Making the mee goreng reminded me of Mollie Katzen's guide to stir fries in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest. She groups vegetables into slow, medium and quick cooking. I think this is where I learnt to cast my eye over vegetables and decide which take the longest to cook and which cook in the blink of an eye. If you have that principle in mind and chop your vegetables before starting cooking, it is easy to bring it all together quickly with vegetables only cooked as much as they need.
It seemed a quick recipe but I think it took around an hour. Sylvia hanging onto my leg definitely can slow me down, especially when I need to stop every few minutes to check what she has put in her mouth. I could do this meal faster with a wok. My lack of is not a because I am a minimalist like Jules. We just don't have the room. Some might argue that living in a small house is a minimalist lifestyle choice though we clutter ours up as much as is possible. I am still looking around to see if I can squeeze a wok somewhere but haven't found the space yet.
With a wok, this meal could be much quicker because it could be cooked on a higher heat than my large scanpan frypan allows. But sometimes I suspect it is the chopping up the vegetables that slows me down and I love lots of vegies. (I did find I had too many carrots and cabbage but I put some aside and they were great in my beetroot curry.) It is the sort of recipe where you could use whatever vegetables were around - others that I might use on another day or another season include snow peas, green beans, spinach, bok choy, red capsicum, asparagus, broccoli, bean sprouts.
The flavours are simple ones I usually have around the house. I wanted the red tomato glow for my sauce but I wasn't so keen on tomato sauce so I just used tomato puree. I don't always have kecap manis but some soy sauce with a little sugar would substitute for these easily. Plain tofu can be substituted for smoked tofu. It is one of those flexible recipes that I love but are hard to write down because they change every time.
However I was pleased that I got it right this time. Sylvia loved it (though I toned down the spiciness for her and the crispy smoked tofu wasn't quite her thing) and so did E. It was great for dinner and just as good for lunch the next day. The vegetables shrink and seem to play second fiddle to the noodles but it is delicious and comforting, and you know there are lots of healthy veg in there somewhere. This is a recipe I plan to return to again and again!
I am sending this to Daphne of More than Words who is hosting this week's Presto Pasta Night (#159) which was founded by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. (oops forgot to send email and am not in round up - check it out anyway)
Mee Goreng (Fried noodles)
Inspired by Taste.com and Steph
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 300g smoked tofu, diced*
- ⅛ cabbage, shredded
- 1-2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
- 1 green capsicum, thinly sliced
- kernels of 1 cob of corn
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 inch knob of ginger, finely grated***
- 500g fresh hokkien noodles
- 4 medium button mushrooms
- handful frozen green peas
- 2 tbsp unsalted tomato paste
- 2 tbsp kecap manis**
- 1 tsp chilli paste***
- ½ cup water or as needed
- 2 spring onions, chopped
Heat the oil in a large frypan over medium high and fry the tofu for about 15-20 minutes or until the tofu is crispy and golden brown.
Now begins the stirfry when you will need to be stirring frequently and have the vegetables ready. Add the carrot and cabbage to the pan and stir fry about 10 minutes or til starting to wilt a little. Add the capsicum, corn, garlic and ginger. Stir fry for about 5 minutes.
Add noodles, mushrooms, peas, tomato paste, kecap manis, chilli paste, and enough water to make sure the sauce coats the vegetables. Stir fry for about 5 minutes or until the noodles are dry and sticky but not dried out.
Stir the spring onions through and turn off the heat. Steph says that fried shallots are usually used as a garnish but this seems a bit fancy for me and I would just use a few fresh chopped spring onions for garnish.
* or use plain tofu and marinate it in some of the flavours of the dish – you can use firm tofu without frying it, esp if serving to babies – Sylvia wouldn’t eat the smoked tofu but loves it plain and raw
** or use 1½ tbsp soy sauce and 1 tsp sugar
*** leave til last if serving young kids, serve theirs and then stir this in
On the Stereo:
The Back Room: The Editors