Happy Noodles

Food you think you’ll eat while at home with a young baby: Risottos, homemade pasta, gyoza, cassoulet, smoked garlic soup, cauliflower pizza, raw cakes … Basically anything that takes longer than 10 minutes or is a pleasure to cook.

Food you actually eat while at home with a young baby: Noodle Soup. Or Toast.

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enter: Happy Noodles

This is my number 1 go-to meal. It’s filling while being light, it’s super fast to make, every kid I know loves it (with varying amounts of chili) and it was the first Asian-y dish my husband liked (apart from cheese sushi – it’s a thing in France. Bleurk).

It’s basically a hot and sour soup but we call it Happy Noodles after a noodle bar in Paris.

Here’s the technique for 1 large portion:

Put 2 cups of water into a pan or wok. Add 1x cube of vegetable, fake chicken or mushroom stock, 1 handful of sliced dried shiitake mushrooms, 1 good splash of light soy sauce, 1 tsp sugar, juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp white pepper and 1 roughly chopped red chili. Get your broth nice and hot then add a portion of dried or fresh noodles (I prefer fat rice noodles) and some kind of vegetable (pak choy is great). Cook for 4 minutes, take off the heat. Add 1-2 T coconut milk and 1-2tsps of Lao Gan Ma black bean chilli sauce (or sambal oelek works). Serve with chopped spring onion (or fried shallots to save time), a handful of fresh coriander and a few cashews, peanuts or toasted seeds.

For a lighter soup keep the broth clear and use rice noodles. For a heavier, richer dish use a fat udon noodles and plenty of coconut milk.

The beauty of this recipe is that it can be as easy or as complicated as you like. If it’s a long Hangover Sunday, you can add onions, garlic, ginger and coriander root and then strain the broth. You can use limes or vinegar, play with the acid/sugar ratio, make it mostly broth or mostly noodles. You can blanch each vegetable separately and place perfectly atop your noodles. You can serve with a couple of big pieces of marinated, fried tofu. You can add frozen dumplings. Or if you’re hangry and have a crying baby at your feet, you can throw everything into a pot and eat it 5 minutes later.

See below for a few of my variations.

Bon ap. x

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Happy Noodles

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