Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Totally unauthentic but very nice veggie noodles

One of my favourite dishes in the whole world is Cambodian Noodles or Nom Banh Chok.  A bowl of these with a friend at the Russian Market in Phnom Penh, with a Cambodian iced coffee made from condensed milk is the stuff of my dreams.  If you want to know how to make authentic Cambodian noodles you can see a video here.

Back in the UK we eat a lot of Asian food in our house: with my years of living in Southeast Asia and Hannah's Chinese heritage I guess it's not surprising, plus I am able to buy Asian ingredients when I travel.  Noodles in some form make it on the household menu most weeks, often on a night before a grocery delivery when we need to use up lots of odd veggies from the fridge.  Tonight I had a vague plan to cook something noodley but when I opened the fridge I saw a bag of left-over cooked spaghetti from Monday's bolognese.  I hate waste so decided to see how Spaghetti worked in place of noodles.  It was delicious!

So, here is my recipe for very un-authentic but quite delicious veggie 'noodles' with left-over spaghetti, another money-saving tip from the Kemps Kitchen!

Saute until soft the following:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 sticks celery, finely sliced
  • 2 cms fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 fresh green chilli

Add 2 tsp medium curry powder and cook for about 5 mins, adding a few tbsp water if it gets too dry.

Add to the pan:
  • a bag of prepared veg (in this case carrot, cauliflower and brocolli), chopped a bit smaller (I don't normally used prepared veg but had some left over from Sunday lunch.  Of course, just use any veg that you have in your fridge or freezer)
  • 1 tin chick peas, drained and rinsed (or any beans.  Again, totally un-authentic but who cares?  Of course you could use chicken, pork or fish too)
  • 1 tin coconut milk (or 1/2 tin coconut and top up with water) 
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (or salt if you're being strictly veggie)
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste (you can substitute the juice of half a lemon or a lime, or even some vinegar.  The purpose of this is to give the sour taste)
  • 1 tsp palm sugar (or any sugar)
  • 1 veggie stock cube (I know, totally un-Asian but adds an Umami hit when you're not cooking with meat)

Cook until the veg is almost soft but retains some bite.  Add in 1 chopped courgette near the end.

Throw in some leftover spaghetti (of course you can use any noodles, soaked or cooked according to the packet instructions) and heat through.  Add more water if necessary to give a soupy consistency.

Top with chopped peanuts, a chopped fresh red pepper, some chopped coriander and some crispy friend onions (mine come in a jar from an Asian Supermarket).

Serve with extra chopped chillies on the side.

Hannah had thirds.  Our serious German lodger, who doesn't like spicy food, had two helpings and said it had a 'well-balanced flavour'.  Hilarious.  I shall take that as a compliment and judge the meal to have been a success!

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