Yotam Ottolenghi’s noodle recipes

Yotam Ottolenghi’s noodle recipes

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I’m often asked what my guilty food pleasure is, and my reply is usually: “I don’t mix guilt with pleasure.” But if pressed, I’ll come up with another answer: “Pot Noodles.” I know several chefs who are more than happy to pour boiling water into a plastic cup for their dinner, especially after many hours of “proper” cooking. The real attraction, though, lies in the nature of the noodles themselves: slurpy, satisfying and not at all challenging. Today’s recipes are strong on all these qualities, yet still require a certain level of commitment, so your conscience stays clear.

Crunchy noodle salad with mushroom and peanut laab (pictured above)

This is a vegan take on laab, an aromatic mincemeat salad from Laos. I’ve added rice noodles to create a fresh dish that is rich and complex enough to make a meal by itself.

Prep 15 min
Cook 35 min
Serves 4

25g basmati rice
200g vermicelli rice noodles
120ml groundnut oil
600g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped (by hand or in a food processor)
120g raw peanuts, lightly roasted and finely chopped
1 tsp red chilli flakes
75ml soy sauce (or fish sauce, for a non-vegan dish)
75ml lime juice (ie, from 4-5 limes)
300g french beans, trimmed and cut in half widthways
½ large cucumber, quartered lengthways, deseeded and cut into 2mm-thick slices on an angle
2 red chillies, deseeded and cut into 5mm-thin strips
¼ red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
5g mint leaves
5g Thai basil leaves
10g coriander leaves
60ml tamarind concentrate (good-quality ready-made or make your own from pulp)
60ml maple syrup
Salt

Toast the rice in a dry small frying pan on a medium heat for 10 minutes, tossing frequently, until golden. Take off the heat and, once cool, grind in a mortar to a fine powder.

Put the noodles in a heatproof bowl, top with a litre of boiling water, cover with clingfilm and leave to soften for 10 minutes. Drain, run under cold water, then drain again.

Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan on a medium-high flame. Add the mushrooms (they will pretty much fill up the pan) and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid the mushrooms produce has cooked away and the mushrooms are beginning to colour. Add the peanuts and chilli flakes, cook for two minutes, then, off the heat, stir through the ground rice and two tablespoons each of soy sauce and lime juice. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add a teaspoon of salt, followed by the beans, and boil for just two minutes. Drain and run under ice-cold water, to stop them cooking more.

In a large bowl, toss the drained noodles with the beans, cucumber, chilli, onion, three-quarters of the herbs and a quarter-teaspoon of salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk the tamarind, maple syrup, remaining three tablespoons each of lime juice and soy sauce, and 90ml groundnut oil. Pour half of this dressing over the salad and the rest over the laab. Divide the laab between four bowls, spreading it out, then top with the noodles so the laab can still be seen around the edges. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs and serve.

Udon noodles with prawns and orange nam jim

Star turn: Yotam Ottolenghi’s udon noodles with prawns and orange nam jim.



Star turn: Yotam Ottolenghi’s udon noodles with prawns and orange nam jim. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

The nam jim gets better with time, so make it a day ahead, if you can; don’t add the coriander and shallots until just before you serve, though. To save time, I’ve used pre-cooked noodles, but if you’ve got only dried, cook them according to the packet instructions and drain before tossing with the prawns. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Prep 10-15 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 2

350g raw extra-large king prawns, peeled and deveined
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp vegetable oil
600g cooked udon noodles
10g Thai basil leaves
3 spring onions, finely sliced on an angle
10g coriander leaves
2 red chillies, deseeded and finely sliced
1 tbsp sesame seeds, ideally a mixture of black and white, toasted
Salt

For the nam jim
2 oranges – juice 1 to get 80ml and cut the other into wedges
½ tbsp basmati rice
¾ tbsp Aleppo chilli, lightly toasted until fragrant
20g tamarind paste
40ml fish sauce
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 shallot, peeled and finely diced
5g coriander leaves, finely chopped

Mix the prawns in a bowl with the garlic, two tablespoons of oil and half a teaspoon of salt, then leave to marinate for an hour.

For the nam jim, put the orange juice in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat and simmer for four minutes, until it has reduced to about 60ml, then leave to cool.

While the juice is cooling, put the rice in a small saucepan on a medium-high heat and toast for four to five minutes, until it is just beginning to colour and smell nutty. Tip the rice into a spice grinder or mortar, add the Aleppo chilli and blitz or pound to a coarse powder. Add the orange juice and all the other nam jim ingredients, stir and set aside while you cook the prawns.

Put a large, nonstick pan on a medium-high flame until very hot, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Fry half the prawns, spaced well apart, for two minutes a side, until crisp and dark golden brown on each side, then transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining prawns (add more oil, if need be).

Return all the prawns to the pan, add the cooked noodles and two-thirds of the nam jim, and toss everything together. Add two-thirds each of the basil, spring onion, coriander and chilli, and gently toss together. Pour over the remaining nam jim, scatter over the remaining herbs and finish with the sesame seeds. Serve warm with orange wedges for squeezing over.

Seaweed and sesame salad with tahini dressing

A salty side: Yotam Ottlenghi’s seaweed and sesame salad with tahini dressing.



A salty side: Yotam Ottlenghi’s seaweed and sesame salad with tahini dressing. Photograph: Louise Hagger for the Guardian

Sea spaghetti is seaweed that has a similar texture to rice noodles, but with a gloriously salty kick that makes it a brilliant accompaniment to fish. It’s available online and at Asian supermarkets. Nanami togarashi is a Japanese chilli seasoning that works well here, but regular chilli flakes work fine, too. Serve this salad as soon as you’ve mixed it together – perhaps with a little rice to bulk it out – because the cucumber will make it watery if it is left to sit around for too long.

Prep 5 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4

50g dried sea spaghetti
1 cucumber, cut in half lengthways, deseeded, then cut into julienne strips
20g white or black sesame seeds (or a mixture of both)
15g coriander leaves
Salt
½ tsp nanami togarashi (or chilli flakes)

For the dressing
1 tsp honey
1½ tsp rice-wine vinegar
1 tbsp mirin
1 tsp dijon mustard
1½ tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp tahini paste
1 tbsp groundnut oil

Put all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine.

Put the seaweed in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until al dente. Drain, refresh under cold water, pat dry and leave to cool.

Put the seaweed in a large bowl, add the cucumber, sesame seeds, coriander, dressing and half a teaspoon of salt, and toss. Divide between bowls (or arrange on one large serving platter), sprinkle with the chilli and serve at once.

  • Food styling: Emily Kydd. Prop styling: Jennifer Kay



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