Sticky Ginger & Honey Chicken with Noodles

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.

2 chicken breasts
White wine vinegar
Soy sauce
A couple of cloves of garlic
1 tbsp. or so of ginger, peeled & grated
1 tbsp. of honey
A couple of tbsp. of plain flour
Salt and pepper
Sesame seeds
For the noodles:
A couple of nests of quick-cook egg noodles
Soy sauce
1 tsp or so of sugar
A couple of cloves of garlic
Sesame oil
Sweet chilli sauce
Cashew nuts and a spring onion, chopped, to garnish

Serves 2.

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 through.

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.