Oo­dles of noo­dles

Have fun with this mix-and-match Ja­panese nod­dle-bar party. Pre­pare the dishes ahead and join in with your guests to cre­ate your own unique com­bi­na­tions.

Ideas Entertainment - - Contents -

Have fun with a mix-and-match Ja­panese noo­dle-bar party.

Set the scene

Make your guests feel as though they are sit­ting in a noo­dle restau­rant in the mid­dle of Tokyo. Dec­o­rate a fo­cus wall with Asian news­pa­per, cal­lig­ra­phy and a cou­ple of pic­tures that fit in well with the theme. The colour scheme can be re­ally bright with black and pink ac­cents. Dec­o­rate the ta­ble with an as­sort­ment of ce­ramic bowls and cups from the East and ar­range every­thing in a sym­met­ri­cal and struc­tured way. We cov­ered an ob­long wooden box with pink scrapbooking pa­per and placed it in the cen­tre of the ta­ble for serv­ing – your guests can help them­selves to noo­dles from there. Round off with a cou­ple of lan­terns and a play­ful ‘open’ neon sign.

Bento box starter

Put each pre­pared dish in a sep­a­rate con­tainer or sec­tion of a bento box. Ac­com­pany seafood dishes with a se­lec­tion of veg­eta­bles. Use sliced sweet corn, steamed green beans and as­para­gus sprin­kled with se­same seeds. Car­rot slices, baby to­ma­toes and cu­cum­ber slices are also ideal. Clock­wise from top left: se­lec­tion of green veg­eta­bles, sliced sweet corn, se­same fish balls, smoked salmon sushi pieces and lollipop prawns. (Recipes on pages 8-10.)

Menu

Pre­pare two types of noo­dles, two to three dif­fer­ent types of meat, and a few bowls filled with stir-fried veg­eta­bles like sweet pep­per or Chi­nese cabbage. Also have two to three dif­fer­ent dip­ping sauces, and bowls of Ja­panese pickle, shred­ded spring onions and chopped roasted peanuts or cashew nuts. Put every­thing on the ta­ble so your guests can help them­selves and make the noo­dle dish of their choice by mix­ing and match­ing the in­gre­di­ents.

Chi­nese noo­dles

Cook 1 packet of Chi­nese noo­dles ac­cord­ing to the in­struc­tions on the packet. Drain and rinse with cold wa­ter. Mix 30ml lime or lemon juice, 30ml soy sauce, 5ml brown sugar, 5ml se­same oil and 45ml freshly chopped basil or co­rian­der. Pour over the noo­dles and toss well to coat.

Soba noo­dles

Cook the soba noo­dles ac­cord­ing to the in­struc­tions on the packet. Drain and then add 250ml stock made with in­stant dashi gran­ules, or use chicken or veg­etable stock. Add 3 thinly sliced spring onions, 10ml grated fresh ginger and 1 clove of crushed gar­lic. Stir well.

Sauces

SOY AND GINGER: Mix 120ml light soy sauce, 5ml se­same oil, 30ml wa­ter, 3 finely chopped spring onions and 15ml finely chopped pick­led ginger.

SOY AND CHILLI: Mix 120ml light soy sauce, 30ml wa­ter and 5-10ml chilli paste or finely chopped chill­ies.

SWEET AND SOUR: Mix 90ml sugar and 15ml corn­flour to­gether. Stir in 35ml white vine­gar, about 150ml wa­ter, 30ml light soy sauce and 15ml tomato sauce (ketchup). Cook over a low heat, stir­ring un­til thick­ened.

In­vi­ta­tions

Buy a masu, a square wooden sake cup, at an Asian store and spray paint it gold. In­sert the in­vi­ta­tion, a for­tune cookie, sweets and chop­sticks and round off with a satin rib­bon in a colour that fits with your theme.

