One of the biggest disservices to health has been the fast food movement. Or perhaps the instant food culture we live in. The memory of instant noodles has somewhat dimmed for me – I can’t believe I used to eat that for breakfast or for quick meals. I always knew that the high salt content and the dried noodles were not really healthy but it was the quick and easy fix. The first 1- 2 years going onto the low carb diet I really missed it. I think there were some significant cravings that came on particularly when watching Korean dramas where the protagonists slurp giant bowls of kimchi ramen. But those cravings have gradually faded over time and today I can barely imagine wanting to eat a bowl of instant noodles.
I did have a moment of instant magic this week though. M is a friend from South Africa who also embraces the low carb lifestyle and he brought a sample of cauliflower noodles for me to try. Hilariously, the bag that the cauliflower noodles came in began to bloat up dangerously and by the time I got home it was near exploding. It was probably because cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that contains sulphur compounds and is known to cause flatulence. The Singapore heat probably just accelerated the release of some weird gaseous compounds. In fact I remember giving my rabbit a bad case of the bloats when I gave him some cauliflower stem once. Friend M was a little worried that the inflated bag was a sign of the noodle going bad, but when I opened the bag it didn’t really smell bad and I went ahead with using it anyway.
I don’t really miss instant noodles but I do miss noodles. I’ve been using shirataki noodles which is a good substitute for Chinese glass noodles (tang hoon) but can’t quite substitute for la mian type of Chinese noodles. This cauliflower noodle is probably the closest I’ve found to date. It did not have the chewiness of wheat noodles but had a rather pleasant taste – I would never have guessed the noodles were made from cauliflower if I didn’t see the bag myself.
I love curry noodles and there used to be this coffee shop in River Valley Road (Loon Seng I think) that used to serve up a really rich and thick curry chicken noodles. This recipe was inspired by my memory of that noodles. It turned out not as thick and rich as what I remembered but I didn’t feel bad because this was a really quick dish that I cobbled together because I was worried that the cauliflower noodles would really explode! Also while on this blog I have been trying to cook from scratch with fresh ingredients, but I also realized that quite a few people have no time to cook stuff from scratch or are overwhelmed by multiple ingredients, so I have to concede that most people will use prepacked curry pastes for sheer convenience.
So this is a quick and easy recipe – it helps that I always have some instant pot-made chicken or beef broth in the fridge. I also snipped a sprig of curry leaves from the skimpy plant that we have been trying to grow (I don’t have green thumbs). This was also an exercise in making a cheap and good meal – the chicken cost $4, the paste was $2, and the Shanghai greens cost $1.50. In the end each bowl of noodles probably cost below $3. Which just proves that low carb eating can be cheap, quick and satisfying.
Instant Pot Curry Chicken Noodles
- 1/2 chicken, cut into pieces.
- 1 packet of curry paste
- 1 medium onion, cut into large chunks
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 1 packet of bean curd skin (tau pok)
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 packet Shanghai greens (about 200g)
- 1 tbsp oil
- Cut the Shanghai greens into half. Blanch in a pot of boiling salted water. Set aside.
- Blanch the cauliflower noodles or other noodles you have for 1-2 minutes and set aside.
- Put the Instant Pot into sauté mode and heat up the oil.
- Sauté the onions till lightly caramelized. Add the curry paste and sauté lightly for another 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken and stir through.
- Add the coconut milk, stock, salt, as well as the curry leaves. The liquid should cover the meat pieces.
- Close the pot and put the valve in the sealed position. Put on manual high pressure for 15 minutes.
- When done, do a quick pressure release. Put the pot back into sauté mode and add the tau pok and cook through for 1-2 minutes.
- In a bowl, top the noodles with the curry chicken, tau pok and soup, as well as the Shanghai greens on the side. Serve hot.