Mee goreng (tofu, pak choi, green beans and noodles)

In the name of research, I recently asked a couple of friends what they look for when choosing recipes. One person (Geraldine) answered she they found it hard to fulfil the often quoted quota of 5 portions of fruit or vegetables per day, and that it would be great to have a recipe or two that satisfied this health tickbox in one, fell swoop. My other friend (Lucy) said they wanted quick, easy recipes. And healthy too, ideally. I am happy to report that this stir fry achieves all of those things. And boy do I need a 5 a day boost at the moment. I have no idea what is wrong with me, but the last couple of days have floored me. Call it exhaustion, women’s problems, being a mother of two very young kids (one of whom has only just gone back to playgroup after a looong Easter Holiday) – whatever it is I can’t tell you, all I know is I am TIRED. I mentioned it to the doctor yesterday who has booked me in for some blood tests next week to see if I am deficient in something or have a thyroid issue. In the meantime I am upping my vegetable intake and cutting down on treats. So this recipe is perfect.

It is adapted quite a bit from a recipe in Yotam Ottloenghi’s amazing vegetarian book, Plenty. I don’t like calling this a vegetarian book. It’s better described as a book that doesn’t have any meat or fish recipes in. It is my type of recipe tome, one that just makes me want to cook, cook, cook. Interesting and new flavour combos, multicultural, a light hearted approach – I love it. I am lusting after Jerusalem too, (especially after seeing it on a recent 101 Cookbooks post about fantastic cookbooks) but I am making myself wait until at least next month as I have a growing stack of recently purchased cook books that I need to work my way through first.

Back to the recipe… It’s Malaysian! Adam and I went to Malaysia on a holiday back in 2009, the year before we had our son, that now seems, in the retrospect that only people are fairly new parents can appreciate, like actual heaven on earth. We never knew how much we would miss holidays like that! All we did is eat, venture around night markets, lounge around, go see orangutans, do boat trips up wild rivers, sightsee, drink – ah, it was bliss! I honestly can’t remember if we ate Mee Goreng on said holiday. We definitely ate the ubiquitous Nasi Goreng, it’s eggy cousin, that is a breakfast favorite over there. But anyway, it’s definitely going to feature in our household from now on as it fulfils everything I look for in a weeknight supper. Leave out the chilli sauce if making for kids and simply squirt on liberally when on the plate.

This will feed 3 adults, or 2 adults and 2 kids but no more. If doing more, start a new lot afterwards or have two woks on the go!

Serves: 3 adults
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients: 

320g tofu, cut into 1cm thick slices and then into about 3/4cm long pieces
200g green beans, topped and tailed
300g pak choi, leaves torn off from root (stalks left on)
1 bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced
1 shallot, sliced thinly, or 1/2 onion, diced
275g fresh egg noodles
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander
2 teaspoons of thick, dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of water
2 teaspoons of chilli sauce or paste (I used Sriracha Hot Chilli Sauce, but the original recipe calls for sambal oelek chilli paste) – you could leave this out and use 1/2 – 1 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes instead, depending on how how you like it. Do not use sweet chilli sauce, it wouldn’t work in this recipe!
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

To serve:
Handful of shredded iceberg lettuce
Wedges of lemon
Crushed peanuts (I used ones with skins on, not salted)

Instructions: 

  1. Prepare your vegetables and tofu so it’s all ready to throw into the wok. 
  2. Heat your wok and oil until it’s too hot to hold your hand over the oil. Maintain a high heat throughout stir frying, but not so high that it burns…
  3. First, fry your shallot/onion for 1/2 minutes until starting to soften. If it’s burning at all, turn it down just a little. 
  4. Now, add your tofu and beans. Fry gently for 2 minutes. 
  5. Next, toss in your pack choi. From time to time, let the tofu and veggies sit, don’t constantly stir. Let the tofu, beans, and pak choi lean on the sides of the wok for a while so they get a chance to lightly char. 
  6. Allow the pak choi to wilt. Then add the noodles. Stir well, but gently. 
  7. Now the spices, and liquids (water, both soys). 
  8. Gently toss until well combined. 
  9. Serve with shredded lettuce on top, a wedge or lemon and some crushed nuts. You may wish to add more light soy or chilli sauce to eat.
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