Vegetarian Ramen with Grilled Sweetcorn

…for all the hopeless (flu-infected) ramen-tics out there…

Tell you what, I might as well paint a massive red “X” on my front door to ward off all potential visitors, because the winter lurgy finally came a-knocking last week. Sunny became a walking fountain of mucus first, and then – even though for a while it looked like I was going to dodge it – I got that tell-tale scratching feeling at the back of my throat and knew I was doomed. I’m currently writing this bundled up in my dressing gown, ponging of Olbas Oil and chained to a box of tissues. Breathing through your nose is such an underrated luxury. I miss it.

There’s nothing quite like a massive bowl of ramen when you’re sick, is there? I mean, any and all soups are pretty good when you’re a walking plague victim, but ramen – for me anyway – is the ultimate winner, and I’ll tell you why. All soups are warm and comforting, but ramen goes one step further. It’s full of healthy fresh greens (which you can pick and choose), it’s packed full of flavour (enough to get through to those flu-muffled taste buds), the noodles are filling (so you feel like you’ve actually eaten more than just a bowl of hot water), I defy anyone not to smile at the sight of a perfectly gooey soft boiled egg floating in front of them… and the added chilli garnish will do wonders for a blocked nose.

Now, normally I’d either cart myself down to Wagamama for a bowl of their Shirodashi Ramen (YAS), or pick up a one of the Blue Dragon Ramen Kits, but last week before my cold spiralled out of control and I was still more or less functioning – I felt like making some from scratch. Anyway, I came across a picture of a ramen bowl with grilled corn in it and I was intrigued. I’d never thought of putting sweet corn in a bowl of ramen before, but tell you what – it was a game changer. The sweetness, the crunch, the buttery charred bits… oof. It was exactly what my noodle bowl had been missing all this time. Added to the mushrooms, spring onions, cabbage and obligatory soft boiled egg, it was a winner. 🙂

Vegetarian Ramen with Grilled Sweetcorn

Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp garlic paste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp yellow miso paste
  • 600ml water
  • 500ml good quality vegetable stock
  • handful of spring onions, sliced
  • 1 large corn cob
  • handful of shittake mushrooms
  • handful of sliced red cabbage (throw it in as late as possible otherwise it’ll turn your broth blue!)
  • two dried noodle nests (or enough for two)
  • 2 soft boiled eggs
  • handful of Ito Togarashi or chilli flakes to serve
Method
  1. Warm up your wok or a deep pot on a medium heat, then add the sesame oil. Next create the base for your broth by throwing in and stirring together the mirin, rice wine, soy sauce and miso paste, as well as the garlic and ginger pastes.
  2. Next add the vegetable stock (the better the quality, the better the broth!) and water. Throw in your shittake mushrooms and half of your spring onions. Bring the broth up to the boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover and then leave to simmer for at least half an hour.
  3. In the meantime, slice up your garnishes (that’s the rest of the spring onions and the cabbage) and prepare your corn cob. Slather the corn cob in butter, then wrap it in foil and cook it in the oven at 200°C for 20 minutes. Once cooked, slice into strips.
  4. Check the packet instructions for the noodles – usually you’ll add them to the broth about 10 minutes before you’re ready to eat.
  5. To serve up, first use some tongs to take out the noodles at pop them in the bottom of the bowl. Then ladle the broth over the top. Lastly, garnish with your fresh spring onions, cabbage, corn, soft boiled egg and chilli.
  6. Slurp away!

Have a great week! 🍜🍜🍜

5 “Fakeaways” to try This Week

Did somebody say “Just… Make it Yourself”? Oooooh!
5 Easy Fakeaway Recipes - The Cardiff Cwtch

Alright, alright – I know that trudging off to the kitchen and just cooking something yourself kind of defeats the whole object of a Takeaway, but y’know what, sometimes there’s the rare evening where you really fancy takeaway food but just don’t want to fork out for delivery (…because *maybe* you forked out on a brand new silk shirt earlier in the week – naming no names, itwasme). Maybe you planned for a takeaway, but – boo – it’s that one day of the week where your local’s closed. Maybe you’re on a healthy eating kick and the thought of the obligatory oil slick at the bottom of an Indian takeaway pot puts you just a little bit on edge. Or, maybe you just fancy cooking something from scratch. Hey, it can happen!

You can’t beat a well-timed Takeaway, but then again, a quick and easy homemade dupe – a “Fakeaway” – can be just as satisfying. With that in mind, I’ve trawled the archives to find five of my favourite homemade takeaway dupes, most of which can be whipped up pronto tonto using ingredients bashing around in the back of your cupboard or the bottom of your freezer using a few nifty shortcuts. No delivery charges, no grease. Noice! 🙂

Cheat’s Mango Chicken

Easy Mango Chicken Fakeaway Recipe - The Cardiff Cwtch

I think this quick and easy recipe for Mango Chicken has to be top of the pops (in my book, anyway) when it comes to a good Fakeaway. If you’ve got twenty minutes to spare, some frozen chicken nuggets and a jar of mango chutney banging around at the back of your cupboard, then you’re sorted. Sweet, sticky and oh so satisfying, give it a glow-up with some diced, fresh mango and sliced green onions – and you can even swap out the chicken nuggets for quorn or battered cod if you’re so inclined. Yum!

