Quick noodle dinners


photo Marina Oliphant

 There are oodles of noodles available at the supermarket and they can be easily put together for a quick meal.

Like their Italian counterparts, asian noodles are often made from wheat flour, with or without the addition of egg. These noodles can be white or yellow, thin or thick, and are available both fresh and dried.

Noodles can also be made from rice flour, buckwheat flour, potato flour and mung bean flour. Cellophane noodles are thin clear noodles made from mung beans. Buckwheat flour is used to make Japanese soba noodles.

When cooking, noodles can be steamed, stir fried, deep fried, boiled or served in soup.

There are no hard and fast rules about what type of noodles to use in a dish, so use your favourite or try something new.

They are perfect pantry ingredients –quick to cook and very versatile.

So whether you slurp them or twirl them on your fork, I hope you try some of these recipes, ‘cos then you really will be using your noodle.


Spicy prawn laksa


photo Marina Oliphant


A hot, spicy, soupy, noodle dish is perfect for this time of the year. Laksas are a great way to enjoy lots of different seafood. Use any combination you like. Add some kaffir lime leaves and sliced chilli for extra zing.


4 tbsp good quality laksa paste

400ml tin coconut milk

500ml chicken or vegetable stock

200g white fish fillet, cut in chunks

6 green prawns, shelled and deveined

200g (approx ½ packet) fresh asian noodles

1 small lebanese cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced

half cup bean sprouts

2 tbsp fried shallots

1 spring onion, sliced

handful fresh coriander to garnish


Heat laksa paste in a medium sized saucepan for a few minutes to release the flavour. Add coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and add fish and prawns. Gently poach for about 5 minutes until cooked.

Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Allow to stand for 2 minutes to heat through, then drain.

Place drained noodles in large serving bowls, pour over laksa and garnish with cucumber, bean sprouts, fried shallots, spring onion and coriander.


Serves 2.


Sichuan eggplant with noodles


photo Marina Oliphant

This recipe has been adapted from one that my daughter cooks in her school’s kitchen garden program. It’s a delicious vegetarian meal with a spicy kick from the Sichuan chilli bean paste. Add some mince pork or other vegetables for a variation.


4 small Lebanese eggplants (300g)

3 tbsp peanut oil

1 tbsp minced ginger

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks spring onion, sliced on an angle

1 tbsp Sichuan chilli bean paste

½ cup chicken stock

2 tbsp light soy sauce

2 tsp cornflour mixed in a little cold water

100g bean thread vermicelli noodles, soaked for 7 minutes in boiling water



Cut eggplant in half lengthwise, then slice into 1.5 cm pieces.

Heat oil in wok and stir fry eggplant until golden.

Add ginger, garlic, spring onion and chilli bean paste and stir fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Mix chicken stock with soy and add to wok with cornflour mixture.

Cook for about 1 minute to thicken the sauce.

Add noodles and toss together.

Serve immediately.


Serves 2.


pork and noodle stirfry


Another easy meal that makes a regular appearance for family meals. Use different noodles for variety. I have used fresh flat rice noodles for their delicate soft texture. Tamarind puree is available in jars from specialty asian stores, or you can use tamarind juice by soaking tamarind in warm water. (Tamarind is in a packet in the asian aisle of the supermarket). It gives a lovely sour taste. I finely shred the vegies with the mandolin, but you can simply slice them with a knife.


1 packet fresh noodles (about 400g)

2 cloves garlic

1 large mild red chilli, deseeded (optional)

2 tsp white pepper

¼ (quarter) red onion, finely diced

2 tbs rice bran oil

500g minced pork

1 tsp tamarind puree

4 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced

2 tbs brown sugar

2 tbs fish sauce

1 carrot, shredded

1 red pepper, shredded

1 cucumber, shredded

1 cup basil leaves

1 cup coriander leaves

deep fried shallots and crushed peanuts to serve


Place noodles in a large heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Allow to stand for a few minutes, stir to loosen noodles, drain and set aside.

Place garlic, chilli, pepper and onion in a mortar and pestle and pound to form a paste. (You can also use a food processor.)

Heat oil in wok, fry paste for 1 minute, then add pork mince and fry for a few minutes until browned. Add tamarind puree, lime leaves, brown sugar and fish sauce and cook for a few minutes. Taste and adjust flavouring. It should taste sweet and sour, spicy and salty. Now add carrot, pepper, cucumber and noodles. Toss well to combine.

Finally add herbs and remove from heat.

Place into serving bowls and top with shallots and peanuts.


serves 4.





One Response

  1. Wow! I am hungry just looking at the photos!

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