Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 31, 2008: Noodles with basil

Typical. Last month I passed judgment on the World in Your Kitchen Calendar, saying that the recipes tended to be adequate and nothing more. And this month: bam! A real winner. These noodles are incredibly simple, insanely tasty and generally a damn good time. The only downside to this recipe is its lack of variety - you really need to make something to accompany it, otherwise it'd get a bit dull and veg-free. We threw together a quick tofu and bok choy stir-fry, with a few splashes of sesame oil, ginger oil and hoisin sauce to liven it up.

The key to this whole meal was the bean paste I think - it added an unusual flavour: salty and slightly spicy, with the fermented beans adding something indescribable. It was wonderful. And so easy that we made it again the next night to accompany the leftover tofu mush.

So I've been reconverted to the World Kitchen Calendar - hopefully the next four months will live up to September's standard.

Noodles with basil

225g of flat rice noodles (we bought them dry and soaked them in hot water for a few minutes to soften them up)
4 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (keep a few whole leaves aside to garnish things)
3 birdseye chillis, halved and deseeded
1 teaspoon seseame oil
1-2 teaspoons concentrated yellow bean paste (we were forced to substitute some spicy bean paste)
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
a splash of water
Some peanut or canola oil for frying

Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, water and bean paste in a small bowl.

Heat the frying oil in a wok and fry the chillis for about a minute.

Add the noodles and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring the whole time.

Add the sesame oil and the chopped basil, still stirring.

Pour in the pre-mixed sauciness, stir fry for another couple of minutes and then you're done.

If you're keen for a nice garnish, remove the noodles from the wok, add a little more oil and, when it's hot, throw the remnants of the basil in for a few seconds - they'll come out crispy straight away and make a perfect garnish.


  1. "simple, insanely tasty and generally a damn good time"

    Now that's MY kind of recipe! :-)
    Thanks, have bookmarked it.

  2. your photo looks straight out of an Asian restaurant - and there is something so satisfying about those flat noodles!

    Just on a different note - have been enjoying some of your cafe recommendations - went to minimo in Sydney Rd recently and we are just back from Hobart where we were very grateful for some of your recommendations (Sirens and Machine) - will blog about hobart in due course

  3. Enjoy, Claire! If you haven't tried it before, the crispy basil garnish is rather fun. :-)

    Thanks, Johanna! I picked up the plates in Footscray, they're identical to the ones at White Lotus and a few other restaurants around the traps. :-) I've been wondering where you were - can't wait to see your take on Hobart's food.