Take Out Style Noodels
The future of eating, through humankind, is “Who will do the cooking?”. It always follows that question “Who will do the cooking?”. And the answer, since the days back in the fire pits of Mesopotamia, has always been the same. And you know what that answer is? “Not me.” – Harry Blazer, in “Cooked”, Episode 2, 2016
There is just more and more premade food available to us. And I don’t just mean Fast Food or the classic TV dinner. No, I am also talking about the stew from a can, the premixed herbs for your goulash or the pack of pasta that are offered to us. All so that we do not have to spend a lot of time and effort in our kitchen.
Most of us are moving too fast for slow cooking. – Michael Pollan, in “Cooked”, Episode 2, 2016
And for a lot of things, I really do not want to take time out of my day to make them myself. So for example, my homemade spaghetti have never been spectacular and do I really want to work in the kitchen with a pasta machine for 2 hours? Or do I just put some bought ones in the pot and have them sitting al dente in front of me in 10 minutes. And that is exactly why I will continue buying pasta, instead of making them myself out of flour and eggs.
But buying premade food becomes questionable to me, as soon as more and more additives and ingredients unknown to me turn up in my shopping cart.
When you let a corporation cook your food, they cook differently than people do. […] Their business model depends on getting the cheapest possible raw ingredient and making it as attractive as they can without spending a lot of money. And the way you do that is by deploying lots of salt, fat, and sugar. When you layer salt, fat, and sugar food become incredibly attractive. And it kicks of the dopamine network and cravings. […] So this is the job of food companies. They are actually trying to engineer your cravings and get you to eat as much as you possibly can. – Michael Pollan, in “Cooked”, Episode 2, 2016
And that is, why I am trying to cut out additives or completely premade dinners as much as possible.
Which now brings me to this recipe: For the longest time I though many additives and great flavor enhancer were the source of the consistency and taste I love. And that these are the reason why I could never recreate this “Take Out”-taste at home.
But then I found in one of my cook books “The instant cook” from Donna Hay a recipe for Take Out Style Noodles. At first I was very skeptical, but after trying it for the first time I was hooked! The same favorite creamy consistency, a big bowl of thick udon noodles and I know exactly what is in it. And besides the Food Coloring E150a in the Hoisin sauce, there are no other additives involved. I adapted the sauce from the original recipe for the people with fish allergies in my apartment. But the best thing is, the meal comes together in 20 minutes, which is the exact amount of time I would need to go to the China Bistro and back. So it still counts as “Fast Food”-Dinner in my book.
Recipe – Takeout Style Udon Noodles
Amount: 2 portions
Prep time: 20 minutes
30 g unsalted peanuts
125 ml vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp soysauce
1/2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1/2 Tsp rice vinegar (could be substituted with apple vinegar)
1/2 Tsp chili sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 white onion
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
200 g thick udon noodles
1 Tsp peeled, grated ginger
Vegetables of your choice (for example 1 carrot, 1/2 paprika, edamame)
1 spring onion
Roast 30 g of unsalted peanuts in a wok pan.
Meanwhile mix together the sauce from 125 ml vegetable or chicken stock, 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1/2 Tbsp hoisin sauce, 1/2 Tsp rice vinegar, 1/2 tsp chili sauce and the juice of 1/2 lime.
Then peel the 1 onion, half it and cut it into fine stripes.
The peanuts should be don by now, so take them out of the pan. Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in the pan and cook the onion until a light brown.
While they brown bring water for the 200 g udon noodles to a boil and cook the noodles according to their packaging.
Prepare the remaining ingredients: peel and grate a tumbnailsized piece of ginger. Cut the vegetables of your choice into thin stripes. Cut the green onion into rings. Chop the slightly cooled peanuts into smaller pieces.
Once the onions are a light brown and the udon noodles are cooked, add the grated ginger and veggies to the onions. Stir together well.
Now add in the udon noodles and the sauce to the wok pan. Turn up the heat as high as possible. Cook the noodles, stirring constantly until the sauce has evaporated and the noodles have a slightly sticky consistency.
Serve topped with the peanuts and green onion.
Are there ever leftovers?! But ok, they should keep for up to 3 days in the fridge.
In the picture to this post the takeout style noodles are served with an omlette. Just mix 2 eggs with 1/2 Tsp soy sauce. Once you set up the water for the udon noddles, heat a bit of oil in a pan with a lid. Add the eggs and let them firm up with low heat under the lid.