Prawn, mangetout and baby courgette satay noodles

This is a fabulously fresh fishy noodle dish stir-fried in a smooth and rich satay sauce. Featuring succulent shrimps, crisp mangetout and sweet and juicy strips of baby courgette, this meal is inspired by the delicious flavours of Southeast Asia.

Prawn, mange tout and baby courgette satay noodles

Made with wholemeal noodles and low fat coconut milk, not only is this stir-fry healthy; it’s packed with protein, is quick and simple to make and ticks off a couple of your five-a-day with its gorgeous green veggies.

As featured in The Guardian’s Readers’ recipe swap.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 wholemeal noodle portions
  • 75g cooked and peeled prawns
  • 100g mangetout
  • 125g baby courgettes, cut into quarters lengthways

For the satay sauce:

  • 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 200ml reduced fat coconut milk
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp chopped ginger
  • A dash of rice wine
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves 2

Method

  1. Put a large frying pan or work on a medium heat and pour in the sunflower oil. Add the sliced onion and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly, until it begins to soften.
  2. Meanwhile, make the paste: put all of the satay sauce ingredients – except for the coconut milk – into a measuring jug, or another high-edged container and whiz together using a hand blender. This may take a little while because the peanut butter is thick and sticky. After a minute or so of blending, the mixture should form a thick paste.
  3. When the onion has softened, stir in the paste and fry for a couple of minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and stir frequently for a few minutes, until the paste has mixed in well and the milk turns a light orange colour. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Boil the kettle and place the two wholemeal noodle nests into some tupperware.  Pour over the boiling water and use a fork to break up the noodles a bit. Leave to soften in the tupperware.
  6. After you’ve left the sauce to simmer for a couple of minutes, add the mange tout and courgettes and leave to cook for the remaining 10 minutes.
  7. Defrost the prawns by pour cold water over them for a minute or so, until they feel soft.
  8. Add the prawns to the pan and stir in with the sauce.
  9. Once softened, drain the noodles and add to the pan. Stir them in so they’re evenly dispersed with the veggies and prawns.
  10. Serve in large bowls with a side of crushed peanuts and a wedge of lemon or lime.
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Tofu and vegetable chilli udon

This rich, fiery Asian inspired vegan noodle dish is packed full of wonderful spices and flavours. Thick, smooth udon noodles make for a hearty, filling base, the green pepper adds a nice crunch and vibrant colour, the portobello mushrooms bring an earthy, silky texture and the fried tofu soaks up the delicious spicy coconut broth really well.

This dish is reminiscent of many of the flavours you’d expect at a restaurant like Wagamama, with the coconut and chilli and unusual noodles. It’s pretty quick and easy to make, so whip this up and you’ll be sure to impress your friends!

Tofu and vegetable chilli udon

Ingredients

  • 150g tofu (I used Cauldron original)
  • 200g low-fat coconut milk
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • lime juice
  • 6 baby portobello mushrooms (what I had in the fridge – you can use a different type)
  • 1 green pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 300g quick cook udon noodles

For the curry paste

  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 2

Method

  1. Place the tofu on a large plate and balance a chopping board and heavy pan on top of it (or something else heavy that is likely to balance). Leave it for 15 minutes or so, to drain out the water.
  2. Meanwhile, make your curry paste. Place all of the curry paste ingredients – except for the sesame oil – into a deep-edged bowl and blend with a hand blender until it’s as smooth as you can get it. Add the sesame oil and then give it another go with the hand blender to make sure it doesn’t dry out. Stir it with a spoon to make sure you’re happy with the consistency; it should thick and a few little lumps are fine.
  3. To make your broth, place a large frying pan on to a medium heat. Add the curry paste and fry gently for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the coconut milk and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a further five minutes.
  5. While that’s simmering, cut your tofu into cubes, around 3-4cm.
  6. Using another frying pan or wok, add the sunflower oil and put it on a relatively high heat.
  7. Add the tofu and fry it until it’s golden brown, for around 7-10 minutes, turning it frequently.
  8. After 3 minutes, add the pepper and mushrooms and to the tofu pan and continue to turn them frequently with a fish slice or wooden spoon.
  9. Return to your pan of simmering broth and stir in the noodles.
  10. When the tofu has browned up and the pepper has softened, pour all of these ingredients into the pan of broth. Mix together well.
  11. Add the lime juice and cook on a low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  12. Serve in large bowls with a slice of lime on the side and eat with chopsticks.

