Enter the Dragon Aka Noodle Broth
You may be thinking “Why is The Spice Guy constantly going on about his childhood?” and “I thought he was meant to be ‘Spicing up our life’s’”?
Well, just like anything in life you cannot just jump straight into the really good stuff. You need time for it to be savoured. I am creating food foreplay people, so please bear with me. It will be worth the wait.
My childhood was most definitely a rollercoaster of a ride!
It's only now that I realise the massive cultural differences, but there is one huge factor that kept it all in and that was my family’s shop.
Not only was it the hub of the community but all the gossip would be filtered through the shop as it was a community tabloid and confessional service. My mother was a mixture of Peggy Mitchell, mixed with Madhur Jeffry, with a hint of Gordon Ramsey, and finished with an agony aunt. Like most Indian mothers, she was a feeder, and no one left hungry or empty handed even if you were not hungry.
Most of my friends were not really my friends., They were my pretend friends as my mum would give every kid, sweets, chocolates, crisps, 10p mixes. Every bloody kid would turn up to see me. I’m very sure kids from other schools cottoned on and would just try their luck at the right time knowing I wouldn’t be able to play out. I was very popular but loathed at the same time, a weird concept for a child to understand, but it worked, and I just went with the flow.
This particular evening my folks were out for the evening, and I was kind of in charge of the shop with my cousin Sanjay., He was my best friend but also my worst enemy at times, as he had an opinion on everything. The girls loved him, and he was a sports man, to be fair a fantastic football player, he had trials with Manchester City and Preston North End, you get the picture.
I was in a raucous mood as I had been taking martial arts lessons and was doing very well.
I was a bit of a slick mover. That evening I decided that I should test my skills on Sanjay.
I started mucking about being a bit Bruce Lee like, so a demonstration was needed, and I asked Sanj to try and punch me in the face. Obviously, he said no way, I begged and pleaded for nearly 2 hours eventually he begrudgingly gave in.
I explained, we would stand toe to toe and that we should test my reflexes.
So, there we were like a scene from ‘Enter the Dragon’ but standing next to the crisp boxes.
The tension grew, you could hear a pin drop, it felt amazing.
I was ready. I knew I had this in the bag.
His hand went up. I used my skill like the karate kid block. It all went horribly wrong!
He hit me! Right on the side of the face. I flew into the crisp boxes., It truly was dramatic just like a major stunt from a movie.
“Why did he hit me?” I thought. I was really dazed.
Sanj picked me up and said “Sorry, sorry, I thought you knew what you were doing!”
I said, “I do!”
But I forgot thing., He was bloody left handed and every bloody else that I practised with was right handed!
He laughed his head off whilst I got so angry and pissed off that I didn’t talk to him for a little while.
However he won me over though with a trip to the Chinese chippy. Most Fridays my family would visit Young’s Chippy on Dickinson Road. Fish, chips, peas and gravy was usually the favourite. Dad loved the curry sauce. This taste was very different for us Indians, but very tasty.
However, on this occasion I had my taste buds blown away. Growing up, I loved spaghetti and noodles (Pot Noodles), but I had never tried a Chinese noodle dish until now.
This chicken Chow Mein was fantastic and still in my opinion the best I have ever eaten. This is where I learnt the expression, ‘The Breath of the Wok’.
I love the chow mein with a slight charred flavour. I learnt this expression as I was once talking to the owner, Mr Young, and telling him about an occasion I’d tried a Chow Mein somewhere else and said it just didn’t look or taste the same.
Mr Young explained to me, with a knowing smile, what was missing, he’d known straight away. It was the ‘Breath of the Wok’.
The heat of the wok creates a certain flavour, and the Chinese translation is ‘Breath of the Wok’.
So, there I was sat with Sanj, with a one side of my face red as my chilli sauce, enjoying the simplest pleasures, and it is only now that I have ever shared this infamous day when I thought I was Bruce Lee.
On that bombshell I will leave you with my new recipe. Please visit my recipe page, for this lovely Chinese Spiced Lamb Noodle Broth.
If you are a noodle fan you will love this dish and remember you can adapt it to your taste. If you don't like lamb use beef, if you are keto replace the noodles with swede or courgette noodles.
Love The Spice Guy
Chinese Spiced Lamb noodle broth
For 2 People
- 2 Large Lamb leg steaks (1 per person)
- 2 Tsp - The Spice Guys - Chinese Blend
- 2 Tsp of dark soy sauce
- 2 Tsp of honey
- 2 Tbs of unflavoured oil. (sunflower, rapeseed, ground nut)
- Beef Stock - 1 Litre (Alternatively 2 beef stock cubes mixed with water)
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 inch of Ginger crushed
- Fresh Coriander - separate the stalks
- 300g - Egg Noodles (150g per person)
- 1 - large carrot cut into strips using peeler
- 2 small bulbs of pak choi
- 2 large whole pieces of star anise
- 1 - Cinnamon Stick - med size 5 cm approx
- 3 - cloves
- 1 - Spring Onion Sliced thinly at a angle
- Pink Himalayan Salt & Pepper to taste
- Cook off the carrots stripes, the whole bulb of pak choi and the noodles, in salted water. When cooked to your liking cool straight away in a bowl of iced cold water to stop it cooking and then leave to one side at room temp.
- In a bowl mix the lamb, soy sauce, oil, honey and TSG chinese blend all over the lamb and pink salt to taste, and leave out for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the lam to come to room temp.
- Pre heat your oven to 170C
- Now to make the broth - in a pan had the beef stock, crushed ginger & garlic, star anise, cinnamon, cloves. and a few coriander stalks.
- Bring the broth to the boil then simmer, with a lid on.
- Put the lamb in the middle of the oven and cook for 30 mins, or until cooked through and crispy.
- Once cooked the meat can rest, while you start putting your dish together.
- In two large bowls add the noodles, one pak choi to each bowl, some carrot strips, and as much or as little coriander leave as you like.
- Turn the heat up on the broth and bring to the boil again, you can fish out the spices if you wish.
- Cut the lamb into slices and then pour the boiling broth over the noodles and veg.
- Carefully add the lamb to the bowl and garnish with spring onions.
- And then enjoy