The opening recipe for my lunch tab. And probably the only one since typically my lunch consists of one of four things: leftovers, macaroni & cheese (only Kraft), tacos, or a sandwich. Honestly I don’t make-make food for lunch because I really don’t have a lot of time. I guess I could always plan ahead and make something the previous night so I just have to heat it up. But that would require planning, something I don’t do.
When I go home for the holidays, however, I typically have a lot of alone time on my hands. That’s when bored cooking comes to life. This recipe was a product of my attempt to throw things together that were in my parent’s oddly well-stocked pantry (since they don’t really cook a whole lot of things).
I’ve made this for lunch a couple of times and it’s something my parents look forward to eating whenever I come home. Because it’s lunch, it’s meatless. Why? Because I don’t plan enough ahead to thaw meat for lunch. But, this would benefit from some meat too, probably chicken or even pork I feel like red meat is a little too heavy. So it’s a vegetarian dish as is, which is really all you need for lunch. I don’t like eating terribly heavy things, otherwise I’d probably rather sleep than study.
Honestly, I’m pretty sure I’d always rather sleep than study, so scratch that last part.
So when I make these, I will use anything in the fridge that needs to be used up and I think will fit in with a good vegetarian noodle dish (which is essentially anything, I haven’t found anything that would be weird to add). For this, I used carrot, onion, celery, bell pepper, broccoli, garlic, and jalapeno. Other vegetables I’ve used include bok choy and leeks. And I think other ones that would work would be like eggplant, cauliflower, zucchini, daikon, bamboo shoots, and such. I mean really, the world is this dish’s oyster.
So then there’s the sauce. Sauce makes everything better honestly. And it gives us something to toss our noodles in (an in-depth noodle discussion has yet to come but don’t worry, it’s coming). I like to keep things rather simple by combining soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, Siracha, lime, and chicken broth. Now I can’t stress how important unsalted chicken broth is here. This sauce essentially required equal parts soy sauce and chicken broth because I’m trying to dilute the salt in soy sauce. Soy sauce and oyster sauce are super salty. Adding any more salt may push it over the salt limit (which is also why this recipe does not require any salt). Typically when I cook with soy sauce I use absolutely no salt because I cook for people who are extremely sensitive to salt. The honey also helps counter-balance the salt by adding some sweetness and if you don’t have honey you can also use brown sugar because the molasses flavor works pretty well here too.
As for spices I use a pretty standard line-up of coriander, allspice, cumin, and sesame seeds. I don’t have any granulated ginger or ginger in general but if you have that you should use it because ginger makes everything better. An even better spice option would be Chinese five spice but since I don’t have enough reason to buy a whole thing of Chinese five spice, I don’t have any. Also, Chinese five spice has clove in it and much like cinnamon, I don’t have a whole lot of love for clove. Even the small amount of allspice in here is kinda pushing it for me.
But mix all this together and you’ve got a nice little sauce for our vegetables and noodles. If you want to add some meat to this, then you can use this as a marinade as well to give the meat some flavor to go with the rest of the dish.
Since I didn’t use meat for this, I’ll just have to settle for cooking the vegetables. I heat some olive oil in a pan (or sesame oil if you have it, although I’d mix a little bit of that with some vegetable oil to bring up the smoke point of the sesame oil) over medium heat. I cook the celery, carrot, onion, and bell pepper first for a couple minutes to let them soften up and then I add the garlic and cook it a little bit more until the garlic is aromatic.
After that I add the broccoli and let it saute for another minute or so. After that I add about a half cup of the sauce I had just made, reduce the heat, and cover so that the broccoli kind of steams and soaks up the sauce because broccoli is really just a giant, tree-shaped sponge.
Now that the veggies are done we can move on to the egg. I like putting egg in it because it adds an easy source of protein and there’s never a lack of eggs in my fridge. Never. My scrambled eggs consist of egg (obviously), milk, a little bit of the sauce, and cilantro. I like adding milk to any eggs I make because I feel that they come out fluffier, but milk is not a must. If this must be dairy-free, the milk can simply be omitted or soy milk can be used. I have made scrambled eggs with soy milk and they turn out just as well.
Mix it together, fry it up in a pan, and scramble them. Done. Easy as that.
With the remaining sauce I had I added some cilantro and some cornstarch. I want this sauce to thicken up so that it will stick to the noodles better. Cornstarch is my best friend for that. A lot of people use flour or make a rue but cornstarch is so much easier and it’s also gluten-free. A win-win. Just throw in the corn starch and whisk it up.
After that I throw it in with the veggies that have been cooked down and bring it to a boil. Let this go for a little but and the sauce will thicken right up. Then this is all ready for the noodles.
Speaking of, these are what the noodles I’m using look like:
Do I know what they are? Not really no. My father picked them up at the asian supermarket one time and so I used them. I believe they are either soba noodles or something very close to soba. So I would say use soba for this recipe. Although, I’m pretty sure literally anything could be used here: udon, lo mein, ramen, rice noodles, wonton, etc. The only ones I would say steer clear from would be those weird, really thin glass noodles. I don’t think the texture is right enough for this. Soba noodles are, in fact, not gluten-free since they’re made with buckwheat flour. But any kind of rice noodle is typically only made with like rice and tapioca flour, which both do not contain gluten. So just read the label and find one that you like if you can’t eat that dastardly wheat.
I just cook these in boiling water to package directions and then I throw these and the egg into the sauce and veggies and stir them together. Then it’s time to plate.
The way I made the recipe makes this dish extremely mild, so if you like spice add some more Siracha as you see fit. It’s a good, really filling recipe that if you can make and have plenty of leftovers to make for many lunches to come if you want.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 small head of broccoli
- ½ large yellow onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stalk of celery, diced
- 1 jalapeno, diced
- ½ red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Soba noodles or equivalent*
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup unsalted chicken broth
- 2 tbs oyster sauce
- 2 tbs honey
- 1 tsp siracha
- Juice of ½ a lime
- ½ tsp coriander
- ¼ tsp allspice
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- A pinch of cumin
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 2 tbs cornstarch
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbs cilantro
- 1 tbs sauce
- 2 tbs milk**
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add carrot, onion, celery, and bell pepper and cook until slightly softened and onions are translucent (5-8 minutes). Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add broccoli and saute for another minute or two.
While cooking vegetables, combine soy sauce, chicken broth, oyster sauce, honey, Siracha, lime, coriander, allspice, sesame seeds, and cumin in a bowl. Whisk to combine and add about ½ cup of liquid to the vegetables. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low, and let simmer for another 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, cilantro, and some of the sauce. Add 1 tbs of olive oil to a separate pan and cook the egg and scramble.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook soba noodles according to package directions.
When the vegetables are done simmering on low heat, add cilantro and cornstarch to remain sauce mixture and whisk to combine. Add mixture to the vegetables and bring heat back up to medium. Let the sauce some to a boil and simmer while whisking until the sauce thickens. Add in egg and noodles and stir to combine and coat noodles in the sauce. Serve.
Vegetarian, Dairy-free possible, Gluten-free possible
* To make this gluten-free, choose a rice noodle that does not contain gluten
** Omit the milk or use soy milk to make this dairy-free