I am a seriously big fan of stir fry noodles - I suspect it would be impossible for me to ever tire of their myriad forms, flavours and textures. They are a bowl of endless slithering surprises, cheering to eat any time. Midweek they make a fine quick supper.
Saturday night we had big thick rump steaks chargrilled with nothing more complicated than green salad and crusty bread. Being the greedy feaster that I am I had bought a very thick slice of meat as I find it cooks best in a grill pan when the outside caremalises on the highest possible heat and the center stays rare. But this method means we had more steak than we could actually consume in one meal. Sunday night I decided on salad - noodles with strips of rare grilled beef mixed with cucumber and spring onions and a big handful each of coriander and thai basil simply dressed with a sesame/soy mix. Loved it. It did mean though that I had half a bunch each of coriander and thai basil in the fridge and it seemed a shame to waste them.
Thai basil is such an interesting and distinctive herb. It is of the basil family but not really as we know it in Europe. It has lush, deep green leaves that appear to be almost polished, purplish flower buds and stems with lovely anise overtones to its sweet basil scent. In many asian dishes it is added by the handful in whole leaves, to green and red curries and spicy stir-fries dishes. It is different to holy basil, which has smaller slightly hairy leaves though I have been known to use one in place of the other. You just end up with a different flavour.
I had a chicken breast in the freezer from a couple of weeks ago as well as a pack of egg noodles so all put together with a few other bits from the fridge from this week's shop we had a quite splendid repast Wednesday night.
Stir Fry Egg Noodles with Chicken and Thai Basil
1 chicken breast, about 250g in weight
1 tspn sesame oil
!/2 tspn salt
1 tspn shaoxing rice wine
2 tspns light soy
4 tbspns peanut oil
400g fresh egg noodles
1 tbspn ginger, finely chopped
2 juicy cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tspn chopped chilli, preserved if you have any
1 small green pepper, sliced into thin slivers
3 spring onions, green and white parts sliced into thin slivers
1 tbspsn light soy
I cup thai basil leaves
1 cup coriander leaves, chopped
Slice the chicken into thin strips then leave to marinate in the next four ingredients.
Rinse and drain the noodles in cold water. Heat your wok then add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When the oil is hot add the noodles and stir fry till hot and fragrant. Take them out of the wok and put into a bowl. Return the wok to the heat and add the rest of the oil. When it is hot add the chicken and its marinade. Stir fry over a hight flame for a few minutes till the chicken changes colour and is cooked. Add the ginger, garlic and chilli along with the pepper strips and spring onions. Continue to stir fry for a couple of minutes till everything is hot and fragrant.
Return the noodles to the pan with the soy sauce and toss to mix well. When everything is bright and smelling wonderful toss in the herbs, incorporate quickly and then serve in big bowls.
So fast. So fabulous.