Ho-Fun (rice-stick) beef noodles: a CardioKit recipe

With '4-S' salad (sweet, sour, spicy, salty)

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!

 

2 servings:

  • 100g high quality minced beef
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 red chilli (seeds removed if you are not keen on heat)
  • Ho-Fun Rice stick noodles — one bunch or sheet per person
  • soy sauce, salt and black pepper to season
  • 2 spring onions for final garnish

Thai-style salad dressing ( 4S – sweet, sour, salty, spicy)

  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 red chilli
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 table-spoons of fish sauce
  • 1 table spoon of olive oil
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of palm sugar (or other unrefined sugar)
  • You can use any salad ingredient that you like — we have gone for romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, sweet white onion and baby fennel bulb finely chopped with sliced carrots and radish.

  1. Heat a non-stick pan over high heat. Add a splash of olive oil and the broken up beef. Season with a pinch of salt and lots of fresh black pepper. Stir fry until starting to brown and then turn down to a medium heat. You want the edges to get crispy and dark.
  2. Add the sliced red onion, garlic and chilli to the pan. Cook for 2–3 minutes until starting to soften.
  3. Now add enough water to barely cover the mix with a few good splashes of soy sauce. This water will “de-glaze” the browned, dark beef and with the soy create a rich umami stock sauce. Cover and allow to simmer while you prepare the salad.
  4. In a mortar and pestle (or all added to a mini blender) bash the garlic, chilli and sugar into a paste. Now add the lime juice, fish sauce and olive oil. Taste — it should be a balanced delicious combination of sweet, sour ,salty, spicy (4-S). Add more of any element based on your taste preference.
  5. Chop your salad and place in a bowl. Do not dress until the end.
  6. Boil the kettle and pour over the Ho-Fun noodles in a bowl. Allow to soften for 5 minutes (slight variations based on brand so check the instructions). Drain in a colander and refresh by rinsing with cold water. These are now ready to add to your beef mix.
  7. Check the beef. Add a little more water and soy to taste. You can vary the “sauciness” from a relatively dry noodle coating to a more “soupy” mix by adding more water. Now throw in the noodles and cook for 2 minutes until warmed through.
  8. Serve the noodles in a big bowl and add the spring onion garnish. Dress the salad and serve in separate bowl.
  9. To eat add 50% noodle mix and 50% salad to a plate or shallow bowl. Add more freshly sliced chilli if you like and enjoy. Delicious mixed or eaten side-by-side.
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