The L-Plate Vegetarian
Rice and Noodles
Rice comes in two types, white or brown and in several varieties:
Long Grain or Easy Cook (the most commonly used), Basmati
(very fragrant – good for Indian/Chinese dishes), Thai
Fragrant Rice, Risotto (for risottos – surprisingly!)
and Short Grain rice (which is mostly used for puddings).
Most supermarkets now stock a range of flavoured rice which
can be heated up in the microwave or oven, for example Pilau
rice or Egg Fried rice to go with your curry or Chinese! They
also do a really good dried range in packets with herbs, spices
and dried vegetables. The Batchelor’s range is listed
below, but all supermarkets stock very similar own-brand ranges:
- Batchelor’s Savoury Rice: Golden; Mushroom or
Mild Curry flavours. Rices of the World: Indian; Chinese; Tandoori;
Sweet & Sour or Thai.
There are also a few rice based ready-meals available, apart
from curry and chilli of course, such as Marks & Spencer’s
There are lots of different dried noodles (noodles are a bit
like pasta) but check that they are not egg noodles as these
will be made with battery eggs. There are lots of flavoured
ones (the chicken flavoured ones below don’t contain
any chicken). Try the flavoured noodles on their own for lunch
or serve with other veg to make stir frys etc in the evening.
Or serve them with other dishes instead of potatoes, plain
noodles or rice.
- Batchelor’s Super Noodles: Chicken; Sweet & Sour;
or Spicy Salsa.
- Safeway Super Quick Noodles: Chicken; Curry;
Prawn or Barbecued Beef.
To cook plain rice & noodles see ‘How
to cook the Basics’.
In the fresh chilled salad and frozen counters you can get
great selections of ready chopped up veggies for stir fries.
They are great served with rice or noodles, some even come
complete with noodles, rice, pasta and stir-fry sauces.
- Asda: Indian Style Stir Fry (with pilau rice, vegetables,
sultanas and curry sauce) or French Style Stir Fry (with
vegetables and creamy garlic sauce).
- Sainsbury: Fresh Noodle
Stir Fry (with noodles and vegetables)
or Chinese Stir Fry (with vegetables and sauce).
Beansprout Stir Fry (with vegetables) or Chinese Chow Mein
Stir Fry (with noodles).
- Tesco: Thai or Sweet & Sour
- Budgens Mushroom Stir Fry.
- Findus Wok: Classic; Chinese;
Thai and Couscous Oriental
(the latter a complete meal, served with rice).
Try making your own very simple stir fry using vegetables,
cooked noodles or rice:
Cook your plain rice (basmati is good for this) or noodles.
In a frying pan or large sauce pan heat a tablespoon of cooking
oil, add half a chopped onion, some crushed garlic and any
chopped veg you like: red or green peppers, mushrooms, carrots,
green beans, broccoli, courgettes, tinned sweet corn, tinned
bamboo shoots or water chestnuts, bean sprouts, spring onions
etc. Keep stirring on a high heat until cooked (about 10-15
mins) then stir in your rice/noodles, some roasted peanuts
or cashew nuts and add one of the many stir fry sauces you
can get from supermarkets, such as Sweet & Sour or Black
Bean Sauce – Sharwoods make a good range and so do Marks & Spencer.
Take care – some Thai sauces can contain fish sauce!
When your stir fry is ready you could serve it with a couple
vegetable spring rolls, try Tesco or Sainsbury Vegetable or
Daloon Exotic Spring Rolls.
Risotto is really just an Italian version of a stir fry,
but the rice is much creamier. A couple of good ready-made
risottos are Tesco or Marks & Spencer’s Mushroom Risotto.
Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, you are limited to
mushroom flavour risotto if you buy from the supermarket, but
you can make your own as there are lots of ideas in recipe
books. You use special risotto or arborio rice and you don’t
cook it separately like stir fries – you cook it all
in the pan – very easy! For a simple version try this:
Dissolve a veg stock cube in 3⁄4 pint of boiling water.
Fry half an onion and a crushed garlic clove in a tablespoon
of olive or
vegetable oil for 3 mins. Add some flaked almonds, chopped
up veg eg mushrooms, peppers, sweetcorn (or anything else you
fancy) and 75g/3oz risotto rice. Stir for another 3 minutes
then add quarter of the stock. Bring to boil, stir and keep
the risotto bubbling, then reduce heat. As the stock evaporates,
keep adding a little bit more and cook for 20 mins on a low
heat. If you use all the stock and need more liquid just add
some water. Make sure the stock has all been absorbed before
you serve and check the rice is tender and creamy. Serve just
on its own or with salad and bread or garlic bread
Next Section: Beans and Lentils
| Rice and noodles are another great base for meals that you
can add almost anything to and create something Italian,
Indian, Chinese, French, Mexican, African –
whatever you like.
in a Thrice!
You can buy rice in dried form (the cheapest way
to buy it) which you just boil in water or you can buy
it in several
ready cooked tinned or frozen rice which you heat up; ‘boil
in the bag’ which is as it sounds, rice in a bag
that you pop in boiling water; or Microwave rice.