Satay chicken udon noodles recipe

Noodle recipes to try now, whether you have 10 minutes or 2 hours

Posted by for Food and Drink

From easy recipes with few ingredients to show-stopping versions featuring hand-pulled strands, these dishes will satisfy any noodle fan.

Nearly everyone has, at some point in their life, peered into their kitchen cupboard and felt profound relief at the sight of a packet of noodles. Speedy and satisfying, they’re a clever shortcut for all kinds of meals, whether you’re craving a fresh, vibrant noodle salad or a comforting bowl of noodle soup on a cold day.

While noodles appear in most cultures across the world, they’ve been an integral part of Asian cuisine for over 4,000 years. It’s difficult to pinpoint who actually invented the idea of mixing flour and water to create long strands of deliciousness, but food writer and author of On The Noodle Road Jen Lin-Liu – who undertook a six-month trip from Beijing to Rome to trace the origins and evolution of the staple food – notes that “the earliest documentation of noodles was in China and it probably came around the third century (300-200) BC”. 

According to Lin, Chinese noodles then “made their way throughout Asia, Korea and Japan, all through Central Asia and then through to Turkey”, following migration patterns and trading routes. So given the epic transnational journey these tasty ribbons have been on over the centuries, it figures that there are endless permutations – one trip down the noodle aisle at an Asian supermarket is testament to that. 

Today, we bring you five recipes that are as different as they are delicious, whether you’re short on time or have hours to handmake your own noodles. Fans of Chinese takeaways should try Kwoklyn Wan’s sriracha lo mein, a speedy, spicy recipe in which egg noodles are softly stir-fried in chilli sauce. Wan’s satay chicken udon noodles, meanwhile, can be whipped up in five minutes flat.

As the weather gets warmer, the kaffir lime and squid salad with super-fine cellophane noodles – a popular dish in countries including Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia – is perfect for a light evening meal. 

Kay Plunkett-Hogge’s kow soi is a creamy Thai recipe featuring two types of egg noodle (cooked and fried), plus the Bangkok-born chef’s secret to perfect curry paste.

Finally, Jason Wang’s “spicy and tingly” beef with hand-pulled biang-biang noodles lives up to its name thanks to a hit of Sichuan peppercorn powder. The full recipe is a serious foodie challenge, but if you don’t have time to make your own noodles from scratch, sub in a shop-bought wide, flat variety such as Hong Brand Loo Choo Broad Noodles (£3.25, Sous Chef). We guarantee you’ll slurp every last strand.

  • Sriracha lo mein

    sriracha lo mein noodles recipe
    Best noodle recipes: Kwoklyn Wan's sriracha lo mein

    Kwoklyn Wan says: “Lo mein is cooked ever so slightly differently to chow mein; chow mein is stir-fried until the noodles are crispy whereas lo mein is stir-fried with a sauce so that they remain soft. Sriracha is a delicious sauce originating from Thailand and works well with vegetables and noodles.”

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    • 3 tbsp sriracha chilli sauce
    • 2 nests of fresh lo mein egg noodles
    • 1 red pepper, cut into strips
    • 8 fresh baby corn, halved lengthways
    • 175g beansprouts

    From the store cupboard:

    • 2 tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil pinch of salt

    Method

    Combine the sriracha sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a bowl and set to one side.

    Loosen the noodles in a bowl of warm water, then drain and set to one side.

    Place a wok over a medium-high heat, add the oil and fry the red pepper and baby corn for 1 minute. 

    Add the beansprouts and fry for a further minute, then add the loosened noodles along with the sauce mix and continue to fry until all of the ingredients are combined and warmed through. Serve immediately.

    From Chinese Takeaway In 5: 80 Of Your Favourite Dishes Using Only Five Ingredients by Kwoklyn Wan (£15, Quadrille), out now 

  • Satay chicken udon noodles

    Satay chicken udon noodles recipe
    Best noodle recipes: Kwoklyn Wan’s satay chicken udon noodles

    Kwoklyn Wan says: “Even I was surprised at just how quick this dish was to cook; no sooner had I started the dish, than it was on my plate and being scoffed. Washing up consisted of just my wok and the wooden spoon I used. Chewy noodles, juicy chicken, crunchy onions and peppers smothered in a rich spicy satay sauce. Lovely!”

