Hello hello! It’s been too long my friends!
Don’t worry, the lack of posting does not mean Miss One has been starving or has been feeding on packaged/frozen/takeaway food – she’s still being well nourished with home-made meals but we just haven’t had time for sharing. Reason is that I’ve just been getting a little more absorbed back into the corporate world, changing from 3 to 4 working days. Luckily for Miss One, the one day less with Mummy has been replaced with a day with Daddy and it’s amazing what a noticeable difference it makes to the daughter/daddy bond – I think all dads should consider a 4 day working week! :). I think I’m the only loser out of the new arrangement but overall, it’s a net win for our family so I’ll take one for the team this time. But I have noticed that I treasure my time with bub even more now and I make a real effort to do lots of fun activities with her so it’s not all bad for me either.
Anyway, enough about our domestic arrangements and back to the point of this post.
This is my version (one of many, really) of a stir fry Hokkien noodle dish for the whole family but it is so versatile that you can tailor it to your little one’s taste (or yours). It is simple and nutritious as it seems no matter how much vegetable matter I add to it, Miss One will happily eat it. I remember the first time I made it, it was also the first time she would not allow me to assist her at all but with a combination of two spoons, fingers, hands, she managed to clean up the whole bowl by herself! These days she demands seconds “more, more!” accompanied by her knocking her fingers together in baby sign language.
It must be the half Asian in our little Miss One that she seems to have a natural affinity for Asian flavours – vietnamese noodle salads, sushi, anything my mum makes. And she also seems to like any kind of noodles – rice, egg, thin, thick, soba … so when I saw these “ready to heat” Hokkien noodles, Miss One got lucky as it makes super easy.
The prep work consists mainly of chopping everything into small pieces to fit the little mouth – slicing chicken breast, cutting the carrot into flat batons, broccoli florets into small posies and sugar snap peas diagonally into smaller segments . I marinated the chicken quickly by sprinkling over some sesame oil, light soy, a bit of sugar and white pepper – this was taught to me by my mum and it always makes chicken tastier, whether it is for chicken wings, chicken satay or stir fries.
I cooked the carrot, peas and broccoli separately first to make sure they are cooked and softened to make them easier for bub to eat. When I cook vegetables in the wok, I heat up a little bit of oil, throw in the vegetables and then add a few dashes of water – this helps cook and soften the vegetables to the texture that bub enjoys. Miss One even had a few helpings of vegetables while I was cooking, coming over with her bowl for refills and asking for “more, more”- it was very cute and reminded me of Oliver!
The only slightly unusual ingredient I have used and Miss One seems to love are the mushrooms – these were not your usual cup variety today, I sourced a mushroom mix of fresh shiitake, oyster and Chinese black fungus (aka cloud ear fugus – what an appetising name! Mmmm!). Other times I’ve used enoki which also works well – I just find the addition of some exotic mushroom makes it just a little bit more special for bub and adults alike.
The mushrooms and corn kernel can basically be just tossed around abit in the hot wok as they don’t need much cooking at all but it will take away the raw taste especially if you add a little oyster sauce as I find it really brings out the best in the mushies. Oops! I gave it away!
Yes, the fabulous key ingredient (I’d say it’s mandatory) is oyster sauce – it adds saltiness and sweetness which is a vital taste combo in much of Asian cuisine. I added about a teaspoon to the vegetables and it is also the sauce that brings the whole dish together when I toss the chicken, vegetables and noodles at the end.
Like I said, this is mainly for inspiration, so be creative and change the protein or add your bub’s favourite vegetables – just make sure everything is appropriately bite-sized, especially the noodles (or just do what I do and apply the baby scissors prior to serving, then stand back and watch your little one take care of the rest!).
Would love to hear what magic vegetable/protein combos you discover for your little ones!
As with all our recipes, it’s all ready to be downloaded into your Zest Recipe Manager. If you haven’t got one yet – download for free from here: http://plentyofzest.com/zestapp/.
- 450g ready to heat Hokkien noodles
- 2 medium sized carrots, cut into thin batons
- 1 medium head of broccoli, cut into small florets
- 150g sugar snap peas, cut diagonally into segments
- 1 cob of corn, kernels cut off
- 150g mixed mushrooms, cut into small pieces
- 250g chicken thigh fillets, cut into baby bite size pieces
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
- White pepper
- Prepare Hokkien noodles as instructed by your package so they are cooked and ready to add later.
- Marinate the chicken in a bowl: mix with sesame oil, sugar, light soy and sprinkle with white pepper. Set aside.
- Warm up a teaspoon of oil in a wok over a high heat. Throw in the carrots and about 2 tablespoons of water. Stir until carrots are cooked through and softened a little (about 2 minutes). Set aside in a bowl. Cook the broccoli and sugar snap peas in the same way and add to the carrots.
- Heat up another teaspoon of remaining oil. Add the marinated chicken, and stir until cooked (about 2 minutes). Set aside in a separate bowl.
- Heat up the remaining oil. Throw in the mushrooms and 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce and stir well to coat. Add the corn kernels, toss them through and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the prepared noodles, chicken and cooked vegetables to the mushrooms and corn. Add the remaining oyster sauce and stir through until all the ingredients are warmed and well distributed.