Confession time: I’ve basically invented a paleo chicken & mushroom pot noodle. I didn’t necessarily intend it to come out that way, but in fact it seems to work quite well – it’s got the same flavour principle of bulking up on umami to deliver a bit of excitement, but my recipe adds a bit of chilli for an extra kick and uses only natural ingredients to deliver that flavour (of course!).
Thinking about it, I wonder if you could condense the broth down to make a jelly then take it to work with a tub of shredded veg and chicken. Rehydrate using boiling water to melt the jelly stock and heat up the veg…
Ingredients: serves 2
For the broth:
- Homemade chicken stock. I generally have this in the freezer all the time so it’s not too difficult to produce for a quick dinner. In terms of volume it’s hard to say because it’s more about strength to deliver flavour. You probably want about 1 chicken carcass with of stock, in about 500ml. If it’s too much liquid just boil to condense a bit otherwise you won’t get enough flavour.
- A handful of dried shiitake mushrooms (you can get these in Waitrose, but nothing will go horribly wrong if you use a different type of mushroom)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or chopped
- A bit of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- A sprinkling of chilli flakes
- Thai Fish Sauce
- White vinegar
- Veg – whatever makes you happy, but it should be something that is tasty with a bit of a crunch. I used 1 large carrot and 1 large courgette between the two of us. Turnip would be great in this.
- Something green – we had tat soi because that’s what I managed to get my hands on but spinach or some kind of cabbage would be just as good.
- A couple of spring onions
- A handful of chopped coriander
- Some kind of protein. A handful of leftover cooked chicken, a bit of fish, some prawns… whatever makes you happy.
First thing is to create your broth. Put the kettle on, and while you’re waiting for it to boil break up your dried mushrooms a bit so the pieces aren’t too huge. Cover your mushrooms in boiling water and leave to soften.
Place your chicken stock in a pan, add in all the other additions for the broth (excluding the mushrooms). I’ve not given you amounts for the fish sauce or vinegar but that’s because it’s really subjective and entirely up to you – I add a little at this point and taste later on, adjusting if I need to. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes, with the lid off so it reduces a little. Add in your mushrooms and the water you soaked them in.
While it’s bubbling, you can start prepping everything else. I cut the carrots and courgettes into long noodle shapes and left the greens as they were because the leaves were fairly small anyway. Whatever you’re using, you just need to make sure it’s really thin and will cook very quickly. If you’re using cabbage then shred the leaves. Finely chop the spring onions and coriander.
Cook your chosen protein (we used fish in this picture) and break into small pieces.
When everything is ready taste your broth, and adjust for seasoning – extra vinegar if it’s a bit heavy and needs to be sharper, and fish sauce if you need a bit of extra salty umami flavour. If it takes you more than 10 minutes to prep then don’t panic – just put a lid on your broth and turn it down a bit while you finish chopping. Add your veg but not the greens to the pan, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes. You want everything to stay fresh and crunchy so don’t cook for too long.
I’ve always found that the greens cook enough by themselves just by having broth in there for 30 seconds or so, so place them at the bottom of your serving bowls. Pour the hot broth and other veg on top, and give it a good stir.
Place your protein of choice on top, along with a generous sprinkling of spring onion and coriander. Then get slurping! Apologies in advance if you get it all down your t-shirt…