All lined up…DIY Pot Noodle Experiment 3: zucchini noodles, tofu, carrots, celery, brussel sprouts, radishes, carrots, spring onions, green capsicum.
I’ve finally got around to experimenting with DIY Pot Noodles, something I’ve been keen to do for about a year! This post summarises my learnings and some of the variants I’ve concocted along the way.
There are a couple of good articles that break down DIY pot noodles into flavours, base, veggies and other things to include. I found these very useful:
Having been inspired, I started creating and – as if often the way – started my learnings…
Learning #1: If you are using spring onions, quantities matter.
Sadly, I forgot to take a photo of my very first DIY Pot Noodle experiment (aka DIY Pot Noodles Experiment 1). The first output used spring onion, carrot noodles (having fun with the spiraliser #1), zucchini noodles (having fun with the spiraliser #2), halved cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced radish and celery. And I flavoured them with some left over sachets of Pot Noodle flavourings (Duck and Maggi Salt Reduced Chicken).
The biggest learning from this was: only use about 1/3 of a spring onion per jar, and not a whole spring onion. About a third of a spring onion will do…and include only the green parts, save the white parts for something else.
Include a whole spring onion, and it will stay with you for hours…and onion breath is not a nice feeling. Especially if you have meetings after lunch.
DIY Pot Noodle Experiment 3: Zucchini noodles, tofu, carrots, brussel sprouts, celery, green capsicum.
Learning #2: A flavour base is important
Another learning from the first DIY Pot Noodle experiment: flavour is important. I’d split up 1 x sachet of duck noodle flavouring (left over from a previous non-DIY pot noodle fest) between 3 jars, that wasn’t enough flavour. So I ended also divvying up a sachet of Maggi Chicken Noodles between the 3 jars, that made it more flavoursome and emphasised the importance of flavour, flavor and flava.
If you don’t have enough flavour, then you have a bunch of vegetables in hot water…which isn’t the most appealing thing to eat.
Stock isn’t great in DIY pot noodles, and buying a soup sachet would make them uneconomical.
The Food Lab recommends Better Than Bouillon in their post Make Your Own Just-Add-Hot-Water Instant Noodles (and Make Your Coworkers Jealous) but I couldn’t source that in any of the shops I visited near me.
I ended up finding Osem’s Chicken Soup powder in my local Woolworths (they also do a Vegetable Soup Powder). About 2 small teaspoons of the powder is perfect to add flavouring to my DIY Pot Noodles.
Learning #3: I am not convinced about adding leftover tomato pasta sauce
Inspired by the Italian Style Quinoa Noodles on GOOP, I created a version using quinoa, noodles and left over tomato sauce (DIY Pot Noodles Experiment 2). Even though the sauce was very reduced and the quinoa and pasta were well drained, there was too much additional liquid in the noodle jars.
That meant, when I added my hot water…I couldn’t add enough hot water for the DIY Pot Noodles to be properly warmed. Meaning a slightly disappointing pot noodle experience…plus the left-over tomato sauce ended up being quite oily, also a negative.
DIY Pot Noodles Experiment 2: Zucchni noodles, left over pasta sauce, spring onions and quinoa.
Learning #4: Placement is important
Apart from layering your ingredients so anything that could potentially get soggy is not at the bottom of the jar, you also need to think about how flavours could infuse surrounding ingredients. Otherwise, you could have all the right components for a great pot noodle, but still achieve less than optimal results.
I discovered the hard way that sprinkling the chicken soup powder on top of the diced Tofu was not the best idea in the world: it left the Tofu tasting salty and unpleasant. And when I sprinkled it on top of some halved cherry tomatoes in one batch, the soup powder caked and was really hard to dissolve in the hot water.
It’s at about this point that I learnt to add the chicken soup powder just before adding the hot water. Chick peas, brown lentils, tofu, cherry tomatoes, radishes, carros, celery and spring onions.
Now I keep the chicken soup powder in a container, and only add it at the last minute…otherwise it renders some of the other ingredients unpalatable.
Learning #5: Some vegetables work, some don’t
Vegetables that work: radishes, tomatoes, broccolini, spinach, carrots, zucchini, kale, celery, snow peas, spring onions (in sensible quantities), roasted pumpkin, roasted sweet potato, roasted onion, frozen peas, frozen corn
Vegetables that don’t work: raw mushrooms
Raw mushroom learning curve…coming up. Cooked white rice, mushrooms, frozen corn, carrots, celery, broccolini and spring onions.
Learning #6: If you want something more filling, add legumes or rice
Sometimes you need something a little more filling: my first experiments were basically vegetables and tofu…which is fine until you intend to do an hour long Garuda class straight after work (Garuda was developed by a dancer, and is a mix of yoga, pilates and tai chi). On those days, if I didn’t include something more filling then about 10 minutes into the workout I would start fantasising about dinner instead of focusing on the moves.
Canned chick peas, black beans, lentils and kidney beans are all good additions if you want a more filling experience.
Cherry tomatoes, tofu, zucchini, celery, carrot, radishes, spring onions, chick peas and brown lentils.
So is cooked brown rice or cooked white rice, or cooked soba noodles or ramen noodles.
Cooked soba noodles, spinach, tofu, spring onions, carrots and sesame seeds. I will never include sesame seeds again: I almost choked on one.
Learning #7: If you are fantasising about dinner during exercise class, add a topper to your pot noodles
A quartered hard boiled egg is always good, so is some left over roast beef. The hard boiled egg is more filling, I have to say.
Roast beef, broccolini, brussels sprouts, spring onions, roast sweet potato, roast carrot, roast pumpkin and roast onion.
If you can get the lid closed over the quartered egg, give the jar a shake and the yolk will thicken and enrich the sauce a bit too.
Learning #8: Mix it up a bit in terms of flavours and umami
I make up 4 of these pot noodles on Sundays, and I eat them Monday Lunch and Dinner and Tuesday Lunch and Dinner. It’s important to include variety otherwise it does get a bit boring. I normally make 2 different types, so I can have something different between lunch and dinner.
Where I have made the same thing, dependent on ingredients I can create variety by different flavourings:
- Some sesame oil and a dash of soy if I want something more asian-inspired
- Basil pesto if I want something more italian
- An anchovy (hear me out): it adds a richness and umami and the fish itself melts away into the stock when you pour hot water on it
- Chopped parsley
Adding parsley, basic pesto and anchovy for more flavour. Cherry tomatoes, spring onion, carrots, zucchini and celery.
You will still want to include the 2 teaspoons of chicken soup powder.
Learning #9: If you want a thicker soup, do a little pre-prep
A good fallback to make a thicker and richer soup, is to add pre-cooked cannelini beans.
- Heat a splash of olive oil in a saucepan
- Add chopped fresh rosemary and a crushed clove of garlic and heat through until fragrant
- Add a tin of drained and rinsed cannelini beans and 1/2 cup of water
- Heat while stirring, some of the cannellini beans will break down to make rich and thick sauce. You can help this process by getting in there with a potato masher
- If you’d like some greens: add a handful of chopped kale, and a little more water. Stir until the kale is wilted and serve
This is basically a Jamie Oliver recipe that you use as a base for filet steak. It is delicious, but you can also use it to thicken your pot noodles.
Kale, Zucchni and the pre-prepped Cannellini beans
I haven’t shaken this yet. If you shake the container to mix the ingredients, the beans will start to thicken the soup.