A noodle stir-fry

These Asian-style dishes are satisfying and simple. Yes, they will require a little extra shopping, but the results are worth it, writes Neil Perry.

You can use any type of noodles in the stir-fry; mung bean or fresh egg noodles would be just as good as rice noodles. You can also mix up the seafood and meat. Use pork or prawns or crab meat, if you like.

STIR-FRIED RICE NOODLES WITH CHICKEN AND SQUID

1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 boneless chicken thighs, skin off, sliced
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 egg, lightly beaten
300g fresh rice noodles
2 tbsp light soy sauce
4 tbsp dark soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken stock
50g cleaned squid, sliced
2 pieces Chinese mustard greens (available from Asian grocery stores), julienned
handful bean sprouts
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup crushed roasted peanuts
2 green (spring) onions, cut into fine rounds, including a little of the green

Serves 4

Heat a wok over a high heat until just smoking and add 1/4 cup oil. Add the chicken and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until almost cooked. Remove the chicken from the wok and reserve in a bowl.

Wipe out the wok, place it back on the heat and add the rest of the oil. When hot, add the garlic and fry for a few seconds. Add the egg and cook until it just starts to set, then add the noodles and stir well. Add the soy sauces and stock, and bring to the boil.

Return the chicken to the wok and add the squid. Cook over a very high heat for 1 minute or until the squid is cooked. Add the mustard greens, bean sprouts, pepper and sesame oil, and cook for 1 minute, then transfer to a serving dish. Serve with nuts and onion on the side, or sprinkled over the dish.

HOT-AND-SOUR OXTAIL

10 brown shallots
10 cloves garlic
8 dried long red chillies, seeds removed
2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
4cm piece galangal, sliced
2kg oxtail (trim any really fatty pieces)
5 kaffir lime leaves, crushed
400ml tamarind water (available from Asian grocery stores)
3 tbsp palm sugar
3 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 bunch coriander, leaves only
steamed rice, to serve

Serves 4-6

In a blender, place the shallots, garlic, chillies, cumin, turmeric, lemongrass and galangal and process to a smooth paste, adding a little water if necessary to keep the blades turning. Combine the paste and the oxtail, and set aside to marinate for 2 hours.

Bring 3 litres water to the boil in a large pot. Add the marinated oxtail and the remaining ingredients, except the coriander. Bring to the boil, uncovered, and simmer over a low heat for 2-3 hours or until the oxtail is tender and the sauce thickens. Skim all the fat off the top and check the seasoning.

Place the oxtail and sauce in a bowl and sprinkle with coriander. Serve with steamed rice.

HOT TIPS

• The oxtail can be replaced with beef chuck, lamb shoulder or chicken thighs. If you're using thighs, boil the broth for an hour until it thickens a bit, then add the chicken and cook until tender.

• For the oxtail dish, I like to add potato, sweet potato or pumpkin, cut into large dice, with 20-30 minutes to go.

SOMETHING TO DRINK

Viognier
Established in 1860, Tahbilk winery in Nagambie Lakes, Victoria, is one of our most historic wineries. In 1990, they planted viognier, an aromatic northern Rhône white varietal. The 2011 Tahbilk Viognier (about $16) is youthful and fresh with apricot and citrus notes, and a great match for the rice noodles.

Source: Good Weekend 
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