The beauty of fried noodles and fried rice dishes is not only that they are so fast and easy to make, but that you can add just about anything you’ve got laying around in your fridge, and it’ll still taste good. Got a week-old head of cauliflower hanging out in the crisper drawer? Throw it in. Some leftover rotisserie chicken or the remains of last night’s stir-fry? They’ll only add to the flavour of this noodle dish.
The sauce for these noodles is inspired by the ubiquitous Malaysian dish, Mee Goreng. In Malaysia, these noodles are served from “mom and pop” eateries, from street carts, in airport food courts…pretty much anywhere. And no two sauces are the same. Everyone has their own take on Mee Goreng sauce. Which is great for us, because we can make up our own version of the sauce, and no one can say it’s not authentic =).
When I was growing up, fried rice and fried noodles were the go-to dishes for using up leftovers. For dinner, we would usually have steamed white rice with a few dishes, family-style, and the next day we would have the leftovers for lunch in the form of fried rice. So I still haven’t quite reconciled myself to the thought of having fried rice or fried noodles for supper – to me it’s a lunch food. But why not? This dish packs in a wallop of veggies (and protein if you add some chicken or tofu), and it takes less than 30 minutes to make, perfect for an easy weeknight meal. Sure beats ordering greasy Chinese takeout that takes 40 minutes to arrive anyway.
Malaysian-Inspired Fried Noodles
For noodle dish:
- 250g flat wheat noodles (you can use fettucine or even spaghetti if you don’t have the Asian kind)
- 1 red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green pepper, sliced into strips
- 2 small tomatoes (or one large), diced
- 1 cup cut up cauliflower florets
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- salt and pepper
- ½ cup chicken broth (or vegetable)
- 1 sliced red chili pepper
- oil for frying
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce*
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
Cook noodles according to package instructions, then drain, rinse and set aside.
Whisk together ingredients for sauce and set aside.
In a skillet over medium high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and stir fry the onions and garlic until aromatic, then add the cauliflower and stir-fry about 3-4 minutes until browned and crisp-tender. Add green pepper and tomato, and stir-fry everything together just about 1 minute, until vegetables are cooked through. Season with salt and pepper.
Reduce heat to medium. Add noodles and stir into vegetables, using chicken or vegetable broth to moisten the mix (you don’t have to add all of the broth if the noodles don’t need it).
Make an opening in the middle of the noodles, and pour the beaten eggs onto the hot skillet. Scramble them right in the middle of the skillet until cooked, then stir into the rest of the noodles.
Add the sauce and stir it in. Let it cook and bubble until sauce thickens slightly.
Taste for seasoning, and add more salt/sugar as needed.
Arrange on two plates and garnish with sliced red chili peppers. Serves 2.
* Dark soy sauce is quite different from light soy sauce. The dark kind has a rich flavor and color, but is not very salty, in contrast to light soy sauce, which is quite salty. If you don’t have both dark and light, use a tablespoon of your regular soy sauce, and then add more to taste when the dish is done.
Other things you could add: sliced firm tofu, cooked shrimp, cooked shredded chicken, tempeh, sliced bbq pork, cashews, shredded carrots…pretty much anything. I also think a tablespoon of tomato paste would taste great, but I didn’t try it this time. If you try it, let me know how it goes.