Se­same fish balls

Serves: 6-8 Prepa­ra­tion time: 30 min­utes Cook­ing time: 10 min­utes

500g fish fil­lets

4 spring onions, chopped

10ml grated ginger

1 clove gar­lic, crushed

10ml soy sauce

10ml lime or lemon juice

5ml sugar

3ml se­same oil

100ml se­same seeds (black and white)

oil for deep-fry­ing

sweet chilli sauce or sweet-and-sour

sauce, to serve

1 Put the fish, spring onions, ginger, gar­lic, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar and se­same oil in a food pro­ces­sor and blend un­til finely chopped. 2 Roll the mix­ture into balls and then roll in the se­same seeds. Deep-fry over a medium heat un­til golden and cooked through. Drain on kitchen pa­per. Serve with sweet chilli sauce or sweet-and­sour sauce for dip­ping. TIP As a health­ier al­ter­na­tive to fry­ing, bake the balls at 180oc un­til done.

Smoked salmon sushi pieces

Serves: 6-8 Prepa­ra­tion time: about 1 hour, plus chill­ing time Cook­ing time: 10 min­utes

300g sushi rice

60ml rice wine vine­gar

15ml cas­tor sugar

100g smoked salmon slices

1 ripe but firm av­o­cado

pick­led ginger

nori sheets, to gar­nish (op­tional)

1 Rinse the rice. Drain and put into a saucepan. Add 350ml wa­ter and bring to the boil. Re­duce the heat and sim­mer for 5 min­utes, un­til most of the wa­ter has gone. 2 Cover the saucepan with a tight-fit­ting lid and cook over a very low heat for 10 min­utes. Switch off the heat and leave to stand for 10 min­utes. 3 Heat the rice wine vine­gar, sugar and a pinch of salt to­gether un­til the sugar has dis­solved. Stir into the cooked rice. 4 Line a 20cm square tin with a dou­ble layer of plas­tic wrap. Wet your hands and then press the rice into the tin. Cover the rice with the slices of salmon. Cover with plas­tic wrap and chill for 2-3 hours. 5 Just be­fore serv­ing, un­wrap the mix­ture then dip a sharp knife into hot wa­ter and cut the sushi into small squares or rec­tan­gles. Top each one with a few slices of av­o­cado and a small piece of pick­led ginger.

You can also wrap thin strips of nori around the pieces of sushi, as a gar­nish. Cut strips of nori and brush a lit­tle wa­ter onto the ends of the strips so you can stick them to­gether to hold them in place around the sushi.

Lollipop prawns

Serves: 6-8 Prepa­ra­tion time: 30 min­utes, plus mar­i­nat­ing time Cook­ing time: 5 min­utes

10ml grated fresh ginger

3 cloves gar­lic, crushed

1-2 red chill­ies, seeded and chopped

100ml lime or lemon juice

10ml brown sugar

60ml peanut oil (or use sun­flower)

400g prawns, peeled

1 Mix the ginger, gar­lic, chilli, lime juice, sugar and oil to­gether. Pour over the prawns and mar­i­nate for 30 min­utes to an hour. 2 Use small wooden ke­bab sticks or bam­boo skew­ers and thread one prawn onto each one, so that the tail and head are both se­cured and the prawn forms a cir­cle. 3 Heat a grid­dle pan or fry­ing pan and cook the prawns for about two min­utes on each side, un­til they turn white and are cooked through.

Ten­der brin­jals with tofu

Serves: 6-8 Prepa­ra­tion time: 20 min­utes Cook­ing time: 20 min­utes

400g brin­jals, sliced length­ways and

salted

200g firm tofu, cubed

45ml sun­flower oil

15ml sugar

30ml mirin

5ml in­stant dashi gran­ules (or use

veg­etable stock pow­der)

1-3ml dried crushed chilli

5ml fresh grated ginger

fresh co­rian­der, to gar­nish

1 Wipe the salt off the brin­jal slices. Cut into cubes. Heat the oil in a fry­ing pan and brown the pieces. 2 Add 250ml wa­ter along with the re­main­ing in­gre­di­ents, ex­cept for the tofu and co­rian­der. Bring to the boil then sim­mer, un­cov­ered, for 10 min­utes or un­til ten­der. 3 Heat a lit­tle more oil in a fry­ing pan and fry the tofu cubes un­til browned. Add to the brin­jals. Mix to­gether and gar­nish with fresh co­rian­der.

