At new year we are struck by all the adverts for restrictive and miserable diets that will leave you feeling unhappy and without long-term health advantages. If you consider the core model of these businesses they cannot provide you with a simple long-term solution that would leave them out of the loop . . . that would be bad business. Much more profitable to develop a programme that creates cyclical life-long customers — otherwise known as yo-yo dieters.
This recipe is a fusion of concepts from Cantonese, Thai and Vietnamese cooking. Vietnamese noodle dishes often combine warm stir-fried meat elements with cold salads, noodles and spicy dressings for a delicious one bowl combination. A symphony of flavours, textures and temperatures. From a health perspective this is clever because you balance the richer satisfying elements (meat and rice noodles) with healthy protective ingredients (salad). As a result you end up eating a modest amount of refined noodle which are protected from rapid digestion by all the fibrous elements. Because you don’t deny yourself the rich elements you won’t end up craving something indulgent afterwards. In this dish you should aim for 50% noodles to 50% salad.
In this version we have used minced or ground beef but pork is also good. As long as you buy a high quality ready minced meat there are some advantages — a little goes a long way and once the meat is browned, by adding water and soy sauce you create a rich stock sauce that transmits the meaty umami flavours throughout the noodles. Meaty satisfaction for carnivorous appetites without the need to eat large amounts of meat and economical.
The noodles are also a cheats interpretation of a Chinese classic — the beauty of these rice noodle dishes are that they are super quick to cook with less than 10 minutes from wok to plate. The problem is that they often require a reasonable list of ingredients which you may not have or use that often (unless you do lots of Chinese cooking). Our version is a simplified, cleaner and overall easier everyday translation with few ingredients. A true 30 minute meal which unlike other “30 minute meals” will not leave you with 2 hours of clean up!