Mongolian shrimp, broccoli & noodles

Part of what I love about my industry is that you can work anywhere around the world. My home economics teacher told me when I was 14, “Look Mark, if you never want to be out of work and have the chance to travel, then become a chef”. No truer words were ever spoken to me at that young age; 39 years later and I’m STILL a chef and continue to get the opportunity to travel as part of my job – It’s pretty awesome!!  I also travel out of pure enjoyment as it is one of my favorite hobbies. The furthest East I’ve traveled was Singapore, which I absolutely loved and could have easily stayed there if I had not been married with three boys and a fabulous job in the US at the time. India, Thailand, Mongolia are places I look forward to visiting someday when the boys have left the nest and I’m free to travel longer and at any time throughout the year.

One thing about being a chef, you can bring the world into your kitchen every day. You choose the cuisine of the world you would like to cook, buy the ingredients and prepare the dish then sit around the kitchen table, smell the aroma, lift the fork or spoon to your mouth and experience the food culture of that destination. That’s what I love about my job, you don’t even have to jump on a plane to live for a moment or two in a different country. But good news – you don’t even have to be a chef!  All you need to do is decide where you want to go, find a recipe and give it a try. Who knows, you could make something so good that you want to travel there and try the real thing next time.

Mongolian shrimp, broccoli & noodles

Serves 4

Ingredients:

½ cup low-sodium soy sauce

½ cup low sodium vegetable stock or chicken stock

⅓ cup hoisin sauce

⅓ cup brown sugar

⅓ cup Thai chili sauce

4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 cups medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 large head broccoli, cut into florets

1 red bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped

4 cups cooked udon noodles

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

How to make:

To make the sauce, combine the first seven ingredients together in a medium size bowl, stir to combine then set aside.

Take a large wok or large skillet and place over a high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the shrimp and cook until crispy and golden brown, approx. 4 minutes, remove the shrimp from the pan and place on dish paper and keep warm.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok, then the broccoli and red bell pepper, cook for 2 minutes until tender, add the prepared sauce along with the noodles and bring to the boil, allow to cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then add the shrimp, cook for a further 2 minutes.

To serve, spoon the stir fry into four warm bowls, garnish with chopped green onions and toasted sesame seeds.