One of the things that drives most food-loving parents to desperation is trying to come up with interesting food that everyone in the family will eat. In my case, I have Miss Lego who is quite a broad eater (excerpt for refusing any pasta and finding tacos too spicy!), and Mr Minecraft who loves pasta, rice, couscous, noodles etc (i.e. any carbs) and chilli in anything, but won’t touch (most) vegetables. On the plus side, both of them love strong flavours such as olives, capers, fish sauce, oyster sauce etc.
Faced with these constraints, we’ve struggled to find dishes they both like, and one of my ‘projects’ is to get Miss Lego to gradually eat spicier food. This recipe, adapted from one my friend Mel cooks for her family, started with only 2 tsp of curry paste, and is gradually being increased to more adult quantities.
This is a quick recipe, an after work weeknight one even, as there is a little bit of chopping in advance, but once ingredients are prepped cooking time is about 5 min. It includes lightly browned chicken mince and garlic, covered in a sticky mixture of fish sauce, red curry paste and brown sugar, tossed with wombuk and handfuls of spring onions and coriander, all coating a pile of hokkien noodles.
Thai-ish chicken with hokkien noodles
- 500g chicken mince
- 1 Tbs oil for frying (I use sunflower – preferably not olive)
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 3-4 spring onions, sliced including green tops
- 3 Tbs fish sauce
- 2 Tbs brown sugar
- 2 tsp to 2 Tbs red curry paste (as discussed above)
- 1/2 wombuk, sliced thinly
- 600g hokkien noodles approx (this is a flexible recipe so you can vary depending on noodle packet size and appetites) soaked in boiling water as per packet directions
- 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped, starting roughly with the leaves and chopping finely as you get to the stalks, which I also include
Combine the fish sauce, curry paste and sugar in a small bowl. Have other ingredients sliced and ready.
Sauté the chicken over high heat until starting to brown, breaking up clumps as it cooks. When just starting to brown, add the garlic and fry another minute, then stir in the combined sauce ingredients, stirring until the chicken is fully coated and has absorbed most of the liquid. Add the spring onions and cabbage and toss until the cabbage is just wilting, then stir through the drained hokkein noodles until heated through.
Remove from heat and stir through most of the coriander, topping with the remainder to serve.