A couple of years ago CB and I, exploring the realm of quick noodle dishes, tried repeatedly to create Dan Dan noodles, which in the blogosphere seem to be some kind of holy noodle grail. No matter which recipe, no matter how diligently we followed it, Dan Dan always ended up in the bin and we’d spend the rest of the night forensically questioning our approach, our ingredients, our lives. Suffice to say since our DanDan days, our return to quick noodle dishes has been as reluctant as a response to your mum’s Facebook request. Luckily, this dish won’t leave you feeling like a failed parent.
We’ve been toying around with a FODMAP diet of late so have had to come up with creative ways to ensure that we could make week’s worth of dinners without the use of any garlic, onion or wheat. If you can imagine a “number of days without incident” sign in our kitchen, know that we were very proud when the number hit 9 and somehow unsurprised when it came crashing down to 0 hours later. Luckily, this meal passed muster with very few changes to be made.
If you have a food processor at all (we got one for Christmas and now fast-shred or grate everything), now’s the time to get it out. There is an abundance of colourful fresh veggies that make this dish but I personally wouldn’t have the patience to chop them manually without a deft kitchen hand. I would also say that the salad ingredients we have provided below (from the carrots to the radishes) are a suggestion. If you have anything that’s fresh, crunchy and delicious in your salad drawer, throw it in here – the more the merrier. The combination of the veggies + the seasoned meat + the dressing combines to make this a delight for the mouth. It’s difficult to describe and just before combining everything I was harbouring some serious doubts/some wicked flashbacks to DanDanGate but all I can say is that if you’re looking for something satisfying, tasty and pretty healthy this week, give this one a go. No regrets.
Adapted from good old Jamie.
Serves 2, 550 calories per portion (true story)
250g of lean beef mince (go for 5% if you can find it)
1 star anise
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
a thumb of ginger finely diced
1 tsp honey
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp + 2 tbsp soy sauce (we always use low sodium because blood pressure, bro)
juice of two limes
300g of thin/fine straight to wok rice noodles (try these if you’re struggling)
2 spring onions, diced
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1/2 a cucumber
1 baby gem lettuce
a handful of radishes
a handful of coriander leaves
a handful of peanuts
- For the sake of efficiency, start with the vegetables – chop/shred/grate all of these to your preferred salad-appropriate size. As I said, we used the processor for this the matter was finished in moments.
- Heat the sesame oil with the star anise to a medium-high heat in a non-stick wok. Add the mince and break it up, frying until browned. Add half of the ginger and garlic and all of the honey and cook for a further 5-7 minutes until getting crispy.
- Combine the remaining garlic and ginger (smash them together with a pestle and mortar if you can be bothered) and mix in the lime juice, fish sauce and 1 tsp of soy sauce. Set aside
- When the beef has crisped up, add the straight to wok noodles and the remaining 2 tbsp of soy sauce. Heat through, stirring frequently to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the wok. While this is happening, prepare your spring onions and chilli and roughly crush the peanuts.
- Get a big bowl/plate and dish – the salad at one side and the noodles on the other. Sprinkle the peanuts, chilli and spring onion over the meal and then top with the dressing. Invariably, and in search of all of the excellent elements of the meal, your fork will drag it all together into one colourful, delicious, beautiful mess (see above). If the mood takes you, fling an artful amount of sriracha across the plate for extra gustatory intrigue.
In step 2, crush a clove of garlic and heat it in the sesame oil, removing before adding the mince. Garlic is no soluble in oil so you’ll be fine. Substitute honey for maple syrup.
In step 3, don’t add any garlic; instead add a teaspoon of garlic-infused oil to the sauce.
In step 4, use only the green tips of the spring onion.
Happy Fiesta Friday!