Recipe: Quick Fresh Noodles
Make a pound of mince stretch to two meal with this economical recipe..
One pound of minced meat has to do us for two meals.
There is plenty meat in this amount for 2 meals for 4 people (2 adults, 2 children). When meat is sold in a pound weight (454g), many families decide to lash it all into one meal and eat it all at once. However, there is enough protein in the meat to stretch to two meals by halving the pound.
I’ve used a beef mince that is low in fat, there is normally enough fat in beef mince to cook it without additional oil. However this recipe is also suitable for turkey or chicken mince and in that case you will need to oil the frying pan before adding the meat. I get my minced meat in my local butcher shop because I like to see it made in front of me. That does make it slightly more expensive than that which I can buy in a plastic tray in the supermarket.
Make the most of the fresh vegetables you can get in season. This time of the year brassicas (cabbages, broccoli and cauliflower) are thriving and are likely to be Irish in the shops. I also used some frozen sweetcorn, sprouts and a couple of carrots. To keep costs down, I used some rice noodles that I picked up on a recent trip to an Asian Supermarket. This isn’t high cuisine, but I can guarantee you that it will take a maximum of 20 minutes to cook from start to finish. You won’t get a much better hearty, low-fat, meal or supper costing between 75c-€1 per portion (depending on where you buy your mince and vegetables).
If you’re not a fan of sprouts, swap them out for courgettes instead.
Quick Fresh Noodles (Serves 4)
225g Minced Beef
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger (you can use ginger & garlic paste in a jar)
2 medium carrots, peeled
2 handfuls of brussels sprouts, peeled
1 cupful of frozen sweetcorn
200g dried fine rice noodles
Take a large heavy bottomed frying pan or wok and heat it on a high heat (no oil). Once the pan is smoking, add the beef mince and flatten it down on the pan. Don’t stir it too much. The key here is to let the beef mince stick in chunks, and not turn into fine gritty pieces. Once the beef starts to turn a dark brown colour, turn it over in the pan. Toss the mince around until it is dark brown all over. Then remove from the frying pan and leave to drain on a piece of kitchen paper.
Chop the carrots into batons and cut the sprouts into quarters. Boil a kettle of water and put the rice noodles into a large, heatproof bowl. Pour the hot water over the noodles and set to one side.
Return the pan or wok to the heat and add the oil. Once it starts to heat through, spoon the minced garlic and ginger into the oil, be careful it will spit in the hot oil, and then the sprouts and carrots. Toss in the oil for about 3 minutes. Using a tongs, lift the soaked noodles from the hot water. Don’t worry about straining them as you’ll use the excess water for the rest of the cooking process in the frying pan. Add the noodles to the frying pan and then the sweetcorn. Cook for a further 5 minutes and then serve.
As with all my dishes, I’ve not seasoned this meal at any point. You can add salt and pepper to taste at this stage or perhaps a low-salt soy sauce (although this will add gluten to the dish). I’ve sprinkled some chillis on top of our noodles in a kamikaze fashion and I had no idea how hot they were. Let’s just say my lips and tongue are still a bit numb, but in a good way!
Caitríona Redmond writes the food blog Wholesome Ireland and her first book “Wholesome” is available from Mercier Press and all good bookstores nationwide.