Easy Green Thai Noodle Soup

Green Thai Noodle Soup - Homemade Takeaway Recipes - The Cardiff Cwtch

Do you remember those cheapo packets of instant noodles from the supermarket? The basic ones that came with a little flavour sachet in either chicken, vegetable or curry flavour? I used to be absolutely obsessed with them when I was in sixth form (many, many years ago when I knew how to cook instant noodles, scrambled egg and that was about it – good times!) – they cost about 30p a pack (back then!) and made such a quick and easy lunch. Well, believe it or not, they’re the star of this show. The flavour sachet makes a cracking base stock for this Green Thai Noodle Soup, along with a can of coconut milk and Thai Green Curry Paste. Thow in some spring greens and a few sliced mushrooms, and you’re done!

Korean Chicken Dak-Galbi

Easy Homemade Korean Takeaway - Stripped Back Simple Dak Galbi - The Cardiff Cwtch

I’m still very much a beginner when it comes to Korean Food, but what I’ve tried so far I absolutely love – and if you’re a fan of chilli-based Asian food then I’m sure you will too. Dak-Galbi is basically Korean Pub Food. You’ll need to get your hands on a jar of Gochujang Chilli Paste (usually to be found on Amazon) which makes up a big part of the sweet and spicy sauce, but everything else is pretty simple and creates a cracking mid-week recipe to pull out of the bag for whenever you fancy a stir-fry that’s a little bit different.

Spicy Singapore Noodles

Takeaway at Home Recipes - Easy Singapore Noodles Recipe - The Cardiff Cwtch

I can’t order a Chinese Takeaway without a super spicy serving of Singapore Noodles making the list. For me, the bright yellow, curried vermicelli is a must-order, and even better blitzed in the microwave for lunch the following day. It’s such a favourite of mine that I had to learn how to make it myself. As long as you’ve got a pack of dried noodles (rice are obviously best, but use whatever you’ve got/fancy), some curry powder, rice wine and soy sauce then you can whip up the marinade in no time. In terms of veg and meat (or no meat), it’s entirely up to you what you throw into the wok. A great recipe for making using of what you’ve got.

Sticky Honey Chicken

Fabulous Fakeaways - Sticky Honey Chicken - The Cardiff Cwtch

Here’s a new way to scoff the classic chicken dipper (although this recipe would be just as good with quorn or, hey, even some diced halloumi would work well). The hardest part of this recipe for Sticky Honey Chicken is whipping up the sauce – but even that’s a doddle, and can be made ahead of time using a few bottled ingredients in your cupboard. Once the chicken and rice are cooked, it takes less than ten minutes to put together – the perfect Fakeaway solution to a Monday night in!

Let me know what your favourite takeaway (or Fakeaway!) meal is in the comments below – I’m always looking for new recipes to try out! Have a great week! 🙂

Easy Korean Dak-galbi

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I’d never heard of Dak-Galbi until I stumbled across a recipe for it over on Pinterest (…honestly, where did I go to hunt down new recipes before Pinterest came along? Books?) – but as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to add it to my takeaway dupes repertoire.  It’s a stir fry of spicy chicken and sweet potato and is basically Korean Pub Food; you’ll usually find it served up and sizzling with alcohol.  The marinade is sweet and spicy – thanks to the Gochujang Chilli Paste and Honey – and pairs perfectly with the sweet potato chunks.

I’m pretty sure most Koreans would cry sacrilege at my take on Dak-galbi.  I mean, it’s pretty much just the bare bones of the real deal because you just can’t get a lot of Korean ingredients in your average British supermarket – in fact, I’d be surprised if you found any at all!  The one essential ingredient – and pretty much the base ingredient for any Korean cooking – I had to order off of Amazon.  But as for tteok and perilla leaves?  Forget it.  Still, my stripped back version makes for a tasty, spicy and colourful midweek stir fry and – aside from marinating time – goes from wok to table in under 20 minutes.  Noice!  🙂

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Easy Dak-galbi (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 3 tsbp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp gochujang paste (I *think* Waitrose stock it, but if not check amazon!)
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • shredded red cabbage
  • grated carrot
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  1. First things first, make the marinade.  In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, gochujang paste, honey, rice wine, curry powder and half of the sesame oil.  Stir until smooth.  Pour in the chicken and stir until it’s thoroughly coated in the marinade – then leave it to rest for at least one hour.
  2. Get your wok smoking hot and pour in the rest of the sesame oil.  Turn down the heat and chuck in the chicken (hold back the marinade) along with the sweet potato.  Cook for ten minutes until the sweet potato has softened and the chicken is mostly cooked; make sure you keep stirring otherwise the honey in the marinade might scorch.
  3. Next throw in the stir fry vegetables – the spring onions, cabbage, carrot and pepper – as well as the remaining marinade and chilli flakes.  Stir fry for five minutes, then serve up with some egg fried rice! 🙂

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Happy four day week! 😉  Oh, and hey – if there’s a takeaway favourite of yours that you’d like to see me take on and come up with an easy to follow recipe for then just let me know in the comments!

