Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Curry Fried Noodles

When I was seventeen I went to Malaysia on a student exchange and, after a year of sweating, eating and sweating some more, went back to New Zealand a little worldlier, a whole lot heavier and with a mad addiction to curry!   This curry noodle recipe is super easy, but only tastes so good because of the Malaysian curry powder I use, Baba’s (aka the best curry powder EVER) that might not be so easy to find.  

Recipes that call for odd ingredients annoy me greatly, and I’m sorry to make this ‘one of those’, but if you can find this stuff at your local Asian Supermarket, I promise a new love affair will ensue.  I don’t know what makes this powder so much better than others, as the ingredients list ends rather mysteriously with ‘and other spices’ but I guess every relationship has its secrets!

Curry Fried Noodles

Ingredients (for one person):

3 Tbsp oil
½ an onion, sliced
¼ red chili, deseeded and sliced
½ a carrot, thinly sliced
A handful of Vegetarian Beef-Style Strips (I use Fry’s, but any meat substitute will do)
1 packet of noodles (I used udon noodles this time, but often use small or even flat noodles)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar



Heat the oil and fry the onions and chili for two to three minutes. 

Add in the carrot and Beef-Style Strips and stir fry until the strips start to brown up slightly.

Whack in the noodles, add in the salt, sugar and curry powder on top and give them a good stir around for about four to five minutes, adding in a little water if it gets too dry.

Pop them in a bowl and you’re ready to roll.

Notes:  I like my noodles hot, so sometimes add in even more of the powder.  In Ireland noodles come in packets for one person ready to add to the wok, which are about 200g.   I currently have a small addiction to Fry’s Beef-Style Strips but if fake meat isn’t your thing, you can substitute with tofu, or just add in some different vegetables. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Far From the Perfect Vegan

I must admit I’ve been a little hesitant to start a blog about veganism.  For one, I don’t exactly have a very good track record when it comes to vegan friendly professions: Chinese takeaway lackey & wonton deep-frier extraordinaire, hotel receptionist come all day breakfast cook (which did not turn out well, for anyone involved!), service trainer… for a burger bar….hmmm, let’s just say if there was such a thing as vegan hell, I’d be right down there, rotating on a spit.

And now once again I’ve found myself stuck in a rather unveganly (?) job, waitressing at a cafĂ© where I spend my day up-selling chicken salads… and little chunks of my soul, sunny side down.  So definitely not the best vegan out there – and seemingly not the best person to be writing about veganism – but really, is there such a thing as the perfect vegan?

Vegans are commonly split into two categories, those who avoid animals and their by-products in their diet only and those who avoid them in all aspects of their lives.   Obviously I am having a few issues moving towards the latter category (insert meek, guilty face here!), but it my defence I think it might just be humanly impossible to be a perfect vegan.  

As anyone who has researched the topic will know, animal by-products are in EVERYTHING.  I remember when I first ‘made the change’ I was rather taken aback at the multitude of places where they could pop up  – apparently there was bone ash in my sugar, ground up hooves in my shampoo, crushed beetles in my lipstick and cow uterus in my skin cream – I mean, what the!?  It seemed if I wanted to become a true vegan I had to 100% dislocate myself from society and live in a cave… eating air.

I think though, when it comes to anything in life (especially making yourself feel better about a half-assed attempt at something…ahem) there is a great wee saying by British political philosopher Edmund Burke which comes in quite handy: "No man made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little."  

Veganism can be a little tricky at times and while there is no such thing as a perfect vegan, who cares! It’s a great way of life and a great way to do ones bit in the bid to stop the suffering of animals, and as PETA puts it ‘being vegan is about helping animals, not maintaining personal purity’ (thankfully, as my personal purity is a whole other story!).