My mother is a superb cook, I only wish that some of her instinctive skill had rubbed off on me. I remember sitting on the kitchen work-top when I was much younger and watching her cook as well as helping her make delicious dumplings, oh if only I had the freedom of time now! She is Oriental and cooks fabulous meals from the most basic ingredients – her simple and lightly-flavoured Chinese cooking is characteristic of the region she grew up in as opposed to some of the very strong flavours favoured (that’s a tongue-twister!) by other regions. My palate is used to this style of cooking as I have been brought up in it, and I think it works best for everyday home cooking – it’s healthy, simple, and quick. However despite this I am not really used to cooking Chinese food, I find the eating part suits me better. I think the ultimate comfort food for me is just a steaming bowl of rice really. That’s how easy I am to please. Anyway, my skills do exist beyond opening a pack of ‘gong-zai mian’ (Cantonese for ‘doll/toy noodles – aptly named after the famous ‘Nissin’ brand noodles which have a little cartoon person on them), even if only just.
Although I do love these instant noodles very occasionally…
Tonight I used shrimp-flavoured noodles instead. You can get these easily in any Chinese/Oriental supermarket (we go to Wing-Yip which has EVERYTHING, I didn’t even realise they also have a new online store too in case you don’t live by one). They are quick and easy to cook (about 10-15 minutes in boiling water) and have a gentle shrimpy/prawny taste which is less bland than plain noodles.
Anyway, before cooking the actual noodles, I first chopped up some broccoli and put it into the pan of water first. If you chop them relatively small, it cooks much faster and so after about 10 minutes you can put the noodles into the same pan. I also sliced some baby sweetcorn and cut up some leftover roast pork. You can basically add any vegetables or meat that you have in your fridge really and it makes a decent meal.
After about 20 minutes of total cooking time, remove the broccoli and noodles from the pan. Meanwhile heat another pan and pour a few teaspoons of oil into it when hot. Stir in your meat and vegetables and fry for about 5-8 minutes. You can also add a little bit of chicken/beef stock (about 10ml) before seasoning to taste. Serve on top of the noodles and stir in with a light drizzle of soy sauce.
Ta da! (Sometimes I also add a fried egg on top). A really quick easy meal ready in less than half an hour.