Teriyaki chicken

Serves: 6-8 Prepa­ra­tion time: 10 min­utes Cook­ing time: about 10 min­utes

30ml sun­flower oil

4 breast fil­lets, thinly sliced

1 onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 car­rots, cut into juli­enne strips

15ml corn­flour

80ml teriyaki sauce

30ml chicken stock or wa­ter

1 Heat a large wok or fry­ing pan. Add the oil and stir-fry the chicken over a high heat for two min­utes. Re­move from the wok and set aside. 2 Add a bit more oil and stir-fry the onions and car­rots for a few min­utes un­til the veg­eta­bles are cooked, but still crunchy. 3 Stir the corn­flour into the teriyaki sauce and stock. Mix into the veg­etable mix­ture and add the chicken. Cook, stir­ring, un­til thick­ened, be­ing care­ful not to over­cook. Re­move from the heat.

Pork mince and mush­rooms

Serves: 6-8 Prepa­ra­tion time: 35 min­utes Cook­ing time: 50 min­utes

1 litre pre­pared chicken stock

1 pack chicken wings

45ml sun­flower oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

5ml grated ginger

1 clove gar­lic, crushed

300g pork mince

125g mush­rooms, sliced or chopped

35ml soy sauce

10ml brown sugar

15ml black bean sauce

15ml sake (op­tional)

5ml se­same oil

chilli oil, to serve

30ml white miso paste

(avail­able at Asian shops)

15ml sake or dry sherry

15ml cas­tor sugar

2 cloves gar­lic, crushed

400g steak (prefer­ably rump)

Dessert idea

Serve a se­lec­tion of fresh fruit and a pot of green tea for dessert. You can also buy for­tune cook­ies or a se­lec­tion of Asian sweets to serve af­ter the meal.

1 Heat the stock and add the chicken wings. Bring to the boil, then sim­mer for 30 min­utes. Strain and re­serve the stock. Re­move the bones and skin and re­turn the meat to the stock.

2 Heat the oil and add the onion, ginger and gar­lic. Stir-fry for two min­utes, then add the mince. Stir for 3-4 min­utes. Add mush­rooms, soy sauce, sugar, black bean sauce, sake and se­same oil. Sim­mer for 5 min­utes.

3 Stir in the stock with the chicken pieces and sim­mer un­cov­ered for 15 min­utes. Sea­son to taste. Serve spooned over the noo­dles with a dash of chilli oil.

Miso steak

Serves: 6-8 Prepa­ra­tion time: 5 min­utes, plus mar­i­nat­ing time Cook­ing time: about 10 min­utes

1 Mix the miso, sake, sugar and gar­lic to­gether. Spread over the steak, cover and mar­i­nate for 1 hour or overnight.

2 Heat a grid­dle pan or heavy-based fry­ing pan over a very high heat. Wipe the ex­cess mari­nade off the steak. Add a lit­tle sun­flower oil to the pan and then cook the steak for about 3-5 min­utes on each side, de­pend­ing on the thick­ness of the meat. Rest for 10 min­utes, then cut into thin slices. Add to some noo­dles and ac­com­pany with shred­ded radish, cu­cum­ber pickle and se­same seeds.

Take­away boxes

Let your guests eat out of take­away noo­dle boxes. (You can use our in­struc­tions on page 92 to make your own boxes, if you pre­fer. Use only the tem­plate out­line, so your boxes are white.) Search for a pic­ture of a geisha on the in­ter­net and copy it in colour onto white pa­per. Stick it on the front of the box and use Chi­nese news­pa­per to dec­o­rate in­side the flaps.

Bento box starter Teriyaki chicken Chi­nese noo­dles Pork mince mushroo with ms Soba noo­dles Miso steak Sauces and gar­nishes Ten­der brin­jals with tofu Veg­eta­bles Dessert

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