Udon noodles and orange nam jim

Ottolenghi’s recipe for udon noodles, prawns and orange nim jam is a recent (and now favourite dish) that I picked up from the Guardian’s Feast supplement.

As is my way, I have made a few amends to the recipe as I didn’t have all of the ingredients and I had some leftover chicken and vegetables I needed to use up.

I like more vegetables in with the noodles anyway and so I included pak choi, aubergine, broccoli and red pepper. You could make the dish veggie 100% or use prawns as per the original recipe, go with what you fancy and your favourites.

Nam jim sauce

As I was making up the nam jim sauce the night before to put in the fridge, I got thinking about the sensory experience of cooking. There are the obvious ones such as smell and the nam jim sauce is beautifully fragrant with orange, tangy tamarind and salty fish sauce. Added to that are the fresh herbs – coriander and basil, which are pungent and aromatic.

Being mindful is very much a buzzword right now, that said feeling connected to what you are making does feel good. I enjoy taking in the look of the food, ensuring there’s contrasting textures, flavours and colours, it feels pleasing to me to take the time to be creative.

Also, music is important too and I hadn’t really given this much conscious thought until I had a conversation recently about Spotify playlists and the Unheard Depaul campaign. Check out the video, it’s all about using Spotify playlists to tell the unheard stories of young people who have experienced homelessness. 

I always have music on when I am cooking, I love it as it sets the mood and technology now makes it so easy to tailor your playlists from old favourites to new tracks. When making this recipe I caught up on Cerys Matthews’ show on 6Music on iplayer. There was some bad singing too, just for my ears only.

Cerys Matthews

I think her programme is great as it has an eclectic mix of poetry, stories and music. I always learn more about new and old music and frequently add more tracks to my Spotify playlists for future cooking sessions. Whilst we are in the moment, what is your favourite music to cook along to?

Udon noodles with chicken and orange nam jim

Ingredients (serves 1)

For the nam jim

Juice of 1 orange

½ tablespoon aleppo pepper

1 tablespoon basmati rice

10g tamarind paste

20 ml fish sauce

½ tablespoon honey (I didn’t have maple syrup)

1 shallot, finely chopped

5g coriander, roughly chopped

For the noodles, etc

300g udon noodles

100g leftover cooked chicken, shredded

1 tablespoon sesame oil

4 florets broccoli, roughly chopped

½ red pepper, sliced into strips

2cm aubergine, sliced into small chunks

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

½ teaspoon chilli flakes

1 spring onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

5g coriander leaves

5g Thai basil (I used normal)


Heat a dry frying pan and gently toast the rice for a few minutes until it smells toasty and is starting to lightly brown. Then grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle.

Simmer the orange juice in pan until it reduces by a ⅓, add in the honey and leave to cool.

Add the aleppo pepper, tamarind, fish sauce, rice, honey and orange juice into a bowl and mix together. Put to one side until you are ready to use, at that point add in the shallot and coriander.

Cook the noodles as per instructions and drain.

In a wok, heat the sesame oil and add in the broccoli, shallot, aubergine and pepper, stir fry for  5 minutes, stirring regularly. Add in the cooked chicken, chilli flakes, garlic, spring onion, pak choi and ½ of the nam jim sauce, cook for another 5 minutes until everything is heated through.

Toss in the noodles, the rest of the nam jim, stir fry for another few minutes and scatter over the basil, coriander and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

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