When I started dating Ju, I needed an angle to impress, and knocking up a romantic dinner for two was worth a punt (especially as she had already seen my dance moves). Ju is a veggie and I didn’t have much experience cooking without meat, but stir fry and pasta always work pretty well ‘sans meat’.
It all seemed to be going well until she asked what I had used to make the sauce. I bragged that it was a delicate combination of oil, soy sauce, chilli, garlic, lemon juice and… oyster sauce! Ahh, at that point it occured to me that oyster sauce may not be ok for vegetarians, on account of the oyster. Thankfully she was understanding, putting it down to me being a bit useless.
This time round the stir fry was just for me so I added prawns and used fish sauce, but oyster sauce also works well as part of the sauce base.
Covert seafood stir fry (not suitable for vegetarians)
- Small bunch of spring onions
- Couple of garlic cloves
- Portion of king prawns – get sustainable ones or be cast out
- Two pak choi
- Handfull of mushrooms
- Portion of bamboo shoot and water chestnuts
- Two nests of thin egg noodles
- Fresh chilli
- Soy sauce
- Fish sauce
- Spoonful of clear runny honey
- Diced bunch of fresh chives
This is a super quick dish and is best that way so everything tastes fresh and with some bite, so start by getting some water going for the noodles. Dice the garlic and fry in a little oil for a minute, adding the diced white part of the spring onions. I tend to cut the green part of the spring onion into strips and add at the very last second. Add pak choi, having pulled the leaves from the central root, trimmed the green leafy part from the lighter coloured root and cut the root into strips. Also add the sliced mushroom and mix it all together. Keep an eye on it, the pak choi leaves should wilt similar to spiniach but don’t let the dish go limp and over-cooked. Add the water chestnuts and bamboo shoots as they only need warming through and combining with the rest of the veg. Now’s also a good time to drop the noodles into the boiling water.
To be honest I just kind of make up the sauce by throwing in a collection of stuff that seem to make sense so it changes every time and don’t take this as gospel, let me know if you do something more interesting. In a bowl I squeeze the juice of a lime and a decent glug of soy sauce. Drop in the chopped chilli, a dash of fish sauce and the honey. Mix this all up and taste, it should be a combination of sweet, hot and rich. The noodles should only need 3mins to cook, then drain and rinse with cold water and combine with the veg and sauce, ensuring all of it is coated in the sauce. Finally sprinkly with the chives and the green part of the spring onion, aaaaaaaand serve!
Not the fanciest or cutting edge, just good tasting food – Don’t cook the spoon