After the last debacle, I felt like I was navigating through the depths of culinary hell. I convinced myself I was a terrible cook. What was worse, my challenge prevented me from using Waitrose as therapy as I am restricted to a £10 weekly budget.
I came home from work and entered the kitchen with a lump in my throat. Perhaps I could just eat more Christmas cookies for dinner? Tom offered to cook which would mean I could potentially cheat my way out of another night, but then he called, said he was stuck at the office, and to just start without him.
My first instinct was to just go for the cookies, but instead I decided to pull up my big girl pants and give it another go. There was less pressure this time since the only person I needed to please was myself. But if I failed again, I would give up and eat Pot Noodle for the rest of the month.
I looked through my inventory. Lentils, passata, yogurt, garlic, too many spices to count…I could easily whip up some dal. But upon closer inspection, I realised I was missing an essential ingredient -onion. After rummaging around for quite some time, I discovered three bags of Asian style noodles hiding under some bonito flakes. Jackpot! I already had garlic, chilis, and some soy at the ready. I also had a big bag of brussel sprouts. I’d been reading about the brussel sprout trend in many New York restaurants, especially the “shaved” technique. What would happened if I tried it here?
I decided to riff off my fried rice recipe, and the result, to my surprise, was actually GOOD! The recipe below is for a single serving, so you’ll need to do the math if you are out to serve more. It comes together in about 30 seconds so make sure all mise en place is done before you start cooking. Also, if you don’t have a Japanese mandolin, get one. I bought mine at a Japanese grocery store, and next to my microplane, it’s my goto tool in the kitchen.
So I guess someone heard my prayers. Or either they just got really tired of my whining. Whatever the case, I’m back, baby. I’m back.
Garlic Noodles with Chilis and Shaved Brussel Sprouts
3 garlic cloves
1 chili, thinly sliced
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
5 brussel sprouts
2 Tbsp of soy sauce
1 tsp of Shaoxing or rice wine vinegar
a few glugs of sesame oil
1 tsp of vegetable oil
1 bunch of thin rice noodles
For the noodles, bring water to a boil and hold until ready.
Adjust the mandolin so the ramp is barely below the blade. You want everything you slice to be paper thin. You are going to have to watch your fingers on this one. Slice the garlic cloves. They should be so thin, they are almost transparent. Next, the ginger. Then finally the brussel sprouts.
Place the vegetable oil in a pan and heat on medium low. Add the garlic, ginger, chilis, and fry very gently for about 3 minutes. Turn up the heat to medium high, add the egg and scramble. Add the brussel sprouts and continue to saute.
Put the noodles in the water and cook for 2-3 minutes. Once they are soft, transfer directly to the pan. While you fry and mix all the ingredients together, add the soy, vinegar, and sesame oil. When it’s well tossed, serve and enjoy!