This recipe is from the “everyday meals” section of the February 2017 Waitrose magazine. It was so badly written that I couldn’t bear the thought of putting it in my recipe files as-is, and vowed to re-write it. Come on Waitrose, who would weigh peanut butter?
Serves 2, generously.
The recipe claims 10 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes to cook. My experience – at least double the prep time.
- 300g pack of Amoy straight to wok udon noodles. I’m sure other udon noodles are available, but these do nicely and are quick, which is ideal for a midweek meal. You’ll find them in black packets in the noodle aisle.
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1cm slices (not too long slices either – you’ll want to pick them up with chopsticks).
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce.
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin.
- 3 dessertspoons crunchy peanut butter. The recipe calls for 75g, but I reckon three spoons is about right and a dessert spoon fits nicely in the jar. Make sure you have crunchy peanut butter – with nice chunks in it. Spend a few pennies and get some good quality stuff, like the Whole Earth one.
- generous pinch dried chilli flakes.
- vegetable oil for frying – a dash of sunflower oil is probably best.
- 1 large onion, cut into bite sized chunks. Red onion works best because the colour is pretty, but that isn’t essential. It took me a while to work out how best to cut this to get the right effect, but for an average sized red onion, if you cut it into six or eight radial segments after removing the skin, you will get pieces that are about right.
- about 2.5cm of fresh ginger, finely shredded. The recipe calls for 20g – again, who weighs ginger? I shred mine using a coarse cheese grater, which gets the right result. You can always increase or decrease the amount of ginger according to taste.
- 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced.
- 200g pack of cavalo nero, finely shredded. Waitrose offer cavalo nero in two forms – either whole leaves or chopped. The whole leaves are better, because you want to remove the midrib from the bottom part (bottom third?) of each leaf, as it is not tender enough to cook in the short time this stuff is going to be in the pan. Just slice the leaf crossways after removing the midrib to give thin slices no more than 1cm wide. I’m sure that you could use Savoy cabbage instead of cavalo nero – we also did it with pak choi, which was ok, but not quite as good.
- You will also need a large frying pan or wok, a microwave dish, two bowls, tongs and a little water just boiled in the kettle.
- You can dress the dish with sweet chilli sauce and/or toasted sesame seeds.
- This recipe is quick to cook, so make sure that you have done all the chopping first and have all ingredients at hand. Once you get started, you won’t have time to stop and slice an onion.
- Put the chicken in a bowl with 1tbsp soy sauce and 1tsp cumin. Stir so that the chicken is coated and leave to stand for a few minutes whilst you do the next steps.
- Heat the noodles in a microwave according to the pack instructions and set aside after giving them a little stir so they aren’t one big slab!
- In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tsp cumin with the peanut butter and chilli flakes. Add a few spoonfuls (about 5 tbsp) of freshly boiled water and stir to help you get a good sauce consistency.
- Heat a little oil in the pan/wok over a high heat. Fry the chicken until golden and just cooked through. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Heat a little more oil in the pan, keeping the heat high. Fry the onion pieces for about 1 minute (don’t worry if they fall apart). Add the garlic and ginger and allow to sizzle for 15 seconds or so, then add the cavalo nero, chicken and noodles. Turn over a few times using the tongs – you want the cavalo nero to still have all its texture and not have gone soft/sloppy – really you’re just warming it through.
- Add the sauce to the pan, stir everything one more time and then serve, with your sweet chilli sauce and/or sesame seeds if you have them (not essential).
Eat with chopsticks for added sauce-on-shirt value.