Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ban Mien

Today is the last day of the exam period and I've just handed in one of the largest projects of my life.

2 minutes before the time it was due.

 Am I relieved? Yes. Was it good? Lets not go there. How do I feel now? Lets just say that I'm waiting around for my friends to finish their exams so we can head to the bar.

What I want to share with you today is nice and short -it is one of the fondest memories I have of spending time with my Poppa and also what's been keeping Jason and me well fed through the exam study period.

I have a very bad memory and, as a result, I really cherish every little bit I DO remember. In mandarin, "Ban Mien" literally means noodles mixed with sauce and is so easy to make. Due to the fact that it had minimal ingredients, it was cheaply sold (along with a big bowl of wonton soup) at every little street stall near my Nana and Poppa's house. This was also a dish frequently made by my (not very good at cooking) father when we first came to New Zealand as a cheap and simple meal and even he could make this taste good -it's very hard to mess up, you see.

This is actually all you need. Well, this and the egg noodles
Nowadays ban mien is kind of looked down upon as a meal for the lower class and not even the smallest of stalls would offer it on their menus as I discovered a few years ago when a stall owner asked me what era I was from -forgive me for trying to relive a great memory!

Takes about a minute to stir together
What I didn't understand at the time was why they couldn't have just pretended to have it on the menu and charge me for it -it only needs soy sauce, peanut butter and sesame oil! Everyone has that!

Plunging hot noodles into cold water so they don't go all sticky
 So anyway, enough outrage. The best thing about this dish is its simplicity -you can choose to go with the basics or to add anything you want to it and today, I chose shredded roast chicken and lots of chili! The measurements for the ingredients are a kind of a guestimate and changes a little every time I make it because all good dishes should be catered to your own tastes, not somebody elses. 

Ban Mien feat. Wonton Soup
Remember to serve with wonton soup. Enjoy =)

Ban Mien -As Lucy likes it

Core Ingredients (remember to taste as you go, your tastes will be a little different to mine)

340g dried egg noodles
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 heaped tablespoons peanut butter 
2 tablespoons rice vinegar (or 1 tablespoon balsamic)
2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 cup spring onions, finelly sliced

Optional Ingredients (feel free to omit and add -don't worry, I won't get angry)

2 teaspoon chilli (I recommend masterfoods, it comes freshly chopped in a jar)
Shredded roast chicken
Bamboo shoots

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as per packet directions.
2. Once the noodles are cooked, plunge into a bowl of cold water so they don't all stick together later.
3. In a seperate bowl, combine everything else except spring onions and mix. If you're having trouble getting it to mix, add a little boiling water to help it along.
4. Thoroughly mix the sauce through the noodles. Taste and adjust.
5. Serve using spring onions as garnish.

Note: If you're quick about it, you can miss out the cold water bit and mix the sauce directly through the hot noodles. It's actually how they do it in the food stalls!

See how easy it is? 


  1. That sounds perfectly delicious! It actually reminds me of a Nigella satay noodles recipe too :)

  2. Oh my littlej will sooooo love these! I'll get her to make these tomorrow! Yummm!

  3. Congrats on finishing the exam! I remember the feeling when I was done with all the exams. It's been more than 10 years ago when I was in school...and that number got scared me a bit. LOL. Time passed by so quickly! Enjoy being in school! ;-) Your ban mien looks delicious!