Stir-fried vegetables with noodles and seared salmon fillets is a simple dish that's quick to make once you've washed and prepared the veg. The principles here form the basis of a lot of Cantonese cooking so it's worth trying this recipe. You cut the vegetables into more or less bite-size pieces that can cook quickly in very hot oil so they are hot but still crunchy inside.
Sauce: garlic bulb, fresh ginger root (or powdered ginger), brown sugar, light soy sauce, half teaspoon chilli seeds (optional).
Egg Noodles (or gluten-free rice noodles if you prefer wheat-free)
1 x red & 1 green pepper, deseeded, sliced
1 medium Spanish onion plus small red onion (optional)
1 or 2 dried chilli peppers or 1 fresh (optional). Sliced.
2 x salmon fillets. Very fresh as they will be seared outside and raw inside.
Schwartz Steak Seasoning
Peanut or rapeseed oil
Make up your ginger and garlic marinade as I showed you last week. This is your cooking sauce. If you slice the last bit of ginger and add it when cooking the vegetables, you get the additional taste-bud hit when you bite into it.
You can also select vegetables from baby sweetcorn, mange-tout, broccoili, water-chestnuts. My Dad used peeled and deseeded cucumber, plus celery, cut into batons. Today, I've bought some baby sweetcorn and broccoli sprouts but there's a whole wide world of fresh vegetables out there for you to choose from.
Wash the peppers and baby sweetcorn. Halve the sweetcorn lengthways. Deseed and slice the peppers. Skin then cut the onion in half — top to bottom. Cut each half lengthways (from sprout to root end) two or three times, depending on size, so you have three or four chunks of onion. Separate the layers of the onion — very Zen, ma-a-an.
Wash the coriander, separate the bottom leaves from the stalks, and keep the stalks to add to the stir fry. (The leaves are sprinkled raw on top at the end.)
Put on a pan of salted water to boil for the noodles. Don't do what I did and skimp on size, meaning you end up with the water level near the top so you can't boil vigorously. You want it at a fairly rolling boil so allow plenty of room for the noodles to kick up.
Heat up a tablespoon of peanut (or rapeseed) oil in the wok or heavy-based pan you are going to use to fry in. It should be big with highish sides as you are going to be moving around very hot ingredients. Frying pans with a thin base will not give you a good result and will be murder to clean afterwards.
Now ... some chefs say you should add the sauce to the oil before the ingredients to flavour the oil. But whenever I try that I end up burning the sauce. So what I do is get the oil smoking hot and add the vegetables ONE BATCH AT A TIME.
I start with onions. They should sizzle as they hit the hot oil. Move them around with spatula so they don't catch, and after a few seconds, add a tablespoon of the sauce, a few slices of chilli pepper, then a dash of sesame oil.
Keep stirring for a few moments. Don't overcook. Remember, hot but crunchy. Remove to a dish and cover with a lid to keep warm.
Heat more peanut or rapeseed oil in the pan and do the same with the other vegetables, batch by batch, until they look like this.
Noodles only take 4-6 minutes to cook, depending on the type. Add noodles to the boiling salted water — one block per person. (They usually come in measured proportions.) You can place a lid at an angle to lessen the steam produced, but don't cover fully. Turn down a bit but keep the noodles at a lively boil.
I keep the skin on the salmon fillets as, like crackling, the skin is often the best bit if you like texture.
The salmon just gets flashed in the pan so that it is raw in the middle. Get the oil hot as you sprinkle the salmon with one of my favourite cheat ingredients, Schwartz Steak Pepper Seasoning. Drop the salmon into the pan, skin-side down. Turn onto its side if it's thick enough, and end with it upper-side down. If you really can't face the prospect of raw fish, do it for longer but turn the heat down. You have to be gentle with fish. But it should still be moist and flaky inside.
Meanwhile, drain the noodles. At this stage, you can have a bed of noodles with vegetables on top, topped with the salmon. Or, you can fry the noodles if you really need those extra calories, turning all the time so they don't catch. Then add the vegetables and any remaining sauce and mix together for a few moments. Pop the salmon on top and sprinkle with coriander leaves.
I can't understand why some people seem to flinch at the mere mention of sesame oil. It has a delicious toasted nutty flavour. Because cooking weakens the flavour, add it at the end.
This is a healthy dish with very little of the vitamins and nutrients lost in the process of cooking. But bear in mind that there is salt in the soy sauce and wheat in a lot of noodles.
UPDATE: I am reminded by a vegetarian friend that they also have to eat. So ... you can use tofu cut into cubes and blanched in boiling water for a few moments to firm it up. Then treat the same as the salmon. You can also add cashew nuts or sunflower seeds to the stir-fry for protein. But do be aware that seeds and plant oils are high in Omega 6. Veggies are likely to be short of the long-chain EPA form of Omega 3 which is mostly found in fish. Read more here.