Sunday, March 05, 2006

Cooking for the troops

For the past week, I’d taken to having my lunch at my desk at work. First it was spaghetti and meatballs, homecooked of course, and then the next day it was eggplant from our garden braised in sweet soy and also stirfried with mince, chillies and basil on steamed rice. Was rather inconsiderate of me, I think… the aroma permeated the air and got a few of my colleagues sniffing around. One even asked if I would take orders for Noon to cook some extra to bring in for her :)

I passed on the compliment to Noon, and we both decided that we’d take time out on the weekend to cook something up for my colleagues at work… to make up for the past week. Decided on Hokkien Noodles Noon-style!

First, 6 eggs in the wok scrambled lightly with soy seasoning and ground black pepper. Once cooked, set aside.

That’s Noon hard at work… and Sam and Rosie supervising.

We like putting lots of stuff into our noodles – seafood extender, fish balls, eggs and honey soy marinated chicken thigh pieces (works better than chicken breast because it’s more succulent and lends itself better to stirfrying).

Let’s not forget shiitake mushrooms and garlic. The shot on the right shows the sauces that Noon uses to season the noodles (not including the big tin of olive oil at the back – that’s not used for this particular dish).

So, after the eggs are cooked and removed from the pan, in goes the sliced onions. Season with a little bit of salt and let it sweat for a little bit before adding the finely chopped garlic. Adding the garlic too early will cause it to brown and possibly even burn.

Next, the marinated chicken pieces get added and left to cook through. We did this on high heat to let the meat sear and the sauce caramelise.

When the chicken is just about done, in go the shiitake mushrooms.

Left to cook for a little bit, the whole mixture reaches a darker colour. When this happens, it’s ready for the noodles.

And here are the noodles! In they go, along with all the sauces from before. Mixing it all up was a rather frenzied affair, Noon worked really quickly while I did the mixing for her. If I remember correctly, there was chilli sauce, fish sauce, dried chilli flakes, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar and ground black pepper.

The final product! All in all we cooked 3kgs of noodles, filled up an entire lobster pot of it, ready to bring in to work with me tomorrow morning. Noon held back on the chilli sauce and dried chilli flakes for this batch, she and I normally prefer ours a fair bit spicier. And so we cooked a separate batch for ourselves (and Alex – who said he was up to the challenge).

Took us slightly over an hour to prepare and cook the entire batch of noodles, 3kgs worth of the non-spicy variety, and a further 1kg of the hot stuff for ourselves. 4kgs of noodles, with lotsa meat, fish balls, and seafood extender – cooked in 3 woks. Yum! Hope it goes down well tomorrow. If my colleagues at work like it they might even post their comments :)