November 16, 2012

Spicy Noodle Stir-Fry with Vegetables — Super Healthy and Easy Weeknight Meal

I grew up on Top Ramen instant noodles.

A dish of steaming hot noodles with scrambled eggs and carrots was pure joy. Particularly on a weekend. Almost mostly I was in charge of prepping noodles for my siblings. So many Sunday breakfasts and beautiful moments with my sister and two brothers chitchatting around the table over many cups of chai, ah.

Those are some of my most treasured memories. Especially since I lost my kid brother in an accident a few summers back, and I know we cannot have a foursome again. Never again.
My kids are huge on noodles too. Indonesian Indomie, particularly the Rasa Soto Mie or vegetable flavor, is their absolute favorite. Cooked with a bit of extra (powdered) chili it’s the best instant noodle soup.

A bowl of quick stir-fry noodles is always a welcome pleasure. I like mine filled with vegetable goodness. Greens, reds, oranges, yellows and purples. A plate filled with richly pigmented plant food that fights for your life, tastes deliciously hot, and comes together in less than 20 minutes. Absolutely gorgeous.

With age, I’m keen on maximizing our intake of hero food—food that helps slow down the affects of free radicals in our body. Boosting your intake of antioxidant rich food is as easy as filling your diet with colors. Colorful plant food, that is.

A stir-fry has all the ideal qualities of a weekday meal—it’s easy, quick, nutritious and delicious. And what better way to eat your colors than a quick stir-fry. All you need is to cut your choice of veggies, throw it into a skillet with a touch of oil and aromatic spices like ginger and garlic, stir-fry for few minutes (less than 5), and finally stir in some sauces for flavor. Add some noodles, and you have a complete meal.

In this recipe I’ve used vegetables like baby carrots, broccoli, baby corn, snow peas, and bell pepper. Not to forget chili to fire up things and boost metabolism in the process. Chilies come in different variety, color, and size. The level of heat varies per variety. I cooked with these small, colorful chili pepper called ‘naadan mulaku’. I found them at the local farmers’ market in my hometown (see more photos) and brought some with me to Qatar. They are super hot and fiery. You can substitute birds eye chili, or even green chili. Adjust quantity accordingly.
Vegetables are seared in high heat so they keep their crunch and bright color. You want them crisp tender, and not overcooked and soggy. For noodles, use thin or medium egg noodles.

The key to stir-frying is to quickly cook over high heat. Keep the food moving to avoid burning or scorching, and ensure even cooking. Some vegetables like carrot, cauliflower, potoato require longer cooking time. Cut them into smaller pieces or thin strips—the smaller they are, the faster they cook.
This recipe is endlessly adaptable. Substitute any combination of veggies you have on hand, or at the market.  Some suggestions are zucchini and mushrooms. Also, choose vegetables for color as well as texture and taste.

And before we get to the recipe, I hope you had a most wonderful Diwali. We don’t celebrate Diwali, but I did take this opportunity to photograph some Diwali sweets. Colorful burfi (fudge) in delicious mango, pistachio, rose and fruit flavors. Pretty, isn't it?
Spicy Noodle Stir-Fry with Vegetables

Serves 2-3
Prep + cooking: 20 min

2 nests dried, medium egg noodles (I used Blue Dragon, low fat noodles)
1 tablespoon sesame seed
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 fresh red chilies, minced (use per intensity and taste)
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 small red bell pepper (capsicum), deseeded and cut into strips
½ small yellow bell pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
4 baby corns, halved lengthwise
4 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
4 snow peas, trimmed and halved diagonally
2 tablespoons scallions (spring onion), thinly sliced
lime wedges, for squeezing

2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 teaspoon sugar
¾ tablespoon tamarind paste
½  tablespoon chili garlic paste
1 tablespoon vegetable stock (or use water)
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook noodles for 3-4 until al dente (following pack directions). Rinse under cold water. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a jug, and whisk to blend.

Heat the wok or skillet until very hot. Add the sesame seeds and stir-fry over high heat until golden. Remove and set aside.

Reheat the wok and add the oil.  Swirl to coat. Stir-fry onions over high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly tender. Tip in ginger, garlic and chili, and stir-fry for 10 seconds.

Add all the vegetables and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Then add a splash of stock to the wok and cover to create some steam. Cook for a minute, or until vegetables are just heated through and still crunchy.

Increase the heat to high, and stir in half the sauce. Tip in noodles with the remaining sauces, and spring onions, and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, and stir around until everything is blended and the noodles are heated through.

Transfer to bowls and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately with hot sauce and lime wedges on the side.

The weather has been so absolutely gorgeous, it’s impossible not to fall in love. And this week has been enchanting strolls down the corniche with sundrenched beauty and slants of sunlight, blue skies and billowy clouds, torqouise waters and sounds of crashing waves. Not to mention sun kissed skin and wind tousled hair. So much beauty, I’m inspired to go for a walk now to soak in a bit more of this stunning weather.
See what’s happening behind the screen, and follow along if you like.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."—Eleanor Roosevelt. 

Hope you have a most wonderful weekend x

PS: For a vegan version of the noodle stirfry, use rice noodles instead of egg noodles. Also make sure to use vegan substitutions of oyster and worcestershire sauces (click on links for vegan sauce recipes).


  1. Awesome dear !! very tempting and yummy !!

  2. I grew on maggi noodles :)the 2 minute type..but this is absolutely a feast to the the bright and colorful soothing. Just enjoying this visual feast .

  3. I am absolutely in luv with ur fotography skills. The food and ingredients look so lively and colourful.

  4. Amazing is you :) love your clicks and recipes.... and you put a lot for just 1 post admire you for that

  5. I am sorry to hear about your younger brother. Beautiful memories, however will always warm your heart when you think of him.

