Easy Tiger noodles.

Posted on September 22, 2011

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After my recent visit to Easy Tiger in Collingwood, I was inspired to make their chicken and Thai basil dish which I adored. I spent the day sourcing the ingredients from my favourite Asian grocer in Preston. Like most of my visits to this grocer, I got side tracked pillaging through the spice and preserve isle. I found the most beautiful dried cooking flowers and a lovely pickled vegetable preserve to make Dan Dan noodles. Definitely for another day. What I love most about living in Melbourne, is the freedom to try new things, the ability to cook meals inspired from all areas of the globe any night of the week. I have spent time in Thailand and can’t speak more highly of the cuisine: fresh ingredients and the perfect harmony of heat and spice. The key flavours in the dish are the aniseed of the basil and the heat from the green peppercorns. I have included a glossary to help you identify the Thai ingredients. This dish is made for the hot Australian summer to come, it’s quick and easy and will hopefully bring a little Thai flavour to your life.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

500g Shanghai noodles (wheat noodles)*

2 small chicken breasts, sliced thinly on diagonal.

1 small can Water chestnuts, drained.

1 Garlic clove, chopped finely.

1 cup garlic shoots, chopped in 1 inch lengths.

1 birdseye chilli, chopped.

1 large handful of Thai basil leaves, extra to garnish.

5 green peppercorn stalks.

2 tsp sugar

2 tbsp Oyster sauce.

2 tbsp fish sauce.

2 tbsp soy sauce.

Squeeze of lime juice.

Method:

    1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
    2. Fry the onion, green peppercorn, garlic chives and chilli, till golden.
    3. Add the chicken to the onion mixture and fry till chicken is cooked, add water chestnuts.
    4. Meanwhile add fresh noodles to boiling water and cook according to packet instructions, Shanghai noodles should be slightly chewy, not overcooked.
    5. Add sugar to the pan and let caramelize, then pour in soy sauce, oyster sauce and fish sauce.
    6. Coat chicken with the sauce and mix well.
    7. Drain the noodles and add to the sauce, at the same time add basil leaves.
    8. Mix to ensure every strand of noodle is coated in the sauce.
    9. Serve with a squeeze of lime juice and garnish with remaining basil leaves.

* Shanghai wheat noodles are fresh and can be found in the fridge at your local Asian grocer, if you can’t find this type of noodle, the dish will work with a thin Hokkien noodle. I adore the chewy texture of wheat noodles, but it is all about creating a dish that suits your tastes and time.

*Green peppercorns are also found in the preserved vegetable sections of Asian grocers, I have also seen them in a small green tin at IGA, in the spice section. It really makes a difference to the flavour of the dish. Garlic cloves are also found at Asian produce suppliers and the markets. I have included a picture to help if you are unfamiliar.

Food glossary:

Green Peppercorns are simply unripe peppercorn, they grow in bunches on small vines. Thai peppercorns have a gentle peppery flavour without overpowering with heat. Can be used in on steaks and in curries too.

Garlic shoots are the seed heads which grow out of garlic. When cooked they have a beautiful aroma, and provide texture to a dish. They provide a garlic flavour without overpowering the dish.

Water chestnut is a vegetable which grows in marshy wet areas of Asia. It is brown and looks like a knobby mushroom. They have a sweet flavour and are crisp. Unless you live in South Eastern Asia, your best option is to buy canned water chestnut, which is available at most supermarkets and Asian groceries.

Shanghai Noodles: A traditional Chinese noodle, made with wheat and water. It’s chewy texture is addictive. Works well with Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese dishes.

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