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
    • 1 white onion, cut into strips
    • 1 green pepper, cut into strips
    • 4 tbsp satay dipping sauce (or use 2–3 tbsp satay paste, to taste)
    • 300g straight-to-wok udon noodles

    From the store cupboard:

    • 2 tbsp oil (vegetable, groundnut or coconut)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • pinch of white pepper

    Method

    Heat a large non-stick wok over a medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the chicken and allow to brown on one side, then stir in the onion and green pepper for 1–2 minutes to soften.

    Season with the salt and pepper, then stir in the satay dipping sauce, along with 250ml water. 

    Once all of the ingredients are well combined in the sauce, add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to separate the noodles. 

    Serve immediately.

    Tip

    Add a sprinkle of crushed salted peanuts just before serving to add a lovely crunch.

    From Chinese Takeaway In 5: 80 Of Your Favourite Dishes Using Only Five Ingredients by Kwoklyn Wan (£15, Quadrille), out now 

  • Kaffir lime, squid and noodle salad

    noodle salad recipe with lime squid
    Best noodle recipes: kaffir lime, squid and noodle salad

    This dish can be found in many guises, originating from Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos, as well as Cambodia. The squid is tenderised with a little salt, sugar, and lime juice and then grilled on skewers over hot coals or in a grill pan.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    • 150g dried cellophane noodles
    • 500g cleaned squid
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ tsp granulated/caster sugar
    • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 2 snake beans (or a handful of green beans), trimmed and very thinly sliced
    • 1 long red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
    • 2 red Asian shallots, thinly sliced
    • 2 kaffir lime leaves, very thinly sliced
    • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and very thinly sliced
    • a small handful each of fresh mint, coriander, and Thai basil leaves
    • deep-fried shallots, to serve

    For the dressing:

    • a handful of coriander (stalks, leaves, and roots)
    • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
    • 2–3 tsp fish sauce
    • 1–2 tsp granulated/caster sugar
    • 6–8 bamboo skewers, soaked in cold water for 30 minutes

    Method

    Soak the noodles in a bowlful of hot water for 30 minutes until softened. Drain well, shake dry, and set aside in a large mixing bowl.

    To make the dressing, pound the coriander stalks, leaves, and roots together in a mortar and pestle (you need approximately a teaspoon of paste), then combine with all the other dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well to dissolve the sugar.

    Next prepare the squid. Cut the cleaned squid bodies in half and score the inside of the flesh with a sharp knife to make a diamond pattern. Cut into 5cm pieces. 

    Put the squid in a large mixing bowl and add the salt, sugar, and lime juice, and rub well into the flesh. Set aside for 10 minutes, then thread the squid onto the pre-soaked skewers and set aside.

    Meanwhile, put the remaining salad ingredients in a separate large mixing bowl, add 1 tablespoon of the dressing, and toss well to coat. Add the noodles and toss again to mix.

    Preheat a stovetop ridged grill pan (or a frying pan) over a high heat and when it starts to smoke, add the squid and cook for 1 minute on each side until charred. 

    Remove the squid from the skewers and add to the noodles, drizzling the remaining dressing over the top. Toss well to coat and serve immediately, garnished with deep-fried shallots. 

    From Mortar & Pestle: 65 Delicious Recipes For Sauces, Rubs, Marinades And More (£9.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now

  • Kow soi (Chiang Mai curried noodles)

    kow soi noodle recipe (Chiang Mai curried noodles)
    Best noodle recipes: Kay Plunkett-Hogge’s kow soi (Chiang Mai curried noodles)

    Kay Plunkett-Hogge says: “This may be one of my most beloved examples of Thai home cooking. It’s my dad’s recipe, and kow soi was his favourite dish. When I had just turned seven, my mum returned to England to put my sister into school. So Dad took me with him on a trip to Chiang Mai. It was my first time in the north, and I loved it. 

    “But my abiding memory is not of elephants and farmers and golden temples; it’s of going to a kow soi restaurant, where Dad ate so many bowls of it he had to be taken back to the hotel in a wheelbarrow. A stunt that, in retrospect, I realise was more for my amusement than necessity. But still.

    “The recipe demonstrates a typical Thai home cook’s trick: paste adaptation. Rather than filling your fridge with every kind of paste, or making it from scratch every time, you simply add the missing spices, often in powdered form, either to the paste or the developing curry; which is incredibly practical, when you think about it.”

