Friday 28 October 2016

Spruce up your stir fry with Forkful's beef noodles and miso greens

Aoife McElwain

Published 06/05/2016 | 02:30

Beef noodles and miso greens. Photo: Mark Duggan
Beef noodles and miso greens. Photo: Mark Duggan

Until recently, I had fallen out of love with the stir-fry. To my mind, it had become synonymous with poorly thought-out vegetarian options in bad hotels, or with buffet platters in service stations, sweating under hot lights. Not good food associations to have.

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It seemed to me that the stir-fry, an ancient Chinese cooking technique, had been hijacked by mediocre cooks and was in need of a make over, for my tastebuds anyway.

Recently, I've been working my way through 101 Easy Asian Recipes, a cookbook published by the food magazine Lucky Peach. Miso paste is used often as a basis for a sauce, rather than just the flavouring of a soup.

A little bit of research online and I found recipes that combined miso paste with mirin, rice wine vinegar and sugar to make a quick sauce for stir-fry. I added some ginger and chilli flakes to the miso sauce and for my greens, I reached for tenderstem broccoli, pak choi and spring onions.

I went for steak, but you could fry up some salmon or just go meat-free.

This stir-fry is borrowing more from Japanese than Chinese cuisine, with the soba noodles and the miso paste playing a big part in its success, and this seriously speedy supper delivers big time on flavour.

The result was a stir-fry to write home about; an exciting bowl of fresh vegetables doused in the umami-rich flavours of the miso that seriously renewed my faith in the humble stir-fry.

Beef noodles and miso greens

Serves 2

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes


For the sauce

2 tablespoons of red or brown miso paste

1 table of mirin

1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons of soft brown sugar

1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes

For the stir-fry

Sunflower oil, for cooking

1 piece of beef steak

2 x 85g bundles of soba or buckwheat noodles

200g tenderstem broccoli

1 pak choi

1 spring onion

1 tablespoon of sesame seeds, black or white

1 fresh red chilli


1. In a small bowl, mix the miso paste, mirin, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, grated ginger and chilli flakes together until well blended. Set aside.

2. Heat a drizzle of sunflower oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Cook the steak to your liking and set aside to rest.

3. In a wok or a large frying pan, heat a drizzle of sunflower oil. Add the tenderstem broccoli and cook for about three minutes. Separate the leaves on the pak choi. Slice the spring onion in half, refrigerating the greener top section for a future supper. Finely slice the lower, whiter half of the spring onions into thin shreds. Add the pak choi and spring onions to the broccoli, frying for another minute or so.

4. Pour the sauce into the wok with the greens, stirring so that all the vegetables are covered. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer and let it bubble for a couple of minutes. Keep the greens warm while you prepare your noodles according to the packet's instructions.

5. Serve the noodles topped with beef, the miso greens, sesame seeds and finely chopped red chilli on top.

This week's storecupboard essential:

Mirin: Alongside miso and soba noodles, mirin is another Japanese ingredient that makes this stir-fry such a success. It's a rice wine, similar to sake, but it has lower alcohol levels and higher sugar levels, making it a super sweet addition to a sauce.

Irish Independent

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