The two recipes that I have published so far have both been easy and linguine-based. This recipe is neither. It even features a part which seems like the line about how to boil and egg, “first create the universe”. But once you have this recipe down it will go well for you – honest!
The first thing that you need to do for this recipe, technically, is make a roast chicken (luckily we are going to talk about that in the following weeks – lucky you) and then from the leftovers of the roast chicken, boil up some chicken stock, then leave it to cool and freeze some of the stock in ice-cube bags or trays to make ice cubes of chicken stock.
Chicken stock is just one of the ingredients here. I know this sounds like an absolute faff and I’m sure that you can make this dish with shop bought chicken stock but… For loads of recipes you simply don’t need as much chicken stock as a chicken stock cube makes. Obviously if you are making a stew, risotto or a soup or something then it’s quite the right amount, but for things like this, you just want a couple of ice-cubes worth. It’s honestly worth it, even though I know you don’t believe me. The other advantage is that you can control the amount of salt, which can be very high in shop-bought stock.
Serves 2 or 3 depending on how hungry you are.
2 ice cubes of chicken stock (or alternative)
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
1 tablespoon of ketchup manis (or Hoi Sin)
1 teaspoon of Chinese 5 spice
1 teaspoon of Rice Vinegar
1 teaspoon of Mirin
1 squirt of tomato paste
1 clove garlic (crushed)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/5 teaspoon of Chilli flakes
5 Sichuan peppercorns
1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce (approx. that much, I’ll explain in the method)
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil (I use shop bought stir fry oil which normally has ginger, garlic and sesame in it)
2 turkey breasts
300g Green beans (French beans)
1 red pepper
2 nests of medium noodles
Combine all of that first batch of ingredients into a bowl and stir it all together. Don’t worry about waiting for the ice cubes to fully melt or anything.
Stick a pan of water on to boil for the noodles and beans (use two pans if you care, but the ingredients won’t), and chop the veg and put it to one side. I like peppers in chunks, and green beans with the ends off but it doesn’t matter much. I chop the veg first to stop me having to use two boards as we’ll be chopping the meat in a bit (store the veg in the bowls you are going to serve in, or the colander you are going to drain the noodles in, they are going to be cooked in different ways so easiest not to store them together).
Place the Sichuan peppercorns in a dry wok and warm them for about a minute. Put them in a pestle and mortar and grind them up.
Now chop the turkey into similarly sized chunks. They should look like medium meatball sizes. Pour the dark soy over the turkey on the board. This should indicate how much to put on. You want to cover the turkey with this sticky black sauce but you don’t want much more than the amount that you need to cover it. Use a fork to make sure it’s covered.
Put some cornflower in a Pyrex dish or mixing bowl. What does “some” mean in this context? Well you want the turkey to be well covered. So take a guess based on how much turkey you have in front of you, you can always add more. By putting this in the dish you are trying to stop creating too much additional soy cornflower gloop that doesn’t have any turkey in the middle. Grind some black pepper into the cornflower and also pour in the sichuan peppercorns you ground up earlier. Pop the turkey into the bowl too and mix with a fork until well covered. You want a good coverage of cornflower so add more and add more soy if you didn’t estimate enough of either.
Ok. Now we are ready for some cooking. How exciting. I’m going to base this running order on an estimate that your noodles take 3 minutes to cook. Adjust if they don’t.
Set a timer for 11 minutes
Pour the oil in the wok and turn it up to the highest heat
Timer says 9 minutes to go
THE OIL IS GOING TO BE REALLY HOT. DO NOT BURN YOURSELF!!! HANDS BACK AND USE IMPLEMENTS!!!
Place the turkey in the oil, space the turkey out as much as possible so it isn’t touching (easier in a flat bottomed wok) try not to turn them as you are spacing them out. You are trying to cook one side. Try to not get too much non-turkey covering cornflower into the wok.
Turn the wok down to 3/4 heat.
Timer says 6 minutes to go
Put the beans in the boiling water.
Turn the turkey pieces over one by one (if you can).
Turn boiling water down to 3/4 heat.
Timer says 4 minutes to go
Put the peppers on top of the turkey. Don’t stir.
Timer says 3 minutes to go
Put the noodles in boiling water.
Add the sauce mixture to the wok and stir, pulling the turkey off the bottom if it’s stuck.
Watch the temperature here because you want the sauce to start to bubble by the end of the process, and you may have just put some ice in the wok so turn up the heat if necessary. But don’t boil everything either. It is probably best if for the last 20 to 30 seconds it is pretty close to boiling though to allow the sauce to reduce a little.
Drain the noodles and the beans and mix them into the wok covering everything in the sauce.