aside there are a good proportion of vegetarian side dishes to go with it.

I ordered the miso ramen and a plate of shiitake and bamboo shoot gyoza to share with my friend.

The gyoza arrived first. The dumplings were stuck together with the crispy side up. The shiitake filling was rich and savoury, but needed some of the chilli oil (on the table as a condiment) to give it a lift.

Tonkotsu, Miso & Shimeji Mushroom ramen - I think I scored a double-yolk on the egg!

There was no need for any condiments to boost the main course. The noodles were soft but springy at the same time, the mushrooms were cooked but still had bite and texture, the seasoned egg was firm with a soft yolk and a rich flavour, but it was the stock that blew me away. I’ve had miso before – savoury, umami but with flavours in the tenor range, maybe a bit of baritone. This miso was definitely in the bass section. It was deep, satisfying, mouthfilling. My friend loved the tonkotsu stock, but I didn’t feel I was being shortchanged by having the vegetarian option, not at all.

If they’re getting the ramen right, they’re also getting the service right. It was prompt, friendly and attentive. Table-turnover was pretty quick, and there’s an eat-up-and-go culture to noodle places, but when my friend and I made it clear we wanted to linger a bit we never felt pressured to leave.

I’ve never eaten ramen in Japan, so I’ll let other, more knowledgable, people speak to the authenticity of the ramen. I don’t care. I’ll be too busy thinking up excuses to go back.

Dinner for two, including beer and service came to £38.60.

Tonkotsu
63 Dean Street
London
W1D 4QG
0207 437 0071

Restaurant Review: Pho, Wardour St

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I don’t know what it is about noodles, but I love them, especially soup noodles. Maybe it’s the texture, maybe it’s freshness of ingredients, maybe it’s the danger of the whole lot tipping into your lap, but since my first taste of Tom Yam at Manchester’s Tampopo, I’ve been hooked.

Wagamama’s, of course, will do for a quick fix, but I’m always on the lookout for something different. The latest place on the noodles trail was Pho in Wardour St.

Maybe Friday night wasn’t the most sensible time to go visiting a new restaurant, but there were only two of us and we got there just after 6:30pm. It was already full. We had to wait just over 15 minutes for a table, although to be fair, we could have been seated immediately if we’d been happy with the high-stools at the communal table.

We got seated near the door and so had a good view of everyone else coming in and being told how long they had to wait. It was nearly 40 minutes at one point for a table of four. I think you can safely say the place is popular. They don’t do bookings, either. Don’t show up at 8pm with a party of ten and expect to get seated, at all. (And yes, we did see this happen!)

The menu from a veggie perspective is brilliant. How many places give you the option to have veggie stock and say which sauces are OK for you to eat?

I went for the Cha Gio Chay (veggie spring rolls).
Cha Gio Chay, Veggie Fried Spring Rolls
They weren’t the crispest I’d ever had, but they were nice and chewy. Quite often veggie spring rolls are heavy on the beansprouts and light on internal texture. These were very satisfying, so much so that I had to check with my companion that I had ordered the veggie version.

I suppose at my first visit to a place called Pho, I should have tried the pho. I nearly did, but Bun Chay Hue was described as hot and spicy. I will crawl over broken glass for something described as hot and spicy.
Bun Chay Hue, Hot and Spicy Tofu and Mushroom Soup
Not pictured there is the little plate with beansprouts, coriander, basil, mint and red birdseye chillis to customise the soup. It was lovely. The broad, rice noodles were soft but not squishy. There was plenty of tofu compared to mushrooms. The stock was flavourful and with enough heat not to need the chillis on the side (but I did anyway!)

My one gripe is that the noodles came with one of those bamboo ladle things. I don’t know why restaurants do this. There are other ‘authentic’ spoons that don’t mean you have to hold something up past your ear to get some soup into you.

I had the coconut ice-cream to finish with, which was nice, but unremarkable. My companion had the strawberry and basil sorbet, which was much better. However, next time I think I’ll try the iced coffee. They also serve weasel-pooh coffee!

I really liked Pho. It was cosy without feeling that you were sitting at your neighbours’ table. The lighting was a bit subdued, hence the less than stellar quality of the photos for this post. I only had my iphone with me, next time I’ll take a camera with a flash.

The meal for two with fruit juice and tea came to £46 including service.

I’ll be back. Several times, I should think. There’s quite a few more entries on that menu I want to try.