I try to love stir frys however, I am often disappointed with this type of cuisine and find that my dishes do not work out to be half as tasty as I had of hoped and no-where like the delicious meals that I have eaten at restaurants! That being said, I always persevere as I cannot help but adore the speed, ease and deliciousness of this type of dish not to mention the health benefits! Although I attempt to put together my own stir fry sauces, they are often quite thin and the taste of soy sauce is overpowering so, I instead resort to using ready-made packets of stir fry sauce. Readers of this blog will be aware that I am not a fan of processed food and hate buying sachets or jars of ready-made sauce; they are often full of preservatives and oil, not to mention expensive, and are really not that good for you which kind of defeats the point of eating a stir fry in the first place!
Last night, for a quick and cheap Saturday night dinner, I made Jamie Oliver’s ‘Sticky Chicken Chinese Noodles’ last night from his cookbook ‘Save with Jamie’. Neil bought me this cookbook for my birthday last year and I love it – I do not think we have had a disappointing meal from it yet! I have always been a fan of Jamie Oliver’s fuss free recipes which are packed full of strong, fresh flavours and this book emphasises that you do not need a big budget to cook delicious, inventive, waste free meals! I love the fact that ‘Save with Jamie’ emphasises the idea of using leftovers from your typical Sunday roast in order to ensure that nothing is chucked in the bin and really agree with this ethos (for my own tips, check out my series on making one roast turkey last for four days worth of lunches and dinners!). Due to this, I had high hopes for the noodle dish and was keeping my fingers crossed that my luck with stir fry dishes would change!
Jamie Oliver’s Sticky Chicken Chinese Noodles
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
2 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tbsp runny honey
1 x 227g tin pineapple rings in juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp cornflour
4 nests fine egg noodles
400g tin black beans
2 cloves of garlic
1 – 2 red chillies
Half a Chinese cabbage
1. Toss the chicken with half of the five spice powder and seasoning, ensuring every piece is well coated. Leave to rest for a minimum of 5 minutes to let the flavours develop.
2. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Spray a wok with Frylight and heat. Crush the garlic, peel and finely slice the onion and carrot. De-seed and finely slice the chillies and chop the cabbage.
3. Cook the chicken for 10 – 12 minutes, turning frequently and drizzling with the honey for the last minute. Remove to a plate and put in the oven to keep warm.
4. Chop the pineapple into small pieces. Place them into a bowl with their juice, the soy sauce, vinegar and cornflour and mix together.
5. Boil a pan of salted water and cook the noodles for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving a little bit of the cooking water.
6. Rinse the beans then add them to the wok with the remaining five spice for about 5 minutes until crispy. Transfer to the oven to keep warm.
7. Cook the garlic, chilli and vegetables for a few minutes before adding the pineapple, sauce, noodles and a bit of cooking water. Mix well to ensure everything is well coated then season and add soy sauce if needed. Add the chicken and black beans back to the pan.
8. Before serving, scatter over some coriander and extra sliced chilli.
This dish was totally yummy! Both Neil and I agreed this was, by far, the best noodle dish we have ever made. Although the pineapple brings some sweetness, it is not overpowering and the addition of the five spice and soy sauce makes this a well-balanced dish. The cornflour ensures that the sauce isn’t too runny and it nicely coats all of the ingredients. The combination of the chillies and the five spice brings a little heat to the dish however, it is not too fiery and will not leave you gasping for water which is always a bonus! I love the addition of the crispy black beans which not only add a bit more protein to the dish, they also add crunch which ensure that the dish is well-rounded, not just with flavour but texture too!
As the photographs demonstrate, I deviated from the recipe a little as per usual! I didn’t quite use all of the pineapple or juice and also, as I did not have any Chinese cabbage to hand, I used a bit of spinach and a green pepper instead. Due to my love of colourful dishes, I decided to use red onion rather than a white ones. Also, I used Fry light instead of Jamie’s beloved olive oil!
It appears that this recipe has got me out of my stir fry rut and is definitely a meal that I will be making again and again!