The sight, smell or even the mention of certain foods sets off a Pavlovian response in me. Say laksa, saag or hot lime pickle, and my gums will start to twitch, my legs spasm and nothing else matters until said food is on my plate.

Currently, the object of my affections are these life-giving noodles, a recreation of a plate of utter joy and deliciousness I had sitting under fluorescent lighting at a street stall in Tekka market, Singapore. They were spicy, fried and loud with flavour: they were also addictive.

Mee goreng with carrot, red cabbage and tofu

Prep 15 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 2

150g wholewheat noodles
Rapeseed oil
10 spring onions, trimmed, whites shredded, greens cut on an angle into 2cm-long pieces
2 bird’s eye chillies
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 large carrot (about 150g), peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
⅓ red cabbage (about 200g), finely shredded
280g firm tofu, drained and cut into ½cm-thick strips
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 ½ tbsp kecap manis
½ tsp salt
60g beansprouts

To serve
1 handful fried shallots or onions – buy them ready-made in an Asian food store
1 lime, quartered

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then drop in the noodles and cook for one minute less than the packet instructions. Drain, drizzle with a little oil and put to one side.

Put three tablespoons of oil in large, nonstick frying pan over a medium to high heat and, when hot, add the spring onion whites and greens. Cook for three minutes until softened and wilted, then add the chillies and garlic, and cook for another three minutes. Add the carrot and cabbage, and stir-fry for five minutes, shuffling everything around the pan until the carrots and cabbage become bendy and pliable.

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Stir in the shredded tofu, then the soy sauce, tomato puree, kecap manis and salt. Bit by bit, add a handful of the cooked noodles and the beansprouts, and mix and toss, mix and toss, until the vegetables and noodles have integrated.

Transfer to two plates, top with some crisp onions and a generous squeeze of lime, and serve hot.



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