This dish is inspired by Simon Rimmer’s Malaysian-spiced noodles.

Yasai itameru (stir fried tofu with mixed vegetables, rice noodles and a coconut & ginger broth)

Yasai itameru is a fresh and flavoursome soupy noodle dish with a kick. It’s bursting with the wonderful flavours of garlic, sweet coconut, zingy ginger, salty soy sauce and a wealth of interesting vegetables. And the tofu soaks up all of these delights as well as you’d expect.

This recipe is taken from the Wagamama cookbook; which is, without a doubt, my favourite ‘fast food restaurant’ in London – if it can be classed as that. I mean, the food comes out fast. And it’s always brilliant. Well, apart from that one time I was given chicken gyoza instead of vegetable gyoza. But they did make up for that, so I forgave them. If you’re not familiar; go there! They have them all over the UK! Find your nearest one here. And try the salmon teriyaki – so tasty.

I absolutely love Japanese food. I’d even go as far to say it’s my favourite cuisine. I was lucky enough to visit Japan in 2010 while a good friend of mine was out there teaching. We ate out every night for two weeks; it was amazing. We gorged ourselves on sushi, curries, noodles, ramen, okonomiyaki, salads and more. There was so much to try and all of it so tasty. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back. But luckily, there are a good few Japanese restaurants in London which won’t dent my bank balance so much.

I could go into more depth about my love of Japanese food, but instead I’ll move on to the meal in hand. I’ve adapted this recipe slightly, substituting some of the fresh spices for the dried stuff to save having to buy too many unusual ingredients.

It’s quite a multi-faceted meal to make as you’ve got 2-3 pans on the go at once, but it’s not too tricky. And the results are worth it.

Yasai itameru

Ingredients

For the stir fry:

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tsp crushed chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 generous handfuls beansprouts
  • 200g tofu, chopped into 3-4cm cubes (the recipe suggests firm tofu, but I used Cauldron – if you opt for this, make sure you drain out the water by putting it in a bowl and popping something heavy like a frying pan on top of it for 15 minutes or so)
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and thinly sliced lengthways
  • 5 spring onions, trimmed and cut lengthways
  • 150g rice noodles (I used vermicelli which I’d recommend)
  • 2 pak choi, with the bottoms cut off and halved lengthways
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar

For the coconut and ginger broth:

  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 250ml hot water
  • 100ml coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp galangal paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 0.5 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 0.5 tsp salt

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves 2 generous portions

Method

1. Make a start on the broth first. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a low heat for a few minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and galangal, being careful of the hot oil. Mix well and cook on a low heat for six minutes, until you can smell the mixture of aromas.

2. Add the hot water and bring to the boil, adding the salt and sugar.

3. Simmer for 20 minutes, until the liquid has reduced by half.

4. While the broth is simmering, half-fill a medium-sized saucepan with water and bring it to the boil.

5. And while the water is heating up, heat a wok over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the sunflower oil and swirl it around so it covers the surface of the wok. Add the crushed chillies and garlic and fry for 10 seconds, stirring.

6. Next, add the tofu and coat it in the garlic and chillies for another 10 seconds, then add the pak choi, red onion, spring onions, sweet potato and beansprouts and stir fry for 5-10 minutes, until the pak choi has started to reduce in size.

7. When the water in the saucepan is boiling, add the noodles and cook for two to three minutes. Drain and rinse them under cold running water, and set them aside.

