26 February 2014

Prawn noodle stir fry - it's a stir fry, with prawns and noodles!

It really is that simple - a noodle stir fry that involves lovely veggies and juicy prawns - and the prawns don't even need to be raw.  That gets a big thumbs up from me.

Now oddly, this recipe contains very similar veggies to yesterday's gnocchi dish - which makes the shopping both simple and relatively economic.  After all, how many times have you bought a pack of three peppers because you needed two and the three were cheaper?  You always wind up with one pepper that has no home to go to - so using them across two recipes is really useful!  Still, it's not often that you can travel from an Italian inspired recipe to a Chinese inspired recipe and use some of the same ingredients!

The original recipe - and I really haven't tweaked this one much at all - came from the allrecipes.co.uk site again.  You can see the original here, if you're curious.

The sheer bliss of this recipe is that it takes under an hour from sighing heavily and getting onto your feet to make dinner, to settling down with your fork in your hand.  Not many really tasty dishes have that claim to fame!  Such is the joy of stir fries - really speedy cooking as a matter of necessity.

So what did I change in this recipe?  Well, for starters, I chargrilled the two red peppers that I used in it - and yes, the use of a second pepper isn't in the original recipe either.  If you're not bothered by the skins of peppers then don't worry about following suit - but chargrilling (putting the whole pepper under the grill until the skin burns and blisters) not only removes the skin but gives the pepper a lovely sweet intensity.  It also speeds up the cooking, (provided you chargrilled your peppers earlier in the day, as I did) as you don't need to wait for the peppers to soften in the pan!

So aside from that, I also added some sliced mushrooms because I had them to hand with no job waiting for them - and a stir fry just isn't right without a mushroom or two.

I also changed the order of cooking for a few of the ingredients, as the mange tout required longer cooking than most people would give them.  My menfolk aren't keen on their mange tout being too crunchy, you see.  If you like crunchy mange tout, then by all means put them in after the onions go in.

Ah yes, the onions - they received more cooking than they would normally get as well.  I have to be very careful with green (or Spring) onions, not to kick off my raw onion reaction - which is never a comfortable experience.  Again, if you're safe as houses with uncooked onion, feel free to leave them crunchy.

I felt that the ingredients could cope with a decent hit of chilli - and was doubtful that the Sweet Chilli sauce would have enough, on its own.  I tasted the sauce once it had been in the pan for a minute or two and sure enough, it could handle more chilli.  I have a huge pack of dried red chilli flakes just for this sort of job - and a pinch of those made all the difference.  By all means leave them out if you're cooking for children, or folk who like a little chilli tingle and nothing more.

I also used a small amount of sesame oil to coat the cooked noodles, which both adds to the flavour and also stops them from congealing whilst they wait.  However, make sure not to add too much - it is powerful stuff!

My last change was to use tomato ketchup instead of tomato puree.  I find that tomato puree has to be cooked out for a decent length of time in order to lose its rawness and acidity.  The sheer nature of a stir fry doesn't give tomato puree long enough in which to do that - so tomato ketchup is a good replacement.  It also has that touch of spiciness that is great in this stir fry - but do remember to cut down the amount of honey that you add, in order to prevent everything becoming too sweet!

Hmmmn ... maybe I did tweak it quite a bit, come to think about it!

I served the stir fry with some yummy prawn crackers alongside, which went very well and provided a nice crunch for when you were tired of sucking up noodles!
It is a really forgiving recipe - you can add any additional vegetables to it, just be careful not to clash the flavours with the sauce.  The end result was tasty, spicy, satisfying and healthy to boot.  Can't ask for more than that!  Son and heir wasn't impressed, unfortunately, as he's generally unimpressed by stir fries.  Hubby really liked it and would have it again - and so would I.  We'll just have to remember to feed son & heir pizza that night!


Ingredients : 

1 tbsp tomato ketchup or puree
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp runny honey
a pinch of red chilli flakes
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
100g mange tout peas - each sliced into three strips
4 or 5 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
250g Chinese egg noodles
1 tsp sesame oil
a bunch of spring onions, sliced into 2cm pieces
2 red peppers, sliced (chargrilled if you prefer them that way)
250g cooked, peeled large prawns.

Method :

1.  Put a large saucepan of salted water on to boil for the noodles.

2.  In a small bowl, combine the tomato ketchup (or puree), soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, runny honey and chilli flakes and set aside.

3.  Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat.

4.  Add the mange tout and mushrooms and stir fry until softened.

5.  Put the dry noodles into the boiling water for 4 minutes - or follow the pack instructions.  Stir gently regularly to separate the strands.  Once cooked and tender, drain and return to the saucepan.  Add the sesame oil and toss until coated.  Replace the lid while you finish cooking the veggies and prawns.

5.  Add the spring onions to the wok and cook until softening, then add the peppers to heat through.  Keep on stirring and moving the contents of the wok around to prevent anything from burning.

6.  Add the sauce and the prawns and toss for 2-3 minutes to heat everything through and get the sauce bubbling.

7.  Add the noodles and toss again, to coat them with the sauce.

Serve with prawn crackers and napkins to clean saucy chins.

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