Chicken Noodle Stir-Fry

19 September 2011

Post image for Chicken Noodle Stir-Fry

I find it rather comical that I often look to non-Asian chefs for inspiration on Asian dishes. Take Bill Granger, for example. Most of his savoury recipes are Asian-influenced and, whilst they may not correspond exactly to what is served in Chinatown, they always taste fabulous. In fact, he has a way of scaling down and simplifying recipes so that the dish still reminds you of the traditional version, but it employs the trademark Aussie casualness which is often in stark contrast to the hectic energy in most Asian kitchens.

Rachel Allen is the same. I don’t think she has spent extensive periods in Asia like Bill Granger has, but her Asian-inspired recipes are the sort of dishes which I like to eat at home. This is one thing which I love about globalisation, the blurring of borders – it is totally acceptable to take the coriander, ginger and chillies from the Thai palate and apply them to a chicken for your Sunday roast. A meal which takes the best of both worlds can only be wonderful.

Rachel Allen’s new book, Easy Meals, was recently released, causing a few raised eyebrows in the foodie circle. I thought the rate at which Jamie Oliver churned out new books was alarming, but it seems Rachel Allen and others also have a talent for conjuring up recipes on a whim. Still, an opportunity presented itself to me to add to my bulging cookbook collection, and I promptly ordered Rachel Allen’s new book online.

If it weren’t for the favourable exchange rate at the moment, I would have hesitated about purchasing a book which was aimed at the beginner cook. Not that I consider myself to be on par with a Top Chef contestant, but I am a bit beyond the “add a packet cake mix” sort of recipe. And besides, I always thought Rachel Allen’s books were aimed at cooks who already wanted an easy life in the kitchen, so I couldn’t imagine how much easier her recipes could be.

But Rachel Allen’s new book is not necessarily about how to cut corners. It instead focuses on how to cook easy, non-fussy meals which are perfect for during the working week when time is sparse.

This recipe from Easy Meals is, as the name suggests, an easy meal. In fact, it is so easy that I’m wondering how I didn’t come up with a dish like this myself sooner! The ingredients include those which I would normally have in the fridge or pantry, and the great potential I saw in this recipe was that it would be a great way to use up any leftover cooked noodles.

Maybe it is just me who has this dilemma but we eat a lot of noodles at home and, because my eye is often bigger than my stomach, I always cook more noodles than we need for a meal (the same applies to pasta). I know there are implements that you can buy to measure how many noodles you need per person, but even if I had one of those, I know I will always throw an extra handful (or packet) in the pot, just in case. You know, just in case 400 g of noodles per person turned out not to be an over-estimation.

I used thick vermicelli noodles in this dish which requires more time to cook and soften than the usual thin noodles. Interestingly, I found that these noodles, together with the coconut milk, vaguely reminded me of a Vietnamese dish called Bánh Tằm Bì but which is served cold.

The recipe is fairly flexible in that you can add whatever vegetables you like – I used carrots, baby corn and snap peas because that’s what I had in the fridge. And, of course, you can add chillies to the stir-fry for extra kick, or served on the side if others do not share your palate for hot food.

Overall, I thought this was a great dish and made it again the following night, a sign of a successful recipe in my home.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Julia Levy 20 September 2011 at 1:01 am

I love RA and it’s lovely to read a post championing one of her recipes. It’s often a meal or recipe is so smart and so simple we can often over look the idea in favour of always trying to conjure up magic in the kitchen. It’s these books that often guide us back. Lovely dinner, great photos.

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eat little bird 20 September 2011 at 1:11 pm

Thanks again, Julia! This recipe uses ingredients that I always have at home and yet I never thought of combining them in this way. I know a lot of people are heavy on criticism about Rachel Allen, and of course a few of her recipes have failed on me, but so have other people’s recipes!

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Terry 20 September 2011 at 10:36 am

great insight…..i so agree with you on the blurring of borders and not only in cooking! The dish looks fresh tangy and delightful to eat.

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eat little bird 20 September 2011 at 1:12 pm

Hi Terry! This is a really lovely dish and I’m happy to add it to my weeknight repertoire :-)

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Liz Headon 20 September 2011 at 3:39 pm

Your oriental dishes always look so “clean” and appetising: I love the freshness and definition of the colours. And they’re really not diffcult to make – I should try this sort of thing more often.

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eat little bird 20 September 2011 at 11:43 pm

Liz – This dish is super easy to make and, what’s more, the chillies are optional ;-)

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Caroline 20 September 2011 at 9:18 pm

I love, love, love, your writing on this one Thanh. Wonderfully written, witty and engaging! And the pictures are always top notch! I can never make a plate of noodles look as beautiful as you do, but then I have said, that everything you do and produce in the kitchen, seems to resonate with the care taken to achieve something beautiful and delicious!

PS: Am the same with you on the noodles and pasta! ahah!

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eat little bird 20 September 2011 at 11:47 pm

Aww thanks, Carrie! The plate didn’t look too pretty once I tucked in ;-) I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who cooks too much noodles and pasta – I seem to have this inability to remember that they swell upon cooking!

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At Anna's Kitchen Table 20 September 2011 at 10:22 pm

That looks so good I’m wondering if I need the book lol.
My Bill Granger Asian book arrived today and the recipes in it look fabulous!

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eat little bird 20 September 2011 at 11:49 pm

Yes, you do, ha ha! ;-) I saw that you just got acquired two Bill Granger books! Lucky you! I was about to order Everyday Asian the other day and just moments before clicking on the “checkout” button, I could hear hubby groaning from the other side of the Atlantic, telling me to put away my credit card, LOL! Hopefully soon :-)

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Cah Bachiega 21 September 2011 at 9:50 pm

My first time here, loving your blog, it is really cute!! The recipes are great! I will try this one soon, thanks!

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Reem | Simply Reem 22 September 2011 at 4:31 am

This looks so beautiful and delicious…
I love how your food looks so fresh and clean, plus flavorful.
Beautiful picture.

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Julia @ Mélanger 24 September 2011 at 2:30 am

Great recipe! It’s amazing how some are just so simple, but my problem is I always forget the idea! LOL. Loving how you are generous with your noodle and pasta preparation. I typically do the same. There’s something comforting about left overs for me. :)

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