I’m just a girl standing in front of the world asking it to love her food.
No, but really. This is my version of spicy noodles without using the word “Schezuan” in it. And I believe in the power of jugaad.
What is jugaad, you ask? Well, jugaad is an emotion, a way of life, a reason for an Indian’s adaptability across centuries and it is the reason for our survival and evolution.
It’s the feeling a fresh-graduate from a state college with a loan over them feels when they’re living alone and realise that a packet of instant oats (because chocolate flavoured cereal is only for achievements) can be more than just breakfast. It can be lunch, dinner and a snack too!
Jugaad in its loosest translation, is “life hack”. And this particular recipe thrives on it. Let me show you how.
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 large carrot
1/2 a small cabbage
1 capsicum (green pepper)
3 -4 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger
200 grams noodles
3 cups water
1/2 tsp + 2 tbsp + 1 tsp oil
2 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy)
1/2 tsp chilly powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
pepper powder (to taste)
1 tsp dried prawns (optional)
- Boil the noodles in the water with 1 tsp oil and 1/2 tsp salt for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- While the noodles cook, peel and cut up the vegetables into thin matchstick size strips (julienne them), and shred the cabbage finely. Gently crush the ginger and garlic in the mortar and pestle, and set it aside.
- In the mortar and pestle, mix the soy sauce, peanut butter, vinegar, chilly powder, lime juice, sugar and dried prawns (if using) and make a rough paste.
- Heat 1 tsp oil in the kadhai (or wok, if you prefer) and crack an egg into it. Scramble it and fry until well cooked and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in the kadhai and add the crushed ginger and garlic.
- Once the ginger and garlic stop sizzling, add three-fourth of the peanut butter paste and mix it into the frying ginger and garlic.
- Add the vegetables into the kadhai and fry until all the vegetables are coated with the spicy mixture.
- Add the noodles, scrambled egg and pepper and toss until everything is mixed well. Drizzle with the remaining peanut butter sauce and serve hot!
Dried prawns can be replaced with dried fish, or just not used at all! (But you do lose out on some crazy good flavour)
Here’s where the jugaad comes in. If you don’t have dried fish, you can substitute with spicy indian styled fish or prawn pickle. Just omit the chilly powder and vinegar.
Use sesame oil for maximum flavour since the nuttiness of the oil really complements the whole dish.
Substitute broccoli, spinach, basil or even kale for cabbage. And you can even boost the health element in this dish with additional veggies like beans, bean sprouts or even lean meat like boiled and shredded chicken.
For a seafood touch, fry some frozen (or freshly cleaned and de-veined) prawns along with the peanut butter paste for more flavour! Go nuts!