This simple and very comforting dish (funny how foods not involving melted cheese can be comforting, but they can!) I found in Vogue of all places, i.e. not where I usually get my food inspiration from, but it’s nice they write about food as well as fashion.
The only slightly daunting part of this meal is poaching eggs, but if you have the freshest of eggs and a slotted spoon you’re halfway there. Further instructions here.
Udon noodles with spinach and poached egg, serves 1
1 portion udon noodles, cooked according to the instructions on the packet
2 handfuls fresh spinach
200-300 ml vegetable or chicken stock
1 poached egg
Heat up the stock. Blanch the spinach in boiling water and squeeze it dry. Pour the stock into a bowl. Add noodles and spinach and lastly the poached egg. Sprinkle with chilli flakes or Aleppo pepper.
Most people probably already have a go-to chicken noodle or stir fry recipe, but not me. So I looked at one of Jamie’s and then amended it a little (that’s usually how I roll). The result was a nice mixture of soft noodles and chicken, crunchy carrots and peanuts and freshness from lime and coriander. And like most stir-fries, it takes mere minutes to make.
Chicken noodles, serves 2
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe.
oil for frying
1 garlic clove, chopped
a few spring onions, chopped
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
2-3 chicken thigh fillets
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 broccoli crown, cut into small florets
2 egg noodle nests
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp fish sauce
a handful peanuts
1/2 bunch coriander, finely chopped
salt & pepper
Cook the noodles according to the packet. Rinse and put aside.
Heat up the oil in a wok or large frying pan. Trim the chicken and cut into bite size pieces. Fry them until golden. Add salt and pepper. Then add garlic and chilli to the pan and thereafter spring onions, carrot pieces and broccoli. After a minute or so, add the noodles and heat up. Add soy and fish sauce, squeeze some lime and season to taste. Top with peanuts and coriander. Serve with lime wedges.
Koya, who recently opened another branch, Koya Bar, just down the streat from its original restaurant on Frith Street, has been around for quite a while but I (finally!) did my first visit a few weeks back. It was a cold cold January evening and me and some friends thought a warming bowl of noodles would make a perfect supper.
We started with a few small plates specials from the board and I must say they varied a bit. The fried tofu (above) was alright I thought, but not being a tofu fan my comments may not do it justice. My friends seemed to enjoy it a lot more!
The sword fish came in breaded and fried chunks complete with bones and things. Not my favourite but perfectly OK.
But I really enjoyed the grilled oysters!
For our mains most of us had noodles, but Jenny chose a domburi (rice bowl) with beef and vegetables that looked really good!
I had a wonderful noodle soup with pork, vegetables and miso. The broth was had great flavour and the udon noodles a nice chewiness to them, the pork itself was probably the least exciting with the dish. It was just what I needed; a soothing and warm bowl of noodle soup!
Laura also had a noodle soup, but one of the specials with miso and fried salsify (I think), not in the picture. Unfortunately the photo of Amy’s noodle soup with vegetable tempura came out grainy, but I think you can imagine what it looked like. It was also really nice.
We were very satisfied with our meal (and wine) but it’s not a place where you can linger. As soon as you’ve finished someone wants your table; it’s first come first serve – no bookings.
Koya, 49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SG
I absolutely adore squid and try to mix my recipes up a little; one can only have so much calamari… This dish with crispy squid with the bold flavours of lime, chilli and mint contrasting the soft noodles in coconut milk is really tasty and one I will make many times in the future.
Fried squid with coconut milk, noodles, lime, chilli and mint, serves 2
2 nests egg noodles
300 g squid, cleaned and sliced
1/2 red chilli, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 tomato, chopped
1 handful chopped mint
2 limes, zest and juice
200 g coconut milk
Cook the noodles according to the packet. Heat up some olive oil in a non-stick pan and add the tomato and chilli. Fry for a few minutes then add the coconut milk and bring to the boil. Season with the zest and juice from 1 lime, salt and pepper. Let the sauce thicken, then mix with the noodles and add some mint.
Heat up olive oil in a frying pan on high heat. Add the chilli and then the squid and flash-fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and lower the heat (so it doesn’t burn). Add the juice of 1 lime and scatter with mint. Season.
Place the noodles in a bowl and top with the squid.
Sometimes I can really crave crab and when I do I find the packets of fresh crab meat in the super market especially handy. Of course a freshly cooked whole crab is nicer but it takes quite a lot of time to pick out the meat, so for a weekday I really like the packets.
This dish with vermicelli rice noodles, crab and butter to carry the flavours of chilli, lime and coriander turned out really well and feels light and fresh. Perfect summer grub if you ask me!
Rice noodles with crab, lime and coriander, serves 1-2
2 nests of vermicelli rice noodles
50 g salted butter
5 cm leek, the white part
1/2 red chilli
1 lime, zest and juice
1 handfull coriander, chopped
100 g white and brown crab meat
Place the noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Slice the leek and finely chop the chilli. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add leek, chilli and lime zest and fry for a few minutes without browning. Add the coriander and crab meat and stir. Season. Drain the noodles and add to the pan. Turn off the heat, stir and add the lime juice.