Leftovers Noodles for One (Or More Than One)

This is a really quick one. Like, five minutes, sort of thing. It’s also the kind of thing I throw together for my own lunch at home, usually cause I’ve forgotten to have lunch, and realise that I only have half an hour before I have to collect the children from school.  It’s one of those recipes where you stand there with the fridge open and just mentally tally up what you could possibly make out of the things in front of you that you could call ‘a meal’.

If you’d like to make it for more than one person, I think it’d probably scale up okay, but really this is the kind of thing best made alone, wolfed down seconds after leaving the pan, with the radio on, checking your emails on your phone. Quickly made food to be quickly eaten.

This recipe owes something to Dan-Dan Noodles, but is so thrown together by what was to hand, I’d never label it that.

You will need:

  • 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp ‘Gochujang’ (or other dense chilli sauce or paste)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (I use a Japanese one from Kikkoman, which sits between dark and light, but use what you have)
  • 1tsp rice wine vinegar (use wine or cider vinegar if it’s all you have, no need to be a purist here)
  • 1tsp sesame oil
  • A spring onion, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled, and sliced thinly
  • Leftovers, sliced into small, evenly sized bits (I used a piece of beef, but really, chicken, pork, tofu, broccoli, cauliflower, whatever)
  • 1 portion of dried egg noodles

Put a wok or heavy based saucepan on a high heat.

Boil your noodles for the amount of time on the packet (if it says, say, ‘3-4 minutes’ do it for 3; you want them firm) then drain them.

Whilst the noodles are boiling, whisk together the peanut butter, gochujang, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil and put to one side.

When the noodles are cooked and drained, pour a little oil into the hot wok, throw in the spring onion and garlic, and toss around the pan for 20-30 seconds til the garlic begins to take some colour but not burn.

Add the leftovers and toss around in the oil to warm through for maybe another 30 seconds.

Add the sauce mixture and bubble for 10 or 20 seconds, then add the noodles, toss in the sauce til well coated (I use chopsticks for this and, indeed, for the rest of it) then tip into a bowl.

Top with a runny-yolked fried egg, because what isn’t improved by that?

Eat straight away.

This is endlessly customisable and it seems to me, spring onions and garlic aside, there’s very little that one couldn’t either substitute or leave out. If you don’t have any leftovers (or even if you do) the addition of any stir-fry-able vegetables would seem sensible; mange tout, peas, julienned carrot, mushrooms, bean sprouts. Just whatever you have, which is rather the point.


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