Who Said Noodles Were Boring?
The Quick Fix With the Potential To Evolve In Your Pot
Certainly not me, as over the years I have mastered a recipe that still gets me excited thinking of it. Looking for a spicy quick fix, long before the hunger pangs give you a beating, look no further. Our goal is to make spicy noodles garnished with butter, prawns, gizzard and mixed vegetables.
For a light eater, a pack of instant noodles will do. Heavier eaters will require more. The noodles are competing with lots of other things in the pot and you really want to give each 'participant' a chance. My preference is usually the beef flavor of any brand followed closely by chicken flavored. Some people prefer the egg noodles which could work, though I think they cook longer; are heavier on the stomach and need extra spicing.
Other essential ingredients are 8 pieces of parboiled gizzard, 15 pieces of medium sized frozen, but cooked prawns, a tablespoon of butter, a 350 ml bowl filled with pre-cut carrot, green pepper, baby broccoli, cherry tomatoes and green peas. Finally, herbs and spices and my preferences are ground ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, dry crayfish, oregano and sage. Yeah that's quite a collection.
Firstly, the gizzard has been spiced, cooked and refrigerated at an earlier date. I tend to use frozen cooked prawns so all I need to do is get it out of the freezer and thaw the amount I need under tap water. The veggie mix has either been chopped earlier and packed in Ziploc bags then refrigerated for future use or alternatively I use the frozen version sold in grocery stores. Squeezing the frozen bag helps the veggies come lose or one could run it under the tap.
The first step would be to put some water in a pot. Usually if you dislike soggy noodles, it’s best to be ‘miserly’ with the water. A good way to gauge is ensuring that the water does not cover the top of the noodles. The butter goes in next. This helps to give flavor and prevents the noodles strands from sticking together, which isn’t in favor of visuals. Alternatively, you could use a tablespoon of cooking oil. The spices prepacked with the noodles go in next followed by what I call the household spices. These are half a level teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper [much less for those who hate hot and spicy], a teaspoon of ground ginger and garlic, sprinkles of sage and oregano. I have also noticed that a level teaspoon of ground dry crayfish gives the noodles a really nice flavor. My friends, this is the point to get creative and so if there is any particular spice that tickles your fancy or you can’t live without, it should go in now.
What follows next are the gizzard and prawns, which should come in at this point so that they get some time to soak in some of the flavor from the noodle sauce swimming with herbs and spices. The mixed veggies are usually the last to go in. If the preference were frozen veggies, some of the melted water from the veggies could provide fluid that ensures the noodles are not too dry. This is another reason why one is careful with water at the beginning. If the veggies added are the pre-cut refrigerated version and at this point you think your noodles need some juice, one could add about 10-15 ml of water. The veggies should not be subjected to excessive cooking if you don’t want to end up with what I call ‘soggy chaff’. Besides, the general rule with most veggies is; cook less and retain heat labile nutrients. By the time your cooking has ended, your veggies should still be green. The way I see it, if they are brown, you have lost some of your money’s worth.
This cooking is usually over in less than 30 minutes. Being a smoothie fan, I either have that bottled in the fridge or I do a quick blend. My preference is berry blast. I say berry blast as it is a mix of strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. Half a cup will do, which I blend quickly with some water and ice cubes and pour into a glass cup. This berry blast is rich in vitamin c which helps in the absorption of iron from the green veggies. It is also a nice complement to this hot spicy meal.
There you have it, spicy noodles garnished with butter, prawns, gizzard and mixed vegetables, served with berry blast. Why is it perfect for your quarantine cookbook? A lot of us have bought and overstocked dry foods; like noodles in the pantry. Some of us have done it out of fear of not knowing when and how the pandemic will end. We have also stocked our freezers full with packaged foods of all sorts. While you are at it, why not get creative expanding your recipes?