This is one of my favourite Wagamama dishes although I find that they tend to use a lot of leek. The nice thing about recreating dishes at home (besides the much smaller cost) is that you can tailor them exactly to your taste. This dish works very well with gyoza.
It’s definitely worth getting good quality, firm tofu from your local Chinese supermarket. Place the tofu on some kitchen roll, balance a plate on top and weigh it down with a can of beans to get rid of the excess water. This will make the tofu even more firm and it will be less likely to break into pieces when stir-frying. Incidentally, this squashing technique also works well for balls of mozzarella that will eventually top a pizza.
The Wagamama recipe instructs you to combine the egg, sauce, noodles and vegetables, but I find that the egg disperses and although you end up with a tasty noodle dish, it doesn’t look as attractive as the restaurant version. I use a method that I learned from my mother, which is to cook the egg separately, almost like an omelette, then slice it and add it to the dish when it’s almost cooked. This doesn’t feel like cheating at all as the dish looks much nicer with no compromise to the taste whatsoever.
A note on prawns
Always buy raw king prawns; fresh or frozen will do. Precooked prawns are often overcooked and if you need to heat them as part of your dish they become rubbery and unpleasant. Ideally, thaw frozen prawns in the fridge overnight but if you’re in a hurry thawing them in a bowl of cold water also works. Nigella Lawson says that the prawns lose their sweetness if thawed in this way but I’ve never been able to tell the difference.
Slice all the way down the inside of the prawn. Use the knife tip to lift out the intestinal tract near the tail of the prawn and pull it out. The tract should slide out in one but if it breaks, use the knife tip to retrieve the remainder. Unpleasant but necessary.
Gently heat the sugar, soy and vinegar until the sugar has dissolved. Combine with the other ingredients and mix well. The sauce will keep for up to three weeks in the fridge.
- Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
- Add a generous amount of oil to the wok and heat.
- Cut the tofu into 2cm cubes and coat in cornflour. Add to the hot oil and fry for a few minutes until the outside has crisped and started to colour. Remove from the wok and drain on kitchen paper.
- Drain some of the oil from the wok then add the leek and fry for a minute.
- Add the noodles, prawns, bean sprouts and sauce and fry for about four minutes until the prawns have cooked. Take care not to overcook the prawns – if they start to curl into a tight ball, they’re done.
- Add the tofu and egg, give everything a good mix then add the lime juice.
- Distribute into bowls and garnish with crushed peanuts and lime wedges.