I love spending hours, toiling over a hot stove for an end product that nobody will eat, just as much as the next busy person. Sometimes though, I go for a dinner that can be whipped up in minutes (ideally less than ten) when dealing with a catastrophically depleted larder, for two fractious little badgers with deceptively large appetites.
This dish is hardly revolutionary, but it’s the quickest way I’ve found of getting a stirfry (kinda) on the plate when stocks are running low. I often buy ready prepared tubs of stirfry vegetables, but at this far remove from the last big shop, there was nothing so exotic to be found in my fridge.
I always have sweetcorn and peas in the freezer and can usually rustle up a carrot of some vintage – I used a little gadget I have had for about 15 years to julienne (I’m talking it up a bit) the carrot in seconds, meaning it cooked in moments and sped things up enormously – I can recommend giving one space in your kitchen for occasions such as these (you can buy them for a modest fee on Amazon).
If I’d had mangetout or babycorn, or if the inclusion of mushrooms wouldn’t have ruined the day for literally everyone, I would have subbed these in.
I used some straight-to-wok noodles, but if you only have dried ones in, just pop them in some boiling water once you’ve started cooking the chicken. and mix in with the vegetables at the end.
My kiddiwinks are mad for Chinese 5 Spice – egg fried rice with a generous application of this is another fave quick tea. They have zero need for authenticity and are pleased for it to show up in any cuisine. I always keep a jar in.
Ten minute chicken noodles
- 1 large chicken breast, butterflied to create two thin pieces
- Oil of your choice – I use olive oil
- Chinese 5 Spice seasoning, to taste
- squeezy garlic/ginger (if you have them in)
- 1 large-ish carrot, shredded
- handful of sweetcorn
- handful of peas
- Straight-to-wok noodles (1 packet)
- soy sauce – approx 2 tsp
- Coat the chicken with oil and rub generously the 5 spice seasoning.
- Heat some oil in a large frying pan and add the chicken, turning after about 2/3 minutes. It will take about 5/6 mins in total to cook, depending on the thickness.
- Once cooked, remove to a plate to rest and add some garlic and ginger to the hot pan – with a little more oil if required – along with the noodles and vegetables.
- Add a dash of water and some soy sauce.
- Stir fry for 2/3 mins, transfer to a bowl and top with the chicken.
This fed a hungry 10 year old and a hungry 6 year old. Scale up as appropriate. It doesn’t look a massive portion, but there is a generous amount of protein which is pretty filling.