If you were to peek inside my overflowing cupboard, you would find at least 20 different types of noodles ranging from Italian spaghetti to Chinese (thin, thick, rice, vermicelli, egg, wheat, etc) to Vietnamese pho to Japanese udon and more. Just as using a specially shaped glass for a specific type of grape will enhance the drinking experience, each kind of noodle also has its own specific pairing with a certain sauce, stew or soup. My favourite at the moment is Japanese udon because of its versatility with a variety of dishes. Whether I am making bolognese, Japanese curry, Chinese stir-fry or a Korean soup, I find myself reaching for them and they have never disappointed me. I love the texture of these thick, white, wheat noodles and have found that they are just wonderful at absorbing the flavours of the surrounding sauce or broth. This is my basic udon stir-fry recipe. You can be creative with whatever meat or vegetable is in your fridge and if you have any type of garlic-chilli sauce, adding a spoonful to the stir-fry will really enhance the flavours of the noodles.
UDON STIR-FRIED NOODLES WITH CHICKEN AND SHRIMP
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
300g shrimp (de-shelled, de-veined)
1 large red chilli pepper, roughly chopped
½ yellow onion, sliced
200g snow peas (mange tout) or sugar snap peas
1 cup bean sprouts
5 Chinese mushrooms, rehydrated, sliced
250g udon, prepared according to packet directions, drained and rinsed with cold water
2 scallions, cut into 2in segments
FOR THE MARINADE
250g chicken, sliced into bite-sized pieces
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, roughly chopped
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
FOR THE SAUCE
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp garlic-chilli sauce
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
1. Marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes. Rehydrate the Chinese mushrooms by soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes, then drain and slice.
2. Preheat a wok or large frying pan for 5 minutes on medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and toss in ½ of the garlic to flavour the oil. Once the garlic starts to turn a pale golden colour, add the chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for a further 5 minutes or until the chicken and shrimp are cooked through. Transfer the chicken and shrimp to a large bowl where you will soon be adding the vegetables and udon noodles.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan. Add the remaining garlic and red chilli pepper and sauté for 1 minute. Toss in the onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the snow peas, bean sprouts, Chinese mushrooms and cook until the snow peas are softened, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the udon noodles, scallions, and the sauce mixture and mix well. Tip all the pan contents into the large bowl with the chicken and shrimp. Give it a good mix and serve.
Read Sandy Bremner’s blog at gingerandscotch.com.