This is a recipe from NF Rebel Chef Noel.
Have you tried making a recipe thinking it’s going to be one thing, and it turns out to be something completely different? It happens to the best of us. Sometimes in the kitchen we set out to make something we think is going to taste great, but then it tastes awful. Or you think it’s going to be awesome, but it’s just “meh.”
And sometimes it’s not quite what you wanted, but it’s unexpectedly tasty.
When it’s edible (and just different), there’s no reason to be disappointed; you made a thing, and it actually tastes good. You can feed yourself and your family. You can impress your friends with your ridiculous looking zucchini noodles. You are a rockstar.
Take that XP for cooking that meal and move on with your life.
I recently returned from completing an Epic Quest in Asia and was feeling pretty inspired by their flavorful, noodley dishes. After returning home I tried to put together some dishes that tasted similar. While the Thai noodle stir fry below wasn’t exactly the flavor I originally had in mind, it sure was tasty. Plus, it’s incredibly simple (veggies, protein, sauce, done).
A note on zucchini noodles… I will never ask you to buy a piece of equipment as ridiculous as a “zoodler.” If you have one already, that’s great. If you’re looking for an excuse to buy one, this recipe might be it. If you’re not convinced and/or you don’t have time to zoodle, just cut the zucchini as you would for any other stir fry recipe. You won’t hurt my feelings.
Thai Noodle Stir Fry
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 2 zucchinis, either sliced or cut with a “zoodle” maker
- 3 carrots, sliced into medallions
- 2 cups bean sprouts – I used a dry measure cup. Pile the sprouts into the top of it. It won’t be perfect, but it doesn’t matter.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (aka cut really really ridiculously tiny)
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- 1 large egg, scrambled
- 1 lb (.5 Kg) chicken, shrimp, pork, or a mix
- 2 Tbsp (30mL) fish sauce – you can very likely easily find this at an Asian market if you have one in your city, or in your grocery store if it has a good international food aisle. If not, you can substitute soy sauce or coconut aminos if you don’t feel like having an Asian market adventure or if you can’t find it.
- 3 Tbsp (45mL) lime juice
- 1/4 tsp (1mL) crushed red pepper (add more or less depending on how spicy you like your food)
- 1 Cup (236mL) Broccoli – frozen works fine here
- 1 Cup (236mL) Cabbage, shredded
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 of a Bell pepper – your choice in color
Optional stuff to make yourself feel fancy when serving:
- 1/2 tbsp (2.5mL) ginger, minced
- 1/4 cup (59mL) crushed cashews (or peanuts if you swing that way)
- 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
- More red pepper flakes
- Lime wedges
- Sesame seeds
Equipment (see our recommendations on what to buy):
- Cutting board
- Frying pan
- Bowl x2 (cereal bowls are fine) – for mixing your sauce and whisking your egg
- Fork x2 – for mixing your sauce and whisking your egg
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Garlic press (optional)
- Zucchini noodler – optional if you want your zucchini to be noodle-shaped
Wash your hands and veggies, and prepare to prep:
Cut your veggies and set aside (or use a separate cutting board for) the chicken. If you only have one cutting board and you cut your chicken first because you didn’t read this recipe completely before diving in, just make sure you wash the cutting board and knife thoroughly before cutting the veggies. Don’t make yourself sick with raw chicken juices.
- Zoodle the zucchinis? Is this even a word? It is now. Slice those suckers if you’re opting not to zoodle. (Do you even zoodle, bro?)
- Slice your carrots.
- Peel and mince your garlic (or squish it in your press).
- Slice your green onions.
- Cut up any of those optional veggies (broccoli, bell peppers, cabbage, ginger, etc.).
- Measure out your beansprouts (these do not have to be cut).
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- Cut your protein of choice into bite-size pieces. If you’re using shrimp, peel and de-vein them.
2. Whisk your egg in a bowl.
Sauce and condiments:
- Mix up your sauce – add fish sauce, lime juice, and crushed pepper together, stir.
- Smash your cashews or peanuts (put them in a plastic ziplock bag and smash them with a hammer, bottle, shoe, cup, your fist…whatever’s handy.)
Now, we’re going to cook the proteins:
- Put 1tsp of fat (I use coconut oil) in a pan, let it melt.
- Tip the pan to spread the oil around to coat the surface of the pan.
- Pour your whisked egg into the pan and scramble that baby up.
Once it’s scrambled, set aside. If your egg stuck to the pan, you may want to scrape the stuck bits out as much as possible or wash your pan. You don’t want burnt egg in your food. Burnt egg = 🙁
- Put more fat/oil in the pan and melt it. Spread it to coat again.
- Toss in your chicken – cook until done (10-15 min).
- Move the chicken to a separate plate.
Now we’re going to cook the veggies:
- Add 1 Tbsp of coconut oil to your pan again and let it heat up, tip to coat pan.
- Toss your garlic and ginger (if using) in the pan and mix around (about 10 seconds).
- Toss carrots and any other veggies you’re using into the pan let them cook about 2-3 minutes.
- Toss your zucchini noodles into the pan cook about 2-3 minutes.
Mix it all together with the sauce and nuts:
At this point you are practically finished. All that’s left is to throw your proteins back into the pan with the veggies, pour the sauce and nuts on top, and mix! If the pan is hot, the sauce might sizzle and steam quite a bit as it’s cooking off. Be prepared for the sound and the steam!
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After about two minutes of heating, serve with lime wedges, and any other garnishes you might want to make yourself feel fancy (more red pepper flake, more nuts, cilantro, etc.)
Boss Battle Complete!
Cooking something and having it turn out not quite as you expected can feel like fighting a boss battle where you barely survived. You thought you trained and prepared, but maybe you didn’t train in quite the right way. Maybe you picked up the wrong item before battle or you forgot to buy potions at the market before charging in.
The important thing is that, not only did you fight the good fight and survive, but you learned something about cooking or a particular ingredient that you didn’t know before. To continue to level up your cooking, maybe you realize that next time you should:
- Squeeze fresh limes instead of buying lime juice at the store.
- Buy some fresh herbs or spices instead of dried (or grow your own!).
- Not put the heat on your stove quite so high.
If you make a mistake, remember that every seasoned warrior has made that same mistake before you and become better at what they’re doing because of it. These mistakes have to be made to learn. You’re in good company.
Keep fighting the good fight, my friend. You’ll get it next time. Or you’ll add a brand new, unexpected meal to your arsenal that you never knew you were missing!
Have you ever made any great-tasting mistakes in the kitchen?
Do you have any hilarious cooking failure stories?
How do you overcome your bad cooking mistakes in a healthy way?
Tell us about it in the comments!
Brick 101: Research Institute, Nicolas Nova:Mistake