Ok, I’d just like to start by saying sorry about the photo of this dish. I was in a hurry. It really tastes a whole lot better than this looks. Now that that’s out of the way, if you’re anything like me, you are ever on the quest for quick, interesting things to cook for dinner. And you also have a top five (or so) that you have on high rotation. They’re the dishes that you make without really thinking about them:  you always have the ingredients and somehow you can eat them over and over again without getting bored of them. Well, for a while, anyway.

Every now and then, when you’ve eaten something just a time or two too many, it slides out of the top five and is replaced with something else. And of course it’s seasonal, so in summer there are a lot of salads and simple BBQ dishes, and in winter it’s all soups and slow-cooks. Ok, so slow-cooks obviously take a while, but they’re easy and quick to put together.

This dish is adapted from a recipe in a Marie Claire cookbook (Food Fast), where it goes by the name of salad of lamb noodles and peanuts. I’ve made it that way, and it’s very good. But nowadays I use whatever meat I’m in the mood for, and have added ginger, so I’m just going with ginger noodles and leaving it at that. You can leave out or substitute pretty much any of the fresh ingredients in the list.

(Serves 4)

What you need:

200g dry beanthread noodles
1 tablespoon chilli oil
1 knob of fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 small chilli
500g lamb/chicken/pork/beef/tofu
150g snow peas (or broccoli, or choy sum, or any kind of Asian greens)
1/2 red capsicum
Any other veg that you’re into – corn, mushrooms, carrot – you name it
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/4 cup coriander leaves
1/2 cup roasted, unsalted peanuts or 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

What you do:

Put the noodles into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Allow to stand for at least 5 minutes, until soft.

Grate the ginger, squish the garlic, finely shred the kaffir lime leaf (I use scissors) and slice the chilli.

Cut the meat or tofu into bite-size slices.

Finely slice the capsicum and prepare the other vegetables (remove the string from snowpeas, cut broccoli into florets, slice Asian greens into manageable pieces, slice mushrooms, remove kernels from corn, cut carrots into batons etc).

Place the peanuts into a plastic bag, and then use the side of a mug to press down and crush them.

Heat the chilli oil in a wok or frying pan over a high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, kaffir lime leaf, chilli and cook for 30 seconds. Add the meat and stir fry for 3 minutes or until sealed. Add the vegetables and stir fry for 2 minutes. Then add the soy sauce, sweet chilli and fish sauce and remove from the heat.

Drain the noodles, toss them with the stir fry and coriander.

Serve onto plates and sprinkle with the crushed peanuts or sesame seeds.