Day 288: Yasai Chilli Men

We had a lovely day in London yesterday: a museum, lunch, theatre trip, culminating in a visit to Wagamama for Mathilde’s favourite Yasai Mini Ramen (The Man, as ever, enjoyed his Katsu Curry). Although I tried to be good and order something I hadn’t tried before (rather than the usual Pad Thai) I’m still in mourning for the recently removed from the menu Yasai Chilli Men. 

This has been a staple for me ever since I first visited Wagamama back in the ’90s. It was my favourite, perfectly balanced, spicy, sweet vegan noodle dish. I miss it. Wagamama, you are not the same without it.

This is the best substitute I can come up with.

Ingredients for the sauce:

  • 1 x small onion
  • 2 x garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3cm piece ginger, grated
  • 2 x lemongrass, finely sliced
  • 1 and a half tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 x tsp maple syrup
  • 1 x red pepper, diced
  • 1 x red chilli, sliced
  • 3 x tbsp passata 
  • 300ml water 

For the stir fry:

  • 200g tofu, pressed and cubed
  • 1 x red onion, sliced
  • 1 x broccoli head, cut into florets
  • 1 x courgette, sliced
  • 100g mushrooms, sliced 
  • Handful of mange tout

To serve:

  • Wholewheat noodles

To make the paste, cook the onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and lemongrass in olive oil for a few minutes until soft. 

Add the pepper, soy sauce and maple syrup and cook for a further 5 minutes. 

Pour in the water and passata, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool slightly then blend and set aside (this can be done in advance to speed things up when cooking).

Stir fry the tofu and veg whilst cooking the noodles according to the packet instructions. 

Serve the veg on the noodles, pour the sauce over and garnish with sesame seeds or chopped cashews if you like.

I still yearn for the Wagamama Yasai Chilli Men but this version is as close as I’m likely to get.

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