This was originally Nigella Lawson’s recipe which had been originally her Thai chef’s one while on holiday there; Nigella, not chef or me. I chucked out prawns from the recipe keeping it strictly vegetarian, and swapped the celery for pak choi and Thai basil. Thai chef or not, Nigella or not Nigella, celery is not edible unless stuck in a Bloody Mary when you’re already advancely tipsy.
I have now made the dish a zillion times it’s so good. Okay, three, but could be zillions by the time you read this. Egg noodles are what I used the first, awe-inducing time, but rice noodles are as good and they are what NL recommends.
I actually found the recipe when I was looking for something I could use my bottle of ketjap manis in – having bought it in an Oriental supermarket shopping frenzy, I’d completely forgotten what destination I had in mind for it. And this recipe is a great find; and you can even forget the ketjap manis: soy sauce mixed with sugar will do the same trick.
It is pretty difficult to spoil a noodle dish for me; just give them to me plain with a bottle of soy sauce. But this recipe is something else; it creates a uniquely lovely flavour. Trust the cinnamon sticks and the star anise – they work a treat.