Cheat’s Mango Chicken

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You know me, I’m a big fan of fresh and fuss free mid-week meals, but then isn’t everyone?  Whenever I sit down to do my meal planning for the week and ask Sunny if he’s got any requests when it comes to dinners then 9 times out of 10 I’ll get that super specific but mostly unhelpful answer, “I don’t know, *shrugs* something with rice?”  So we tend to eat a lot of curries and a lot of stir fries – and d’you know what?  I’m not even mad about that because they’re so quick and easy to whip up, especially in the middle of the week – and they’re (mostly) pretty healthy.

But, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut cooking the same two or three things each week.  So.  I’ve slowly been upping my “homemade takeaway game”.  I make a mean plate of Singapore Noodles and – more recently – a cracking bowl of Thai Noodle Soup and now I’m bringing this super satisfying (and stupidly simple) plate of Mango Chicken to the table.  It’s as easy as opening a jar of Mango Chutney!  Sweet and sticky and perfect if you fancy a change from your usual Sweet and Sour Chicken.  You can even switch out the chicken for battered cod or scampi if you fancy.  Boom! 😉

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Cheat’s Mango Chicken (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 300g jar of mango chutney
  • 100ml water
  • 150g diced mango
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • a handful of chopped spring onions
  • 250g of battered chicken breast meat (if you want to make things easy, then buy it already battered – if not, I’d recommend giving this recipe a go; it’s not as tricky as you think!)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  1. Pour the vegetable oil into your wok and get it smoking hot.  Stir fry the pepper, mango and spring onions for five minutes.
  2. Pour in the contents of the mango chutney.  Pour the water into the jar and swill it around to collect the dregs, then pour into the wok – stirring to combine.
  3. Let it bubble for five minutes and reduce down, then stir in the battered chicken.
  4. Serve up with egg fried rice.  Yum!  🙂

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What’s your favourite kind of midweek meal?  Let me know in the comments – I’m always trying to find new favourites!  Have a great week! 🙂

 

Easy Green Thai Noodle Soup

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I think 2018 will be remembered as the year I officially, head over heels fell in love with Thai food.  It’s fresh and filling and colourful (I don’t know about you, but colourful food cheers me up this time of year); more importantly, it’s so quick and easy to make!  Pad Thai (♡♡♡) and Massaman Curry are my midweek meal saviours, and even though that’s not about to change, I’ve been feeling like branching out a little and adding a few more Thai recipes to my arsenal.

I threw this soup together just before Christmas.  I had some Thai Green Curry paste in my cupboard and a can of coconut milk going spare, and, when I reached right to the back I found an old pack of instant noodles.  The filthy kind.  You know the ones, they cost about 30p (or at least they did when I used to buy them on the way back home from High School) and come with a flavour sachet.  So wrong and yet so, so right.  I was just going to whip up the curry and have the noodles with it instead of rice, but then as they were boiling away it occurred to me that the flavoured water they were bubbling in would make a pretty good stock.  So I poured one pot into the other and wham-bam, here’s your Noodle Soup, maam.  It’s vegetarian (as long as you make sure you use vegetable-flavoured noodles instead of the chicken ones, obviously) and perfect for cold and gloomy January nights at home in front of the box.  Just make sure you only add the noodles when you’re ready to eat, because they’ll start slurping up that soup before you get a chance to! 🙂

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Easy Green Thai Noodle Soup (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • Thai Green Curry Paste
  • 400ml can of Coconut Milk
  • 2 packs of vegetable-flavoured instant noodles (cheaper the better!)
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Sliced Chestnut Mushrooms
  • Shredded Red Cabbage
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Sliced Spring Onions
  • Sprinkle of black pepper and sesame seeds
  1. Heat up a deep saucepan with the vegetable oil, then add most of your vegetables – holding some spring onion slices back to garnish with later. 
  2. Stir in the green curry paste until it coats the veg, then pour in the coconut oil – stirring until it turns green. 🙂  Bring the boil, then simmer.
  3. Break the noodle block into a separate saucepan, sprinkle in the flavour sachet and then add boiling water.  Leave the noodles to bubble until they soften.
  4. Once the noodles are soft, pour the stock into the curry to create your soup.  The noodles will soak everything up quickly, so only add them to the soup once you’re ready to eat!  
  5. Garnish with the remaining spring onions, black pepper and sesame seeds – then slurp! 😉

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Happy weekend! 🍜