Saturday, 4 July 2015

Hairy Bikers' Beef with Noodles...

...or, When Noodles Go Bad.

OCD Panic Rating: 3/5
Handwashes: 3

I don't know whether the success of my chilli beef stir-fry went to my head or what, but this week saw my first real kitchen failure of many months.

The recipe I was aiming for was the Hairy Bikers' Beef with Noodles.  My husband had made it before and it was very tasty despite his use of the wrong type of soy sauce.  The recipe calls for ketjap manis, which is a sweet soy sauce that I just happened to have picked up at the BBC Good Food Show last winter.  I'd yet to find a recipe for it so was excited to find a diety one to justify breaking the seal.  Having never heard of it before (despite me showing him the bottle, natch), my husband used normal soy sauce.  Still tasted good but I wanted to try the recipe again properly.

On paper, it shouldn't have been any more difficult than the chilli beef I made a week or two back.  It was based around a ketjap manis/soy sauce/fish sauce combo, similar to the sauce used before.  However, the noodles were only to be partially cooked here, before being stir-fried with the other ingredients to completely soften.

The sauce was a worry for me as it turned out that our fish sauce should have been stored in the fridge since opening.  Correct storage and adherence to use-by dates is a major OCD issue for me and, God knows, you can't tell the freshness of fish sauce by sniffing it.  Ugh, not to be recommended.  In the end, I used it, as the fish sauce had been used without incident only a few days before.  But I wasn't happy about it.

Turns out the fish sauce was a red herring, so to speak, as it was the noodles that I needed to keep an eye on.  Everything had been going swimmingly – I had an authentic-smelling sauce, cooked beef and prepped veggies – but the second the noodles hit the pan, it all went wrong.  Rather than separating, they clumped together, trapping the veg and beef in a congealed mass of food.  It's not entirely clear from the pictures...

...but you could have formed a usable brick with minimal effort.  I tried to rescue my dinner but the broccoli was refusing to cook, the fish sauce was becoming increasingly pungent, and my vermicelli noodles had bunched together to create an epic supernoodle.

I turned off the heat, took my photos and chucked it in the bin.  Then went out for a burger.

Key Points:

I'm not really sure what went wrong so it's hard to say.  Sometimes food doesn't work and it's best to laugh it off and try again next time.

Win Rating: 0/5

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