WORK THAT WOK Quick and easy, stir frying food is one of the best ways to enjoy fresh produce.
Ready meals and pre-prepared foods are becoming ever-more prevalent. I only have go to the shops, or even look in the fridge and cupboards in our own house, to confirm this. However, with these handy solutions becoming increasingly normalised, it has never been more important to remember that only fresh and natural foods give us the best essential nutrients and building blocks for a healthy body and a healthy mind.
Young and old should be involved in purchasing, preparing, and cooking fresh vegetables and meats or fish. Carrots are to be washed or peeled, meat and fish to be trimmed or sliced, vegetables to be handled and prepared. By handing the foods ourselves we will remain in contact with the essential link between the fuel we put into our bodies and how we operate as human beings, both on a cellular and on a macro level.
One from the East
In our house, we have our preferred staples that get us through a large amount of our meals; tortillas, fish, fried leeks and spuds, beans, pasta and crab! But trying out new recipes is a way of trying something different, something out of your regular pattern. You may not adopt the entire recipe, but by trying something different you just might create small sparks in your mind to lead you to rediscover your own kitchen and send you in new culinary directions.
This week, I’m going to tempt you with a traditional Japanese stir fry that uses noodles and fresh vegetables. It is colourful, fun and easy to prepare and cook. It lets the younger generation see lots of different types of foods combined on one plate. Loaded with flavour, this dish offers a variety of textures and crunch levels for people to explore their own likes and dislikes, letting them adapt the recipe to their own tastes the next time they cook it. The Japanese ingredients of soy sauce, sesame oil and mirin sauce with the rice vinegar create that distinctive savoury Asian, ‘umami’ flavor – but don’t worry if you don’t have them all.
This is a ‘simple step’ recipe at all stages of preparation and cooking – but follow the recipe as best you can until you feel confident enough to branch out on your own to customise it to your liking. For extra protein, you could always add nuts, prawns, tofu, chicken or pork.
Japanese noodle stir-fry
What you need
- 300g cooked Japanese udon noodles
- 1 white onion peeled and sliced
- 1 carrot cleaned, chopped in half and cut into lengthways slices
- 100g broccoli separated into small florets
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 3 spring onions sliced (keep green and white parts separate)
- ¼ cabbage heart, sliced into 1cm-wide strips
- 75g of your favourite mushrooms, quartered
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp mirin sauce
What you do
In a wok or large frying pan, stir fry the carrot and onion in sunflower oil for about six minutes over a medium heat, until the onion starts turning golden.
Add the broccoli, cabbage, white part of the spring onions, mushrooms, ginger and garlic, and stir fry together for another two to three minutes.
Now add the soy, rice vinegar and mirin, along with the noodles, and simply str-fry until every part is hot.
Remove from heat, sprinkle the green parts of spring onions over the lot and drizzle with the sesame oil. Serve in bowl-type plates, and enjoy!
The Cabot family live and work in Lanmore, outside Westport. Fresh, seasonal foods are their passion, from country markets to growing, making and selling. They love cooking and eating at the kitchen table, while Redmond and Sandra are kept on their toes with children Penny and Louis. Here they share their favourite recipes.