This is a great little shortcut for a ‘takeaway’ that you
can make at home – it should take no more than twenty minutes from start to
finish and it’s super-duper easy. The chicken is sticky and sweet, and the noodles
are rich and savoury with soy sauce and garlic. You can leave out the garnish-y
bits if you like, but they aren’t just for decoration – the cashew nuts add a
nice bit of crunch to the texture and the spring onions give the whole thing a
bit of zing. I haven’t given exact amounts for all of the ingredients, because
it’s more of a ‘slosh a bit in’ kind of recipe, but if in doubt, always
remember that you can put more in but you can’t take any out – so just go easy
to start with.
A couple of cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. or so of ginger, peeled & grated
A couple of tbsp. of plain flour
A couple of nests of quick-cook egg noodles
A couple of cloves of garlic
Cashew nuts and a spring onion, chopped, to garnish
This is a really speedy dish, so to make sure it doesn’t
get away from you, it’s a good idea to get a few things prepared to start off
with. If the chicken breasts you’ve got are fairly thick ones, it might be a
good idea to cover them with a bit of clingfilm and bash them with a
heavy-bottomed saucepan, as they’ll take a long time to cook if they’re too
thick. Once that’s done, slice them into narrow strips and pop into a bowl with
a splash each of soy sauce and white wine vinegar, then put to one side.
Next, prepare the sauce for the noodles – in a bowl,
combine a glug each of soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and sesame oil with a
couple of crushed garlic cloves and a tsp of sugar. If you’re not sure what I
mean by a ‘glug’, it’s basically the amount you get when you tip the bottle and
then turn it the right way up again, all in one movement, but you really don’t
need to be too precise. About the sesame oil, although this is not likely to be
the sort of thing you’ll have hanging around, it’s definitely worth buying, as
it’s a great ingredient for adding a lovely bit of smoky depth to recipes. You
can also use it to make my homemade hummus (which is delicious, of course). Once the ingredients are roughly
combined, put the bowl to one side.
Fill up the kettle and put it on to boil for your
noodles. While the kettle’s chugging away, pour the flour out onto a plate and
mix with salt and pepper, then roll your chicken pieces in the flour (taking
care to let the marinade drip off them a bit first). Heat a little oil in a
frying pan and get your chicken strips frying.
By now, the kettle should have boiled, so pop your
noodles in a pan and cover them with water. Check the packet for cooking time –
the ones I went for were 3 minute noodles, which is fairly standard, although 5
minute noodles would be fine too.
Stir the chicken as it fries – you may find that some of
the crispy flour coating comes off in the pan, but don’t worry about that too
much. Once the chicken is turning golden, push it to the edge of the pan and
crush in a couple of cloves of garlic and add the grated ginger. Stir for a
moment until you get some lovely aromas rising from the pan, then bring the
chicken back into the middle. Add the tablespoon of honey and stir it all
together, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
By now, the noodles should be done – once they are, drain
the pan but not too thoroughly (so there’s still a tiny bit of water clinging
to the noodles) and add the sauce, then pop them back on the heat to warm
Finally, serve up a bed of noodles and arrange the
chicken pieces on top (if there are any bits of the crispy coating that have
come off, go ahead and eat them anyway, because they are delicious!), then
sprinkle with cashews and a bit of chopped spring onion.