We do love a nice, meaty noodle dish. My inspiration this week came from the book ‘Wagamama: Ways with noodles’ by Hugo Arnold. Looking through the pages, I was immediately transported back to twelve years of working life in Camden…and lunch at Wagamama! I have treasured memories of eating Chicken Katsu Curry on a Friday (my favourite thing on the menu by far) with my colleagues and friends, not a care in the world apart from where to go for drinks at five o’clock. Those were the days. 

I picked out the recipe for ‘Five-Spice Beef with Noodles’ as this spice is a big favourite in the greedy house, plus I had most of the other ingredients knocking around. It states to use rice noodles but we always opt for egg noodles out of personal preference. I marinated the meat for an hour in the fridge before cooking, but I’m sure if you left it overnight, it would only serve to enhance these wonderful, oriental flavours. 

To make our version of this dish (serves two generously/three) you will need:

For the marinade:

– Two teaspoons of Chinese five-spice

– Four teaspoons of Oyster sauce

– Four teaspoons of light soy sauce 

– Two tablespoons of mirin 

– Two and a half teaspoons of cornflour  

For the main part:

– 450g of stir-fry beef strips

– Four dried fine egg noodle nests

– Three tablespoons of sunflower oil

– One inch piece of ginger (peeled/finely chopped)

– Four garlic cloves (peeled/finely chopped)

– One red bell pepper (washed/deseeded/cut into strips)

– Four teaspoons of light soy sauce

– 200ml of chicken stock

– Three spring onions (green and white parts/finely sliced)

– Dash of toasted sesame oil

– Salt and black pepper

Method: 

– Put all of the marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix together well. Thoroughly coat the meat, cover and leave to refrigerate for at least an hour. 

– Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions (don’t leave to simmer for more than three minutes as you will be cooking them in the wok too), drain and rinse with cold water (to prevent further cooking) then toss with a little toasted sesame oil. Set to one side, prodding occasionally to avoid clagging.

– Heat the oil in a wok to a high temperature and add the garlic, ginger and red pepper. Stir- fry for two minutes. 

– Tip in the beef (saving the marinade) and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until just cooked. Then add the remaining marinade, soy sauce and the stock. Cook for a further few minutes, stirring well. 

– Season to taste then add in the noodles. Cook until throughly heated through. 

– Divide and serve immediately with spring onions sprinkled over the top.

The classic oriental flavours really penetrated both the noodles and the meat. I also really enjoyed the crunch of the spring onions as an added texture. We discussed introducing a chopped fresh chilli next time for an extra bite. 

The delights of Wagamama at home…and all within half an hour.

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