Stir-fried food is the ultimate fast food, taking literally less than 5 minutes from hot oil to finished dish. Obviously, that means that once you start cooking things move fast so you need to be well organised and have all your ingredients weighed-out, measured and chopped before you even think about turning on the gas. There really isn’t much that goes into this dish, but even so it is absolutely packed with flavour. Preparation should only take 10 minutes even if you take your time.
If Chinese takeaway food is your only experience of Chinese-style cooking then you are in for an extremely pleasant surprise, and this dish is a quick and easy way in to a delicious, filling and healthy cuisine. The sauce is what really makes this dish sing, the interplay of the various aromatic components is just divine. Hoisin sauce is the only ingredient that you might struggle to find, though it is now readily available from larger UK supermarkets.
I have specified Ramen noodles here, just because they go extremely well with stir-fries, but feel free to use whatever you have, or perhaps serve it with Beijing rice. The Ramen noodles I use have a cooking time of 4 minutes, at which point either serve them immediately or plunge them into cold water to stop them cooking. If you want to ensure you don’t have too many things going at once it is a good idea to cook them in advance. They can be heated again when you are ready to use them by plunging them into a pan of boiling water for a few seconds. Always make sure you know how long your noodles take to prepare by reading the instructions on your particular packet.
RECIPE – feeds 2
2 tuna steaks
dark soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2 servings of Ramen noodles (approximately 160g dry)
For the sauce:
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
For the stir-fry:
1 tbsp groundnut oil
a large knob of fresh ginger, cut into thin matchsticks
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium red chilli, finely chopped (seeds left in if you like it hot)
2 red peppers, chopped into 1.5 cm chunks
3 fat spring onions, finely sliced at an angle
For the garnish:
a bunch of fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, chopped
Fill the bottom of a dish large enough to hold your tuna steaks with dark soy sauce to a depth of 2 millimetres. Crush two garlic cloves into it, stir thoroughly then place the tuna steaks in the soy sauce, turning until it is completely coated. Cover with cling film and chill in a fridge for 30 minutes.
Prepare all the other ingredients.
Combine the sauce ingredients, stir thoroughly and set aside.
Heat a wok over a high heat, and a ridged griddle pan also over a high heat.
Get a large pan of unsalted water to a strong rolling boil, add the noodles and cook for 4 minutes. Set a timer – everything moves fast from here…
When the griddle pan is very hot, scrape any pieces of garlic and excess soy sauce from the tuna steaks and lay them in the pan. Cook for approximately 1 minute per centimetre thickness on one side, and half that on the other – to make that clear, a 2 cm thick tuna steak would be cooked for 2 minutes on one side, then flipped over and cooked for a further 1 minute. Do not move the tuna while it is cooking, it is likely to stick until it is properly cooked, and you want well-defined char lines where the ridges are. Cooking it this way should ensure the outside is well-sealed and the very middle is still quite rare, the tuna steak will cook on even when it is on your plate though.
At the same time as the tuna is cooking, when the wok is smoking hot add the groundnut oil and swirl it around the wok to coat all surfaces. Add the ginger, cook for a few seconds then add the chilli and garlic and stir fry for around 15 seconds, then add the chunks of red pepper. Stir-fry for 1 minute then add the spring onions and the sauce and bring to the boil, by this time your noodles should be ready so tip them in to the wok and toss everything together. Garnish in the wok with chopped fresh coriander leaves, and serve the tuna steaks on a bed of the noodles and stir-fried vegetables.