Tuesday, 13 April 2010

PPN Mee Goreng

I made Mee Goreng last week. It literally means fried noodles so if you search the net you will find bazillions of recipes, all different. I had seen Steph make it a while ago and I loved the look of her red sauce. I agree with her observation that noodles are comfort food. No doubt this explains why I love going to another trusted local source: Taste.com for ideas. Between the two recipes, I found something that was my idea of comfort food and pleased the whole household.

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
serves 3-4

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 300g smoked tofu, diced*
  • 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.

Notes:
* 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

13 comments:

  1. I'm very sorry if you've discussed this before and my memory has failed me, but what brand of smoked tofu do you use? I had some in the US that I loved, but would love to know what's worth keeping an eye out for here in Aus :)

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  2. hi hannah - I don't think I have discussed it because I find it so hard to find smoked tofu that I take what I can find but the brand I used this time is earnest bean co. I'd recommend you try this one but I am sure there are others too. Good luck with finding some!

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  3. This looks really lovely Johanna and my Graham loves noodles. When we were out for my birthday we both ordered soba noodles with teriyaki stir-fry & spiced tofu. It was lovely, but the tofu was too soft and not flavourful enough for Graham. I think if I made this with smoked tofu and fried it like you did, he would enjoy it more. I think he would thoroughly enjoy this dish too.

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  4. It's funny what you say about timing the vegetables for a stir fry, because when I had my very first kitchen of my own in a college apartment, making stir fry was my first goal. I learned timing the vegetables through trial and error, but soon I perfected my craft. My father was so proud that I had taken a liking to cooking and he surprised with the gift for no occasion in particular of a very nice wok. This wok has served me well ever since! I do hope you find a spot for one in your life at some point, because it comes in handy for so much more than just stir fry.

    Your plans to return to this recipe again and again is a great endorsement to try it! I need to research these fresh noodles that you used and see if they are available in the states, because they look so plump and delicious.

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  5. Hi Johanna!
    Newbie here. I love your blog!
    that looks delicious. I usually use eggs to get that soft texture, but tofu seems like a pretty good alternative.
    Happy cooking!

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  6. I love mee goreng when made with nice, fat noodles! That looks great!

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  7. This looks delicious! Love the sky high pile of chopped veges.

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  8. Thanks Jacqueline - I had thought it might be quicker not to fry up the tofu but I think I enjoy the crispy tofu like Graham

    Thanks Sarah - hokkien noodles are quite common in Australia - they might go by another name here - maybe fat egg noodles (oops maybe this recipe would need some adaption to be vegan). As for woks - we had a wonderful old wok in a student household the would hang by the oven - I sometimes wish for somewhere I could hang a woke like that one

    Thanks thoughts that dance - I am not so keen on eggs but if it is your thing I am sure they are an easy alternative to tofu - in fact they were used in the taste.com.au recipe

    Thanks Lorraine - I love those fat noodles too

    Thanks Cakelaw - I couldn't believe how much the vegies cooked down

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  9. mee goreng is one of my favourites! (you can tell it is a favourite because it contains the word 'mee' - instantly you know I will love it!)

    Fried shallots aren't fancy! They're ten bucks for a big container! :oP

    Hooray for deliciousness!

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  10. Noodles are my absolute favourite comfort food too :) I'm building up my repertoire of stir-fry type dishes so will definitely add this to the list. I hope you find room for your wok - hanging on a wall perhaps?

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  11. Yummmmm I love getting mee goreng at Malaysian restaurants! I've never tried making it at home. This version of yours looks so good.

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  12. Thanks Steph - I think fried shallots seem fancy because I never use them and never seen them in shops I go to but I must keep a look out for them

    Thanks Lysy - if only we had some spare wall space in the kitchen!

    Thanks Ashley - it's my first attempt to make it at home but must make it more

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  13. Simple, perhaps, but it sounds fantastic! I have the same problem every time I make a stir-fry: I think it will take 10-15 minutes, and we're not done cooking for an hour. But the results are worth it, I suppose (esp if there are leftovers) ;)

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