    Serves 4–6

    Ingredients

    • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
    • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 4 heaped tbsp good-quality red curry paste
    • 2 x 400ml cans of coconut milk
    • 800ml chicken stock
    • 650g chicken thighs, cut into 2cm pieces
    • 1 heaped tsp ground turmeric
    • 3 tbsp hot curry powder
    • 2 long dried red chillies
    • 2½ tbsp nam pla (fish sauce)
    • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
    • 65–70g egg noodles per head (about a ‘nest’ each), uncooked weight

    To garnish:

    • crispy egg noodles
    • 4 Thai shallots or 2 regular shallots, peeled and sliced
    • lime wedges
    • extra nam pla (fish sauce)
    • nam prik pao (roasted chilli paste)
    • fermented mustard greens 

    Method 

    In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat until hot. Add the garlic and stir-fry until golden brown, then add the curry paste and stir-fry until fragrant – no more than 30 seconds–1 minute. 

    Add half of the coconut milk and stir gently until the paste dissolves into it. Then add the rest of the coconut milk and the stock, and allow to bubble gently until the sauce starts to reduce and to thicken slightly.

    Add the chicken, stirring it into the sauce.

    Then add the turmeric, curry powder, dried chillies, nam pla and lime juice, stirring them in well. Turn down the heat, and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 20 minutes.

    Meanwhile, prepare the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain, then place each portion of noodles into a bowl.

    Spoon the curry generously over the top of the noodles and serve with the garnish ingredients on the side.

    Tips

    This is quite a spicy, heat-forward version. If you prefer a milder, creamier taste, just stir in some coconut cream on the final heat-through.

    To make the crispy egg noodle garnish, soak a coil or two of egg noodles as per packet instructions. Drain and dry them well on some paper towel. 

    Heat some oil for deep-frying. Gently lower the noodles a handful at a time into the hot oil and gently fry until crisp, turning with tongs. 

    Remove from the oil and drain on fresh paper towels.

    Then, fry each batch again until they turn golden. Drain well and serve on top of the kow soi.

    Fermented mustard greens can be found in cans or vacuum packs in most Asian supermarkets. Use any left over chopped up and stirred into a kai jeow (Thai omelette).

    From Baan: Recipes And Stories From My Thai Home by Kay Plunkett-Hogge (£20, Pavilion Books), out now

  • Spicy and tingly beef (麻辣牛肉臊子)

    beef biang-biang noodles recipe
    Best noodle recipes: Jason Wang’s spicy and tingly beef with biang-biang noodles

    Jason Wang says: “I like to think of this pairing as China’s version of burgers and fries, a common, simple beef dish that everyone has had in their life. The depth of flavour is first developed from the red meat and the funky, soy-like Pixian bean sauce, but this dish’s calling card is the ma la, or spicy and tingly qualities thanks to both heady chilli peppers and fruity Sichuan peppercorns. 

    “Unlike many other dishes in my book Xi’an Famous Foods, this recipe comes with a wallop of Sichuan peppercorn powder, rather than an infused oil. Which is all to say, be careful when consuming this dish. At first, the heat might feel manageable, an undercurrent to the tender braised beef and fragrant garlic-onion mix, but several bites in and the pepper spice begins to build, your mouth starts to subtly vibrate, your tongue feels a familiar tingle, and soon enough you’re experiencing the almost-euphoric brain-clearing high of a powerful ma la kick. 

    “While you can serve this beef in a lot of ways, my favourite is with biang-biang noodles.”

    Serves 2

    Ingredients

    • 300g beef shank
    • 1 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
    • 2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced
    • 4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled and sliced
    • ¼ medium red onion, diced
    • 1 star anise pod, broken
    • 2 dried red chilli peppers, cut into 6mm segments
    • 1 ½ tsp Pixian bean sauce
    • 1 tbsp soy sauce
    • 2 tbsp Shaoxing cooking wine
    • ¼ tsp sugar
    • ¼ large tomato, diced
    • 1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorn powder
    • 1 tsp red chilli powder

    Method

    In a large pot, submerge the beef in water. Set over high heat, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes, then turn off the heat.

    Remove the meat to a cutting board to cool and discard the water. Once cool enough to handle, cut into 2.5cm cubes.

    In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the green onion, ginger, garlic, onion, star anise and dried red chillies and saute for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.

