I STILL don’t really have time to mind the food blog, but sometimes you can’t help but do it anyway. This is another installment of ‘do Asian stuff to prefab Swedish meatballs’. I’ll be using the same flat wheat noodles, the same Sichuan pepper and the same old meatballs, but a new blend of vegetables.
I usually avoid frozen vegetables in my blog food (unless it’s peas) because most of the stuff is readily available fresh anyway, but some of the stuff in this bag, like jelly ear mushroom, lotus root and garlic sprouts are hard to find. There’s also leaf spinach, leeks, snow peas, pumpkin seeds and broccoli in there.
First, some spices. I’m a bit less happy about Sichuan pepper now than when I first used it, since getting all the seeds out of the pods is rather fiddly, and leaving them in gives the dish a lot of gritty little surprises. Also, chili flakes, star anise seeds (the three large seeds) and a mix called ‘minced meat seasoning’ which is white pepper, allspice and ginger. One can toast this a bit, put the pestle to it or leave as is.
Noodles, boiling in vegetable bouillon with star anise husks.
Frozen veg goes into piping hot pan. One of the reasons that I seldom use frozen vegetables for stir frying is that the freezing does structural damage, so that regardless of how quick and careful the cooking is, some sogginess is inevitable. Spices go in too.
Meatballs, cut in half goes in for some time, before adding the now cooked noodles.
Liquids vigorously reduced, with a bit of Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of sugar added. Thickened with arrowroot (other types of starch are probably fine too) before pouring it into the bowl.
Nothing like a warming wok when the cold and snow sets in.