Even though my Mum really doesn’t like to cook, I still have very fond memories of my childhood mealtimes. Some smells and tastes trigger a flood of memories, and the dish that I made for dinner tonight, is certainly one of those: a memory trigger.
During my childhood, my Mum was all about speed. Get the meal on the plate – fast – with the least amount of effort possible. It had to be fast as she had to wrangle three girls, run her own business, and keep her household in order (she’s the best!). Typically, this meant dinners of meat and three veg. Not a bad way to grow up (so long as that meat wasn’t fish fingers I was usually pretty happy with this arrangement), but occasionally she’d make something different, such as her “chow mein”.
Oddly enough, there aren’t really any noodles (besides the chicken noodle soup) in my Mum’s take on this well-known Chinese noodle dish but that’s what I love about this dish. It’s not traditional and it doesn’t try to be. It is what it is – a yummy way to fill up on a night when you don’t want to spend a long time in the kitchen. From start to finish (including prep time), I’d say this dish will take you about 40 minutes to cook. It has meat, vegetables, and rice so it is quite balanced, but add a side of salad or veggies if you are looking for more greens.
I want to note that my Mum doesn’t claim to have created this recipe but she has no known author to credit as it has been in her cooking repertoire for years.
Cheater’s Chow Mein – Makes enough for 4 to 6 people
500 grams minced beef
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
2 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 packet of chicken noodle soup
1/4 cabbage, shredded
Salt and Pepper
Rice, to serve
Put the rice on to cook and, once boiled, set aside.
Over a medium heat, cook chopped onion, mince, and carrot until the mince is browned. Stir in the curry powder, soy sauce, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Meanwhile, dissolve the chicken noodle soup in 1 cup of boiling water and add to the mince mixture. Stir.
Shred cabbage and pile on top of mince, place a lid on the pan and cook covered for 20 minutes. Give the mixture a final stir through and serve on a bed of a rice.