Singapore Noodles

This dish is based on fried curried rice stick noodles, the word Singapore in any such recipe denoting the inclusion of Indian curry spices, but not necessarily implying a Singapore origin. Once you have gathered the elements together and soaked the noodles, its preparation takes less than five minutes. Rather than use a commercial curry powder, make your own from freshly roasted whole spices, thereby lifting a very good dish to a much higher plane.

Ingredients

  • 225 g/ 8 oz rice stick noodles
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp dark sesame oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil, plus more for greasing
  • 115 g/ 4 oz skinned chicken breast, cut into 6-mm / ¼-inch slices, then into matchsticks
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 225 g/ 8 oz peeled Tiger prawns
  • 1 hot red chilli, deseeded
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced paper-thin
  • 2.5-cm / 1-inch piece of root ginger, peeled and cut into tiny matchsticks
  • 5 tbsp chicken stock
  • 8 spring onions, shredded
  • 115 g/ 4 oz beansprouts
  • 1–2 tbsp soy sauce
  • whole coriander leaves, to finish
  • pepper

For the Curry Powder

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric

Method

First make the curry powder: put all the ingredients in a heavy dry pan over a low heat and toast, stirring for 3–4 minutes. Grind to a powder and reserve.

Pour boiling water over the noodles and leave to stand for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and leave for 45 minutes before using.

Put a 25-cm / 10-inch frying pan over a medium heat. In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the dark sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of the curry powder and ½ teaspoon of salt. Brush the pan with sunflower oil, pour in the eggs and, with the back of a fork, quickly turn them with a circular movement in the middle before tilting the pan to spread the eggs and make a flat omelette that coheres but is still moist. Transfer to a cutting board and reserve.

Cut the chicken breast into 6-mm / ¼-inch slices, then cut these across into matchsticks. Put a tablespoon of the sunflower oil in the same pan as the one in which the omelette was cooked and stir-fry the chicken strips until just done, which will take only 60–90 seconds. Transfer to a bowl, toss with the fish sauce and reserve.

Butterfly the prawns, put another tablespoon of oil in the pan and stir-fry the prawns quickly. Add to the chicken, toss and reserve.

Put the remaining oil in a large wok over a medium heat. When smoking-hot, add the chilli, red pepper, garlic and ginger, and stir-fry. As the vegetables start to soften, add the remaining curry powder and toss and stir in, cooking for about 60 seconds.

Add the chicken stock and bubble until it has evaporated, then add the shredded spring onions, the noodles and the beansprouts, tossing. Add the prawns and chicken, and toss until hot. Add soy sauce to taste and serve immediately in deep warmed bowls.

Slice the omelette into 2.5-cm / 1-inch strips and arrange on top, finishing with some whole coriander leaves and a turn or two of the pepper mill.