Stir-fries are a fantastic invention – chuck into a wok some rice/noodles, protein and whatever veg you have at hand, drizzle with your flavourings of choice (at the moment I’m crushing on kecap manis) and dollop into a bowl. A satisfying meal easily prepared in less than half an hour. However, since becoming vegetarian our stir-fries have consistently featured tofu with the occasional surprise appearance of cashews. Now I’m all for a good tofu stir-fry, please don’t get me wrong. But at times one needs to step outside the box and mix things up a bit. A breath of fresh air if you like. This Egg and Rice Vermicelli stir-fry does just that.
For starters, the name is a massive give-away. Egg and Rice Vermicelli – two ingredients I rarely include in stir-fry. I often chop up an omelette (cheese-free of course) to throw in fried rice but never before have I used boiled egg in a stir-fry. To tell the truth, I despised boiled egg – I found even the smell of them cooking repulsive – until the start of this year. Boy have I been missing out! It works marvellously in this dish. Simply boil one egg per person (though there is no reason why you cook more), quarter it and pop on top just before serving. The main reason why I used rice vermicelli was that I discovered a lonely half packet that had been shoved in the back of the pantry after making rice paper rolls a few months ago. Again, I can’t understand why I don’t use it more often. The noodles are extremely quick to cook and trap the sauce very effectively. I find it terribly frustrating when you are left with a pool of sauce in the bottom of your bowl, so these noodles made me very happy. Furthermore, shredding the leeks and grating the carrot result in a more even distribution of veg through the noodles. Tomato sauce is yet another ingredient that I had not previously used in stir-fry, but heck if I was already daring to step outside the box, why not go the full monty?
I used kaffir lime leaves and bay leaves to up the anti on the flavour and they worked fine, however I would have preferred curry leaves. So, if you do have access to curry leaves (I walked to three different supermarkets in an attempt to source some) I would recommend using them instead!
Egg and Rice Vermicelli Stir-Fry
Serves 4 – 6.
100g rice vermicelli, cut in half (to make shorter lengths)
75g cashew nuts
20ml sunflower oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
6 kaffir lime leaves
2 bay leaves
½ tsp minced ginger
2 leeks, white part only, finely sliced
2 carrots, grated
100g snow peas, trimmed and quartered
1 red capsicum, diced into rough 1.5cm cubes
150g frozen peas
2 tbsp tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra for serving
½ tsp fine sea salt
Hard boiled eggs, peeled and cut into wedges – one for each person.
Cover the rice vermicelli with boiling water in a large bowl and let stand for three minutes or until tender. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Heat a large wok and toast the cashews until golden brown, about three minutes, tossing regularly over a medium heat. Remove and set aside.
Turn the heat to high and add the oil. Throw in the onion and cook for seven minutes, stirring often, or until dark golden to brown in colour and starting to crisp at the edges. Remove and set aside.
Meanwhile, steam/boil the peas for about three minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside.
Toss the kaffir lime and bay leaves and ginger into the wok and cook over a low heat for a minute or two. Add the leek, carrot, snow peas and capsicum, turn the heat up to medium and cook for three minutes.
Pour in the tomato sauce, soy sauce and also the salt, noodles and half of the peas. Cook over a high heat, stirring constantly to prevent the noodles sticking, for five minutes or until heated through. Most of the liquid should have evaporated. If not, cook a further few minutes.
Pile the noodle mixture onto plates/into bowls, top with peas then onions and cashews. Finally scatter the wedges of a boiled egg over each plate.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.