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Seafood and coconut soupy noodles

Holly Cooks Seafood coconut soupy noodles550A few weeks ago I found myself feeling recharged, replenished and happy despite having just eaten an Asian meal that could best be described as dismal! After work, I’d shot off across the city to spend the evening with an old girlfriend, drinking, eating and chatting – the sort of thing you did in your twenties but is now a rare treat. The waitress came over three times for our order before we’d had a chance to decide. We talked about children, work, future hopes and dreams, relationships at work and news of other friends. The conversation had that fast paced quality that you get with good friends and, in my experience, normally only happens when there are two of you, maybe three – anymore and the conversation just has a different quality.
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It was the chat that made the evening special and certainly not the food. We started by sharing some gyoza, Chinese dumplings, which turned out to be just OK but certainly not special like they can be. I followed this with a bowl of spicy, soupy noodles topped with fish. The chef had been generous with the fish but it tasted like muddy water. The soup was one dimensional, and the noodles were – well, noodles are noodles and depend on other flavours in the dish, which were sadly lacking in this case. This meal was not good!
Holly Cooks Seafood coconut soupy noodles-550So I arrived home happy and fulfilled but that restaurant’s disappointing soupy noodles began to bug me. Bowls of noodles should of be full of flavour, surprises and treats – that’s the whole point. And so I set about creating a dish that would have pleased me that evening.

It starts with blitzing ginger, lemongrass, chilli and garlic in your food processor. You then fry this mixture up, pour in coconut milk and chicken stock and add this to your
• frozen seafood – I like prawns, mussels and squid rings, but you could have any combination,
• noodles,
• vegetables,
and garnish with Thai fish sauce, coriander and lime juice.

Seafood and coconut soupy noodles

50g/2oz ginger
2 stalks of lemongrass (next to the herbs in the supermarket)
1 red chilli
6 garlic cloves
400 ml coconut milk
1 tbsp sunflower oil
450 ml chicken stock
200g/7oz choi sum or pak choi – slice the stalks in 2½cm/1” chunks and the leaves in 5cm/2” chunks
250g/9oz mixed of frozen seafood – I like squid rings, mussels and king prawns
300g/10½oz udon noodles – straight-to-wok or quick-to-cook kind
1 tbsp Thai fish sauce
25g/½oz fresh coriander
1 lime cut into wedges
no salt – the Thai sauce will contain enough

Serves 2
Carbohydrate per serving – 45g
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 10 minutes

1. Finely chop the ginger, chilli, lemongrass and garlic cloves. I do this in the food processor with a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk. It will form a bulky paste.
2. Heat the oil in a saucepan with a lid. Add in the paste and fry for two minutes.
3. Add the coconut milk, chicken stock and the vegetable stalks and boil for a minute. Then add in the frozen seafood, noodles and the leaves and cook for another minute.
4. Lastly, add the Thai fish sauce and stir in half the coriander. Then serve in two large bowls, with wedges of lime and garnish with the remaining coriander sprinkled on top.

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