The Circus Gardener's Kitchen

seasonal vegetarian recipes with a side helping of food politics

Cantonese-style stir fried noodles

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The recent appointment of a Food waste Czar is a belated recognition by the UK government of the need to tackle the scandal of food waste.

According to WRAP, the organisation which campaigns on sustainability issues, each day in the UK we throw out a staggering 4.4 million potatoes, 20 million slices of bread, 1.2 million tomatoes, 0.9 million bananas and 0.7m oranges, to list but some.

Globally, 1.6 billion tonnes of food are wasted every year, which amounts to about 66 tons per second.

This is a problem on several fronts.

For a start, food waste is a significant contributor to global warming (if food waste was a country it would be the third biggest contributor to global warming, behind the USA and China).

At the same time, according to the United Nations, around 815 million people across the world suffer from chronic undernourishment. There is a very clear ethical as well as an environmental dimension to food waste.

Here in the UK we will need to see what difference Ben Elliot, the UK’s new food waste czar, is going to make in his new role.

However, we certainly should not be waiting to find out: there are some easy steps we can all take right now to minimise our personal contribution to the scandal of food waste, for example:

• writing a shopping list in advance, so that you don’t buy what you don’t need
• reusing/freezing leftovers
• serving smaller portions
• composting
• putting waste food such as bread, rice, pasta on the bird table, if you have one
• buying local produce (which will not only be fresher but will also have travelled fewer miles to reach your plate).

On to the recipe.

Of the eight recognised regional cuisines of China regional Chinese cuisines, Cantonese is the one most familiar and accessible to Westerners. This simple, quick dish is loosely based on the classic Cantonese dish Lo mein, a tasty and very satisfying noodle dish.

What you have here, essentially, is good, fast food.

Use the thinner noodles for this dish as they have more surface area and will produce a crispier texture when fried in the wok. For a vegan version, you could instead use egg-free durum wheat noodles, such as Biona’s Asian noodles.

Cantonese-style stir fried noodles


200 g organic bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
150 g thin egg noodles, or vegan alternative
6 spring onions, white and green parts, diagonally sliced
60 ml dark soy sauce
3 tbsp roasted sesame oil
1 tbsp maple syrup


1. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions. Drain then rinse in cold water until cold. Leave to drain thoroughly.

2. Whisk together the soy sauce and maple syrup. Place a wok over a high heat. When hot, add one tablespoon of the sesame oil. After a minute, add the drained noodles and stir so that all of the noodles are coated with oil, then stop stirring and spread the noodles out in an even layer. After 3-4 minutes, the noodles will have started to become crispy. Turn them over carefully in the wok and add a further one tablespoon of sesame oil. Cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the other side is crispy. Remove the noodles from the wok and place on a baking tray or plate.

3. Add the remaining tablespoon of the sesame oil to the wok. When the oil is hot add the spring onions and the bean sprouts. Stir-fry vigorously for 2-3 minutes. Now add the noodles, quickly followed by the soy sauce and maple syrup mixture. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Categories: vegetarian


7 replies

  1. Very comforting 👍

  2. Another thing we do in our home is have all the food laid out on the table in communal dishes. We then take what we want and top up if we feel like having a bit more. Any food left over hasn’t been messed with and is then put in containers to be eaten as leftovers. That has two benefits: 1. We haven’t wasted any food on our individual plates. 2. Any food left over can be kept for leftovers.

    We also have a compost bin where all our peelings go. So we seldom waste a single scrap of food.

  3. Don’t put too much bread out for birds – see RSPB advice:

    I freeze most of my bread as can never get through a full loaf in time.

    The recipe sounds delicious.

  4. Nice noodles recipe !

    By the way, no more like button on your site ?

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