    I love the pictures and those noodles are so tempting! I love noodles and I would like to vegetarianize ( is that a word???!!!) this version. It will make a wonderful meal!

  6. Love love the pics nash....and the noodles is soooo tempting.

  7. Really sorry about your loss. My heart felt condolences go to you with hugs!!
    Nashi pictures are so colorful and well done :) Love the light in your pictures as well as the props....
    I love noodles anytime...yours look very tempting

  8. Sorry to hear about your loss...Heartfelt condolences...
    I was living on maggi noodles for a long got bored with it..:) Your noodle recipe sounds too yum and awesome clicks...Loved the colorful props and the way the colors are playing around...Great work dear...

  9. Awesome clicks and wat a colorful dish...

  10. Hi there. The current Food on Friday is all about pasta and noodles! There is already a great collection of dishes but it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.

  11. I'm in love with your photography... :-)

    And i love your recipe! my heartfelt condolences for your loss


  12. Hi dear,how are you? some of the pics about are it and the noodles recipe is too good.
    Lot of treasured memories associated with food, sorry to hear about your dear brother

  13. I grew up with maggi curry flavoured noodles (must be Malaysian brand as that's the best!) and my uncle is the pro at making it with a poached egg. Now whenever I feel like going down memory lane, instead of all the luxury food i always go for this 2 min quick fix! Your noodles look so healthy. Sorr to hear about your brother , nashi, must be painful for u:(

  14. Beautiful pictures! I just served udon soup tonight. It is perfect for this rainy weather. My son is ill with the flu, so I know he appreciated the warm and comforting soup.
    I will definitely try your recipe. It looks amazing.

    So sorry to hear about your brother. I also am from a family of four siblings. I will pray that especially during this Holiday season that your family heals from this terrible loss.

    Warmest personal regards~


  15. I feel happy whenever I visit your place the bright pics are enough to pep up my mood. That last pic of stir fry noodle is too good. love that cute yellow bowl. what it it actually? Am so sorry to hear about your loss....

  16. Incredible always..Picture perfect setting, beautiful landscape, colorful & sure lifts the mood of the one browsing through the post :) And a tasty recipe, no doubt ;)

    Sorry to hear about your loss..Remembering happy memories of the foursome hopefully can lessen the hurt...

    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  17. Wonderful Pics !! Super photography and spicy noodle fry !! looks YUM !!

  18. Omg, breathtaking pictures, beautiful and very eye catching clicks.Noodles,love it anytime.

    So sorry to heat about your loss, take care.

  19. Thank you for linking this in to Food on Friday. super photos. Have a great week.

  20. I am truly sorry for your loss. I really feel when you say you can't have the four of you together, it's truly never the same. but atleast you had those memories.

    Those noodles look tooo tooooo good. i just want to get all those lovely veggies and prepare it exactly the way you've shown it

  21. I love dishes like this, bursting with colour and flavour!

  22. Beautiful pics.. i love this .. bursting colorsss..

    Join my ongoing event Fast & Quick Healthy Dishes Event

  23. Gorgeous dish anmd lovely clicks! Now, I'm craving noodle stir-fries...



  24. Oooh I am craving for some noodles right now , your look delishhhh. So sorry to hear about your brother .

  25. very nice and healthy noodles.. Love the clicks

  26. I love a good stir fry - this looks like a delicious meal!

  27. I absolutely love this recipe and will make it soon. I agree with you about the antioxidants. Eating high water-content vegetables (and fresh fruit) is THE healthiest way to eat.

  28. This recipe is not vegan, as it uses egg noodles, oyster sauce, and Worcestershire sauce. Please remove all references to vegan.

    1. Hi! thanks for writing in -- you are absolutely right, this recipe is not vegan as is. And honestly, I did not mention anywhere in the recipe that it's vegan. That said it can be easily made vegan by substituting rice noodles for egg noodles and using vegan versions of oyster and worcestershire sauce. After seeing your note, and finding it featured on 20 vegan meal list, I've included a note towards the end stating the same. But thanks again for bringing this to my notice!

    2. And -- sorry for the confusion!

  29. Erin SewardMarch 12, 2013

    I made the dish, and it was a partial success. It was a bit too spicy, but I think if I put too many chilies in. Lol... I think if I put less chilies in next time it will be better. Thank-you so much for sharing your recipe with all of us, and I agree with the others your photographs are breathtakingly beautiful. At first they made me want to eat the page, and then they filled me with inspiration!

    1. Erin SewardMarch 12, 2013

      Okay, now I've made corrections to the errors I made in my first comment. Sorry, this sounds so much better without the mistakes.

      I made the dish, and it was a partial success. It was a bit too spicy. I think I put too many chilies in. Lol... I think if I put less chilies in next time it will be better. Thank-you so much for sharing your recipe and your personal story with all of us, and I agree with the others, your photographs are breathtakingly beautiful. At first they made me want to eat the page, and then they filled me with inspiration!

    2. Yea, depending on the chilies it can get crazy hot, so next time you should cut down :) I really appreciate your writing in and sharing your experience. You are so kind!

  30. AnonymousJune 10, 2013

    Look at those stir fry recipes, I'm starving haha. I love stir fry! This blog is all in one. Thank you for sharing lots of recipes of my favorite dish.

  31. It isn't vegan.. Its got egg in the noodles :(

  32. post old but superb superb superb ..picture so good i love it

  33. Very interesting post! I have found very useful tips to make a delicious Maggi Noodles.


  34. good blog! i love chinese noodle recipe in home.thankyou for shearing.
    chowringhee satyaniketan


A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi