The Guardian

Stir-fries, soba and ramen: noodle recipes for one | Signe Johansen

The Guardian

Soba noodles with cucumber and a miso dressing (above)

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 1

100g soba noodles (100% buckwheat are best for this)
Ice cubes, for chilling the noodles
⅓ cucumber, cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or into small cubes for a contrast with the soba
2 spring onions, thinly sliced

For the dressing
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp mirin (or you can use white wine or cider vinegar)
1 tsp red miso paste
1 tsp soft light brown sugar or palm sugar
½ tsp soy sauce or kombu

To garnish (optional)
Black and/or white sesame seeds
Wasabi paste
Japanese pickles
Sprouted greens (alfalfa, broccoli, cress or radish all work well)
Shiso leaves, shredded
Grated fresh root ginger

Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions until al dente (usually about five minutes), then immediately drain and chill in a sieve with a few ice cubes.

Whisk the ingredients for the dressing together in a small bowl and taste. It should have quite a savoury-sour flavour. If necessary, add more vinegar, miso paste or sesame oil until it tastes the way you like it. Ditch the ice cubes and put the chilled noodles in a shallow bowl or plate along with the cucumber and spring onion. Add any of the garnishes that appeal to you and drizzle the dressing over the cold noodles. Quench your thirst with a tall glass of iced green or oolong tea alongside.

Chicken, shiitake mushroom and broccoli stir-fry

Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 1

1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
1 tsp soy sauce,
plus extra to taste
1 tsp rice vinegar (or white wine/cider vinegar), plus extra to taste
1 tsp grated fresh root ginger
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely grated
1 tsp honey or brown sugar
120g chicken breast, cut into strips
Handful shiitake mushrooms, sliced
4 Tenderstem broccoli stalks, chopped into 2.5cm pieces
1 fresh red chilli, sliced
1 spring onion, sliced
Toasted sesame oil, to taste
Sesame seeds, to garnish
Egg or rice noodles, cooked according to packet instructions, to serve

Mix the oil, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and honey or brown sugar in a bowl, then add the chicken strips. Leave to marinate for a few minutes so the chicken doesn’t dry out when you cook it.

Put a wok over a high heat. You’ll know it’s hot enough and ready for stir-frying when you flick a little water into the pan and it immediately evaporates. Add the marinated chicken and cook for a few minutes, tossing and stirring constantly so none of it burns. Remove the chicken from the pan.

Add a little more oil if the wok is dry, add the mushrooms and broccoli, and fry for a minute or two, tossing frequently, then add the chilli and spring onion.

Stir a couple more times, then taste. Season the stir-fry with sesame oil, soy sauce and vinegar to bring out all the flavours of the dish, and serve hot, garnished with lots of sesame seeds, on top of noodles.

Prawn, lime, peanut and herb rice noodles

Feel free to add other vegetables, such as chopped pepper, broccoli or bean sprouts (raw or cooked). I like to add edamame beans, broad beans and grated courgette, too.

Prep 20 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 1

100g thick or thin rice noodles
Vegetable or sunflower oil, for frying
150g raw, shelled prawns (or defrosted frozen ones)
1–2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 small bunch mint and/or coriander, roughly chopped
1 small carrot, coarsely grated or cut into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
1 small handful salted peanuts, roughly crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lime wedge, to serve (optional)

For the sauce
Grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed limes
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soft light brown sugar or palm sugar
1 red chilli, finely diced
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely grated

Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a bowl.

Cook the rice noodles according to the packet instructions until al dente, drain, toss them in the sauce and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a skillet or frying pan over a medium heat, add the prawns and fry for a few minutes until golden-pink and opaque – remove them from the pan as soon as they’re done so they don’t become tough.

Add the garlic, chilli and spring onion to the same pan once you’ve removed the prawns and fry gently for a couple of minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and return the prawns to the pan so all the flavours blend.

Serve the noodles in a shallow bowl or on a dinner plate and scatter over the prawns, herbs, carrot and crushed peanuts. Season to taste and add a lime wedge, if you wish.

Late-night miso ramen

You can add all manner of ingredients to these noodles. The following work particularly well: assorted pickles, citrus, herbs, mushrooms, kimchi, sriracha sauce, coconut milk or cream, peanut butter and Korean gochujang paste.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 1

150g packet miso ramen noodles (or plain noodles)
1 handful frozen peas, or any vegetables you have lurking in the fridge (carrots, sugar snap peas, corn, bean sprouts, finely shredded cabbage, courgette, etc)
1 egg
1 tbsp red or brown miso paste (if using plain noodles)
1 fresh green chilli, sliced
1 spring onion, sliced and put in a bowl of iced water for a few minutes
1 generous pinch black or white sesame seeds
Toasted sesame oil, to taste
Japanese dried nori seaweed, to serve (optional)

Cook the ramen noodles according to the packet instructions, adding the frozen peas (or whichever vegetables you opt for) to the pan so they cook at the same time.

Cook the egg by poaching it in the broth (whisk it in a bowl first then pour it into the broth or crack it in), boiling it whole in a separate pan, or giving it a quick fry.

Add the miso paste to the noodle cooking liquid (if cooking plain noodles) and stir through. Remove from the heat and garnish with the chilli, drained spring onion, sesame seeds, sesame oil and any other toppings you like. The egg goes on last if you cooked it separately, along with the seaweed (if using).

Recipes from Signe Johansen’s Solo: The Joy of Cooking for One (Bluebird, £16.99). To order a copy for £14.95, visit

Signe Johansen The Guardian

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