Monday, 28 April 2014

Sweet Crispy Beef Noodles with Sesame Vegetable Pancakes

Recently Sainsbury's set me a challenge of creating a meal from the following staple ingredients:
  • Beef stir fry strips
  • Medium egg noodles
  • Mixed vegetable stir-fry
Sounds easy? Simple - how about a stir-fry... Erm no, that was the key part, not to make a stir fry!! Cue brain going a bit loopy wondering what on earth to make especially with the noodles, that wasn't a stir fry. Some part of me wondered about making a pudding with noodles but then that was a seperate dish in itself, when I really needed to combine at least all three..

After a few days of brain fog, hobbling around the flat (I have a stick now woohoo)! and scribbling in my notebook various doodles interspersed with recipe ideas proper thoughts returned and we had a feast on Saturday night! I cooked a little bit too much for the two of us but we always enjoy leftovers so at least it didn't go to waste! As a result I would say this would serve 3-4 people, just cook some extra noodles if needed.

Dinner by candlelight
*There are a few parts to this recipe to bring it all together, however its all pretty easy and if you have a second pair of hands to help stir things, then all the better! Failing that just keep things warm in the oven on a low heat.*

The main part of this dish is the crispy beef - I love worship crispy beef when we go for a Chinese, I love gnawing through all the crunchy crispy strips of beef adorned with sweet chilli sauce, now admittedly I veered off the sweet chilli route, partly as I only had about a spoonful left of the ready made stuff and I wanted to make my own sauce... but of course it was now 8.30pm Saturday night and I was not exactly in the mode to go out shopping and started rooting through the fridge.. for some reason the long abandoned jar of redcurrant jelly stood out, and I wondered if I melted it down, added a little of the orange juice leftover from making the Jaffa drizzle cake would it work.. throw in a bit of spice...and voila! So I kinda forgot to put the freshly sliced chilli on, however a good sprinkle from the my heatbomb chilli grinder sufficed well! I blame the brain fog..

Serves 3-4


Crispy beef

100g cornflour
300g thinly sliced lean beef
1 tsp five spice powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Sunflower oil for deep frying


150g redcurrant jelly
3 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine (or sherry etc)
1/2 to 1 tsp red chilli flakes or fresh chilli slices to taste

Combine all the crispy beef ingredients in a bowl and mix well, making sure all the beef is coated in the mixture.

In a small saucepan combine all the sauce ingredients, bring to the boil then simmer for 5 minutes or until reduced slightly and a bit syrupy in consistency. Pour into a bowl.

Meanwhile heat 1 inch of oil in a deep sauce pan, fry the beef strips in small batches for 3 minutes or until crispy and cooked through, drain on kitchen paper before transferring to the sauce bowl, repeat until all cooked. 

The next part is the Sesame Vegetable Pancakes. Okay I lied, they are not pancakes however I don't care for the word 'filled omelettes' and as I was using skinny omelettes as a wrapper, they have had their name changed to Pancake for this joyous occasion. These were delicious, perfectly seasoned with sesame notes and jammed full of crispy veggies, definitely a win.

Makes two pancakes

1 large spring onion, finely sliced
2 eggs
1 tsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil


Half a packet of by Sainsburys Mixed vegetable stir-fry
2 tsp soy sauce
2 scant tsp by Sainsburys Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tsp oil

Heat half the pancake oil in a frying pan, beat together the eggs and soy sauce. Fry the spring onion for 2 minutes or until lightly cooking and smelling fragrant, combine with the egg mixture and return half to the pan, adding a little more oil if needed - swirl the pan quickly to form a thin pancake, once set, flip over and cook for a further minute or until lightly browned. Transfer to a chopping board and repeat again - using the remaining oil if needed. Keep the pan for the next part.

Heat the filling oil in the same frying pan, fry the vegetables on a medium hot heat for 3-4 minutes until cooked and lightly browned, add the soy sauce, remove from the heat and stir through the sesame seeds and sesame oil to taste.

Spoon half the vegetable filling onto the  bottom of the pancake, roll up tightly. Serve one per person.

Noodles - these were the base for the crispy beef and I kept them simple. Maybe too simple as B thought they could be tastier. I think next time I might give them a little pan fry after boiling and a little more seasoning however I quite enjoyed them so its all down to personal taste.

2 nests by Sainsbury's medium egg noodles
2 tsp sesame oil

Cook the noodles in boiling water for 3 minutes, drain well and toss with the oil. Serve alongside the pancake roll and top with the crispy beef.

So overall verdict here was a 7/10, loved the crispy beef, just remember to add the freshly chopped red chilli next time when they go for their syrupy sweet bath! The pancake rolls were delicious, I wouldn't change a thing. Yum yum yum. And most importantly it was not really a stir-fry!

Thanks to Sainsbury's for the challenge, and the vouchers to cover buying the ingredients and to cover my time developing the recipes.


  1. Wow, I'm salivating right now Ann this is a meal I'd more than happily eat:-)

  2. This sounds like a recipe right up my street! Sounds delish! Well done you! I´ll be making this some time along with the pasta dish with garlic sausage!!!


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