Recipe: Stir fry / Warm noodle salad with Elk leaf, chicken, carrots and almonds

I am writing this down RIGHT NOW because while I realise that everyone else in the entire world already knows how to make a stir fry, my previous efforts in this line have been highly unsuccessful, not to mention that if I ever produce something that I will eat, Andrew hates it, and if I produce something Andrew likes, I can’t stand it. I am, apparently, absolutely abysmal at working with most Asian flavours.

But! By some mystical alchemy, I managed to make something that we both liked! Cue angelic choirs singing from above! Basically, I crossed two recipes – one for stir fried Elk Leaf with chilli and garlic from our farm box email, and one for a generic Asian Noodle Salad from the book Love your Leftovers, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. (This is a book that I really must get around to reviewing one of these days, but I digress)

I suspect the results are inauthentic, but the flavours were a nice mix of sweet and lightly acidic and savoury, with a good hit of sesame from the sesame oil (which I am beginning to suspect is a magic ingredient – I love it, and even the sesame-averse Andrew seems to like it). Texture could still use some work – if I’d had slivered rather than flaked almonds that would have helped, and probably a crunchier Asian green, like bok choi or wombok would have been good – basically, this meal needed a little more crunch.

But it’s definitely a really tasty meal, and a great use for the many varieties of mustard green that have been showing up in our weekly farm box.

Your shopping list

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed or garlic from a tube, for I am lazy
  • a small piece of ginger, or ginger from a tube because I am DEFINITELY lazy about ginger
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 packet golden hokkien noodles, soaked in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, and drained
  • 1 large or two small carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 3 large spring onions, sliced diagonally and going halfway up the green
  • 175g elk leaf, chopped fairly finely (which is to say, I chopped finely in one direction, but did not have the patience to go back and chop in the other direction. It was fine.)
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded roast chicken
  • a big handful of slivered almonds
  • canola oil
  • 1 fresh chilli or half a teaspoon dried
  • 1 – 2 tsp sesame oil (to taste)

Now what will you do with it?

Start with all the food prep, basically.

For the dressing, combine 1 garlic clove in a small bowl with the ginger, rice wine vinegar, tamari, lime juice, and 1/2 tsp sugar, and whisk well. Set aside.

Prepare the vegetables and shred the chicken. Just in case anyone reading this has not made a stir fry before, I cannot emphasis enough that you want to have everything ready to go before you switch on any heat.

Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over a high heat, and add the other garlic clove and the chilli. Stir for 30 seconds to a minute – until you can really smell the garlic, but it isn’t burning – and then add the almonds and spring onions, and stir fry briefly. Add the elk leaf, and stir fry for about a minute. Then add the rest of the sugar and a teaspoon of sesame oil, stir in quickly, then add all the other ingredients – chicken, noodles and carrot. Stir around for about a minute – you are aiming to get things a bit warm, not hot – and then add more sesame oil if you think it needs it, and stir again.

Transfer it all to a bowl, add the dressing, toss, and serve. Yum.

This makes 3-4 portions.

Variations

This recipe has all the allergens, though soba noodles would at least take out the gluten (tamari sauce is gluten-free, so you’re all good there). I think there are vegan noodle varieties out there which would give you an eggless option. Oh, wait – no dairy! We did miss an allergen after all!

You could use uncooked chicken breast or tenderloins instead of leftover roast chicken, in which case, I’d add them after the garlic and chilli and make sure they are cooked before you add the rest, since the rest goes very fast. I reckon a bit of chopped coriander on top of this might be nice.

I’d also try this with a more robust Asian green, like wombok or book choi, for extra crunch. I think these would need a little longer to cook than elk leaf.

Beyond that… look, I don’t want to mess with this too much because I don’t know how I got it to work in the first place! Use your best judgment, basically. It’s probably better than mine.

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