Monday, 22 July 2013

Dragon Noodles - Cheat's Phad Thai


Sorry, I know it has been a while again, safe to say we are starting to feel very settled in our new Australian lives and slowly, now that the house and the job are sorted, I am starting to have the time to blog again.

This recipe is one which I found on the amazing Budget Bytes website and which I have tweaked slightly for ease of finding the ingredients in Australia, this really is a fantastic veggie recipe though for quick and easy noodles which are very tasty indeed and evoke the spirit of a quick and dirty phad thai. I cook this all the time now, it is our go-to Saturday lunch and I can knock it out in around 15 minutes so it has quickly become a favourite in our house.

Basically you need:

1 200g pack of dry rice noodles (I use Erawan brand in Aus, you could use ready cooked to save further time, this serves 2 so buy enough for that)
3/4 spring onions
1tblsp soy sauce
1 tbslp sugar (I use soft brown)
1 tbslp hot sauce (I use the standard chilli sauce sold here but the original recipe uses Sriracha which I cannot find)
1 egg - beaten
Chilli flakes
a splash of oil
Chopped coriander 
Half a fresh lime
Chopped nuts

And what you do is: cook the noodles for the necessary 6/7 minutes and while they are boiling mix the sugar, hot sauce and soy sauce together into a sauce (I always dip a finger and adjust to taste, usually adding a further small amount of sugar or soy), put this to one side and chop your spring onions and coriander ready for use later. 

By now your noodles should be done so drain them and heat your wok or a large pan with a splash of oil (orig recipe uses butter but I am trying to lessen the calories a little), add your chilli flakes and heat until the oil is hot then drop in your beaten egg and LEAVE IT ALONE for about 30 seconds. At this stage you should give it a stir to break it up into nice chunks.

Turn the heat down and chuck in your noodles and then immediately add the sauce and stir it all together until the noodles are coated. Whack in the spring onions and coriander, give it another stir and bob's your uncle. Very tasty noodles.

I then add a bit of lime juice and also some chopped nuts if I have them (I didn't in the below pictures but it further enhances the phad thai feel).

In the wok at the end of cooking....

Bowl of tasty noodles!

In terms of health, each portion, based on the above ingredients, is around 460 calories and 3.7g of sat fat (11.5g overall), 88.7g of carbs (as calculated by Myfitnesspal).

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Vegetable (or Quorn) Tandoori Masala

G'day all

I know it has been a while - I have been in the process of emigrating to Adelaide and it has therefore been rather a manic time...but things are starting to settle down and I have every intention of maintaining this blog as a place to find great, tasty vegetarian recipes.

I have to say there is a much more limited range of Quorn available in Australia (I am finding so far) and also that it is VERY expensive. Around $6 (£4) for a standard bag of frozen pieces or mince - I have yet to find any of the chilled ranges either.

We were aware from previous visits that finding decent Indian food - at least UK style Indian which is fabulous - is very difficult indeed. We have never on any of our trips found a curry house worth mentioning and in general the curries we have tried have been bland, watery and weird or dry and sauce less (much like Indian food in India but not the UK variant we are used to and love). It makes you realise how blessed the UK is with a fabulous British Asian identity and cuisine.

So - anyway - after two more disappointing curries in the last week I decided that enough was enough and ad libbed this Tandoori Masala from what I know of cooking curries - I did it with loads of veggies I needed to use up but it would work equally well with a bag of Quorn pieces (just chuck them in frozen) although I would also add veggies to the quorn version for a bit of texture.

We really enjoyed this and it scratched the curry itch we had so here is the recipe:

2 onions
3 cloves garlic
1 long red chilli or a couple of short ones
5 tblsp Pataks Tandoori paste (or other brand)
1 tin coconut milk
400g passata

Then I added:

1 large sweet potato cubed
1 yellow pepper cubed
2 small courgettes sliced
2 large field mushrooms chopped
Handful of chopped fresh coriander.

or you could add a bag of quorn pieces and some of the above veg to suit - just use up what you have to hand.


Chop the onions and stick them in a tbsp of oil on a low heat to sweat down while you finely chop the chilli and the garlic. I left the seeds in as we like it medium/hot but remove the seeds if you want it milder. Chuck in the garlic and chilli and sweat it all down until softened and fragrant.

Add the curry paste - amount is approximate, I used about a third of a jar. It should be sizzling away, stir it around the onions etc into a thick paste. Let it sizzle for a few minutes until you can smells the spices out of the paste.

Add the passata and give it a good stir, let it come back up to a simmer then add the coconut milk a little at a time (I did it in thirds) stirring in completely each time and bringing back up to simmer (doing it this way makes the sauce a very even colour). Add a can full of water and repeat.

Now if you are using any harder veg which require longer cooking add them now (sweet potatoes for me) and bring back up to a simmer, leave for ten minutes simmering then add everything else, give it a good stir and simmer for 20-30 mins until your veg is tender (or your quorn is cooked through).

Keep tasting it - does it need more chilli? A pinch of any salt?

Right before you serve it stir through the chopped coriander and there you have it!

Easy, tasty, UK style curry. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Quorn Slow Cooker Beef Madras

Hello all

It has been a while, I do apologise - we are caught up in preparing to emigrate and all the chaos that goes with it. I have not forgotten my pledge to continue blogging quorn versions of classic meals though and this one, I am proud to say, is entirely my own creation!

I wanted to make a slow cooker curry, having not done so before, and I had made a beef one with some cheap and cheerful stewing steak a couple of weeks before with moderate success. I knew, however, that a) it was nowhere near hot enough for my husband and b) it would need to be tweaked as no actual 'browning' would need to go on.

I am pleased to say that having balanced the spices (the slow cooker tends to cook the heat out of chilli so I had to allow for this) and changed the method somewhat, this version actually made a very nice, hot curry - I used steak strips for my beef but you could happily turn this into a 'chicken' version using the pieces or even fillets cut into chunks. I have noticed quorn have started selling lamb strips too - so maybe give that a go!

Anyway, this is what it looked like served up over some basmati rice:

You can see that the sauce is pretty thick - which is exactly how we like our curry, but you could aim for a thinner curry by adding extra water at the relevant point.

So, this is my recipe for a beef madras, Quorn style....

Makes 5/6 portions

2 medium onions
4 garlic cloves
square inch of fresh ginger, peeled
3 fresh chillies (whole)
4tsp ground cumin
4tsp ground coriander
2tsp ground turmeric
1tsp hot chilli powder
2tsp garam masala
2 cans of chopped tomatoes

fresh plain yoghurt and fresh coriander to taste


1) In a blender blitz the onions, garlic, ginger and chillies into a paste, you want it finely chopped and you leave the seeds in the chilli for a madras level strength (tweak accordingly if you do not want so much heat).

2) Heat a frying pan until very hot and then add the paste and cook it for a few minutes until the paste smells very fragrant and is sizzling.

3) Add the cumin, ground coriander and turmeric and stir into the paste for a minute or so until you have a dryish mixture which smells amazing.

4) Tip your bag of quorn pieces/steak strips into the slow cooker and add the onion mixture, tomatoes and half a can of water (or a full can if you want a thinner sauce),the chilli powder and then mix well. Switch on to low and leave for 8 hours or put on high for 4/5 hours.

5) Stir at intervals whenever you get the chance throughout the day.

6) 30 minutes before you are ready to serve, add the garam masala and a dolllop of fresh yoghurt, stir, taste and get it to the heat/taste you want.

7) Just as you serve stir through a handful of chopped coriander.

And there you have it!