    Reduce heat to medium, add the Pixian bean sauce, stir, and cook for 30 seconds, or until red oil is released and fragrant. Add beef and mix.

    Add the soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar and 480ml water. Cover the pot, turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil.

    Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium. Simmer for 30 minutes covered, then uncover the pot and cook at a low boil for an additional 20 minutes, or until the meat is tender and the sauce is reduced.

    Add the tomatoes, Sichuan peppercorn powder and red chilli powder and stir to combine. Turn off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes before serving with biang-biang noodles.

    Biang-biang noodles

    Ingredients

    • 400g plain flour or high gluten flour
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 180ml room-temperature water
    • vegetable oil, to keep the dough pieces from sticking

    Tools

    • stand mixer with dough hook attachment (optional; you can mix this by hand, too)
    • rolling pin

    Method

    To make the dough: place the flour in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. In a Pyrex measuring cup or a container that has a mouth to pour, stir the salt into the room-temperature water until dissolved.

    Start the mixer at a low speed. Slowly add the salt water at the side of the mixer until all of the water is evenly incorporated. Keep running the mixer until the sides of the mixing bowl are flour-free and the dough is smooth. If the dough doesn’t seem to be coming together, you can add up to 60ml more water, a little at a time.

    Alternatively, if mixing by hand in a bowl, add the water 60ml at a time, using your hands to knead the mixture into a ball of dough. Knead until a dough is formed, 8 to 10 minutes.

    Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and knead on a floured board. You’ll need to use a bit of muscle, as the dough will be quite tough at first, but it will get smoother and springier the longer you work it. Knead until relatively smooth and springy.

    Cover with a moist towel and let rest for 5 minutes. Then uncover and knead the dough for a minute or so with clean hands on a floured board. 

    Repeat this rest-then-knead process twice more. In total, you should have rested the dough for 15 minutes and kneaded it three times.

    After the final rest, flatten the dough into a rectangle to the best of your ability and cut the dough into 100g pieces (about 6 pieces for one batch of dough). Use a rolling pin to roll each piece into a flat rectangle, a little over 6mm thick, 10cm to 12cm long, and 4cm wide.

    Brush the dough with vegetable oil and store without stacking them on top of each other. In the [Xi’an Famous Foods] stores, we pack the un-pulled pieces on their edge, like books, sideways in a container.

    Rest, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated, for at least 1 hour, up to 3 days.

    To pull and cook the noodles: these noodles cannot sit after being pulled, and are best eaten fresh. Be prepared to immediately boil, sauce, and slurp them down. Take the pieces of dough out of the refrigerator and let them warm up to room temperature.

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. On a clean counter, warm up the pieces of dough by flattening them on the counter with your hands, until the dough feels stretchy and elastic.

    Evenly press the dough into a flat rectangular shape until it is about 15cm long and 7.5cm wide.

    Grab the ends of the rectangle with your thumbs and forefingers, as if you are checking if a bill is counterfeit in the light. Pull the dough gently, stretching it until it is about shoulder-width long.

    Start to slightly pull and bounce the noodle flat against the counter in an up-and-down motion. Pull and slap the dough against the counter until the dough is almost 1.25m long. Be careful not to pull too quickly or grip too tight, as you’ll break the noodle. If the noodle does break, just grab onto the broken part and try to pull from there.

    When the noodle is the right length (1.25m), pick it up at the middle and rip it into two pieces like string cheese. Pull until you almost reach the end, but don’t pull all the way through. You’ll end up with a giant noodle ring. 

    Carefully press the ends of the strands to stretch and even them out if they are too thick.

    Pull and rip the remaining noodles and throw all strands into the pot of boiling water at the same time. Stir with tongs to make sure they do not stick. They should be “swimming” in the water. Boil for 2 minutes. If the water is about to spill out, turn the heat down slightly but keep it at a boil. Add cold water to the pot if necessary. Your total boiling time should be capped at 2 minutes.

    Strain out the noodles and serve with the spicy and tingly beef.

    Adapted from Xi’an Famous Foods: The Cuisine Of Western China, From New York’s Favorite Noodle Shop by Jason Wang (£25, Abrams Books), out now 

Photography: Sam Folan; Ryland Peters & Small; Jenny Huang; Louise Hagger

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Christobel Hastings

Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.