8. Add the salt, sugar and soy sauce to the wok and stir fry for five minutes, or until all of the ingredients are cooked – making sure the sweet potato has softened, but still has a bit of bite.

9. Check on the broth. If it has reduced, add the coconut milk and stir well. Cook on a low heat for a couple of minutes. Add the noodles and stir into the broth, and heat through for five minutes.

10. Serve the noodles in shallow bowls topped with the stir fry. Add a lime wedge and some fresh coriander sprigs as a garnish if you fancy.

Tofu pad thai

I first visited Thailand in 2009; it was the first stop in a round-the-world backpacking trip after university. It opened my eyes to a completely different culture, nothing I’d ever experienced before. I loved it so much, I went back to explore more of its wonders over new year this year.

If the country’s stunning beaches and incredibly hospitable people aren’t enough to warrant a visit, then combine those things with its amazing (and very cheap) food and you’d be a fool to miss out.

Pad thai to Thai people is like a roast dinner to us Brits. It’s a staple dish and is sold almost everywhere. And it’s delicious in all its varieties. Traditionally it’s served with shrimps, but restaurants are always happy to make a vegetarian version with tofu if you ask.

This version I make is a sexed up stir fry. A cheat’s pad thai. It’s very quick and simple to make. It’s an adaptation of a traditional pad thai I saw on BBC Good Food combined with a sauce based on a recipe from one of my favourite vegetarian cookbooks at the moment, Leon Fast.

Tofu pad thai

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 courgette, sliced into half moon pieces
  • 200g Cauldron Original Tofu (this works well, but you can use other varieties)
  • 2 portions of dried medium egg noodles (I used Sainsbury’s own)
  • 150g frozen stir fry vegetables
  • 2 eggs, beaten

For the sauce

  • 2 heaped tsp crunchy peanut butter
  • 1.5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp warmwater
  • 2 tsp dried ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey
  • a few drops of rice wine
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves 2

Method

  1. Firstly, pop your block of tofu on to a large plate. Put a chopping board on top of the tofu and balance a heavy frying pan on top. Leave this for 15 minutes or so to drain out as much water as possible. The firmer the tofu, the better.
  2. Put a large frying pan on a medium to high heat and drizzle the olive oil all over the pan. When the oil is hot enough to move around the pan freely when you lift it up, add the onion and fry for five minutes, until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, half-fill a saucepan with cold water and bring it to the boil. Add the stir fry vegetables to the water.
  4. When the tofu is firm enough, chop it up into 5cm cubes. When the onion is cooked, add the tofu and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Next, add the two portions of noodles to the saucepan with the vegetables and boil for 2-3 minutes.
  6. While everything else is cooking, combine all of the sauce ingredients in a tall-sided bowl and whiz them together with a hand blender, being careful not to let the liquid splurt out of the bowl (and go all over you, which has happened to me before). When you’ve smoothed out most of the peanuts in the peanut butter and the mixture is runny, give it a quick mix with a spoon and leave it to stand.
  7. Add the courgette to the frying pan with a dash of soy sauce and stir it in with the onion and tofu.
  8. Drain the stir vegetables and noodles with a colander and shake the excess water over the saucepan so you don’t lose any valuable noodles.
  9. When the courgette pieces are soft, add the noodles and vegetables to the frying pan, mixing all of the ingredients in well with each other. Do this for five minutes or so, or until everything is well mixed.
  10. Pour the sauce over the mixture in the frying pan and stir in until it coats everything.
  11. Lower the temperature to a low to medium heat, and using a wooden spatula or spoon, squash all of the mixture to one half of the pan. Pour the egg into the other half of the pan and mix it constantly until it has a runny, scrambled consistency.
  12. Mix the egg in thoroughly with the rest of the pad thai and season with salt and pepper.
  13. Serve in bowls, with a slice of lime and crushed peanuts on the side if you’re feeling fancy.

And that’s how you make a speedy pad thai.