FOOD: Lockdown larder: Chinese-style mince with noodles

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Well here we go again … with lockdown comes a change in people’s eating and shopping patterns. With no takeaways available, and people making less trips to the supermarket, more food’s being made from scratch. The recipe below uses what I consider to be kitchen basics and ingredients that can be substituted easily. Many people will have mince in the freezer, it’s generally affordable (especially if it’s on sale), and stretches a long way. This tasty dish is simple to make, so you could even get the kids into the kitchen to give the usual cook a break! Stay home, stay safe, and try to find a silver lining by enjoying special time with those in your bubble.

PREP TIME:  5 MINS

COOK TIME:  15 MINS

SERVES:  4-5 PEOPLE

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon vege oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
500g beef mince (or pork or lamb mince)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar (or add normal 2 tablespoons vinegar with a teaspoon of sugar)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 spring onions
1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
Similar amount of cauliflower
6 mushrooms, chopped into quarters
300g egg or rice noodles (whatever is in the pantry)
1 teaspoon of cornflour

METHOD
1.  In a large pan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add in the garlic, ginger and Chinese Five Spice. Cook for 2 mins, before adding in the mince. Cook, breaking up the mince until there are no clumps and it’s browned all over.

2. Add in the soy, hoisin and oyster sauces and rice wine vinegar and simmer for 1 min.  Add in the sesame oil and thoroughly combine.

3.  Blanch the vegetables in boiling water for 1 min and drain.

4.  Add these into the mince along with half the spring onions. Combine.

5.  Meanwhile, cook noodles according to the instructions on the pack, then drain.

6.  In a cup, combine cornflour with a teaspoon of water. Add to mince, stirring, until sauce has thickened slightly.

7.  Divide noodles even across four bowls and top with the mince and vege mix. Garnish with remaining spring onions. Serve immediately.

NB:  You can substitute in any vegetables you have in the fridge to this dish, or even add in frozen peas, edamame or frozen mixed vegetables if you’re running low on fresh ingredients.