Now that my exams are over, it’s the perfect time for comfort food and what could be better for that than crispy halloumi noodles with plenty of sweet chilli sauce! They’re essentially a veggie-friendly version of the crispy chilli beef noodles we all know and love.
This recipe is essentially just a halloumi noodle stir fry with spring onions, chilli pepper, garlic and ginger, red bell pepper and pak choi. Plus a homemade sweet chilli stir fry sauce made in the same pan at the same time! I chose to use fresh egg noodles to soak it all up well, but if you prefer a different type of noodle then feel free to substitute – even cooked spaghetti could work!
It’s actually the first stir-fry recipe on this blog – the only other noodle dish is my homemade pot noodles. However, you can get another noodle recipe from me in my free recipe ebook – one of the exclusive recipes is a 5-spice chicken and pak choi noodle stir-fry, so if you want to check it out then you can get your copy here. But, while those are delicious, I must say that I much prefer this recipe! After all, I’m a major fan of anything containing halloumi, sweet chilli, garlic and chilli peppers!
The sweet chilli sauce is actually super simple with only 4 ingredients:
- white wine vinegar
- light soy sauce (or dark if you prefer)
- ketchup (yes, regular ketchup)
- Thai sweet chilli sauce (Personally, I like Blue Dragon brand sweet chilli dipping sauce for this recipe)
So yep, it’s certainly not that low in salt or sugar. However, it is easy and delicious so I know I’m willing to make that trade-off!
Normally, to get halloumi crispy, you have to bread and deep-fry it. However, that’s a pain and doesn’t work too well in noodles. So, instead, I tried cooking it the same way I cook my crispy beef:
- mix together cornstarch and Chinese 5-spice in a bowl to combine
- add halloumi diced into bite-sized pieces
- stir to coat the halloumi with the cornstarch mix well
- cook over high heat in a pan with plenty of oil (around 4 tbsp). Don’t stir quite constantly in order to allow it to get golden brown on all sides
It’s a super simple process once you get used to it and so far it’s worked on all the different proteins I’ve tried! I don’t add any salt to the cornstarch and 5-spice mix for halloumi as the cheese is salty enough (plus our 5-spice powder contains some salt). However, for beef, I would add a bit of salt to make sure it was seasoned properly and help to draw the excess water out.
Once you get started making these halloumi noodles, they’re super quick. However, it’s important to read through the recipe to know what your next step is.
Tips for making quick stir-fries without becoming disorganised
- mix up the ingredients for your sauce in a small bowl first. This way, when you need to add them, you can just pour them all in at once!
- chop your veggies and group them together by when you add them. For example, you add the whites of the spring onions and the chilli peppers at the same time, so keep those together. The greens of the spring onions and the pak choi go in at the same time too, so those match up! It helps to prevent you from forgetting any ingredients.
- get all your ingredients out and ready close to the pan before you start cooking. Just having things you need close-by saves you from rushing around the kitchen worrying that something’s going to burn
Often, I make the same stir-fry a couple of days in a row, so another thing that I do is prep all my ingredients at once! After all, you have to get them all out and chop some of each on the first day, so why not chop tomorrow’s veg while you’re at it? Just keep it in a bowl or tupperware in the fridge until you’re ready to go! This way, the next time you make it, you won’t need to chop the veggies or do any of the prep. You can just start cooking!
The most important step in this recipe
Is cooling the pan in-between cooking the halloumi and starting to fry your onions, garlic, chilli pepper and ginger. If you skip this or get impatient, your garlic will burn. I’ve had this happen once or twice when I got a little impatient to eat and I promise you that it isn’t worth it. Just wait another 2 minutes and avoid that awful bitter burnt garlic flavour, I promise you that you won’t regret it!
Substitutions and Additions
You can make lots of substitutions in this recipe!
- fresh egg noodles – cooked spaghetti or instant ramen can be used here! Cooked rice noodles are also a great gluten-free option.
- the sauce – if you prefer to use a store-bought version then go for it! I like to make my own, but if you don’t have any white wine vinegar and don’t want to buy a whole bottle for this recipe then that’s completely understandable!
- spiciness – if you prefer things milder, remove the chilli pepper and use 1.5-2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce in your version.
- Pak choi – is the same as bok choy. You can use spinach instead if you like though, just make sure to give it time to wilt slightly.
- other veggies – courgette/zucchini could also work very well in this recipe. In fact, why not try spiralising some and using it in place of the noodles?
Sweet Chilli Halloumi Noodles
For the crispy halloumi:
- 4 tbsp neutral cooking oil e.g. vegetable oil or canola oil
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
- 100 grams halloumi cut in to bite-sized pieces
For the sauce:
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2.5 tbsp sweet chilli dipping sauce
- 2.5 tbsp ketchup
For the noodles:
- 1 red chilli pepper deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 2 spring onions chopped, green and white parts separated
- 1/2 tsp minced ginger fresh, frozen or jarred
- 1/2 red bell pepper cut in to strips
- 125 grams fresh egg noodles
- 3 large leaves pak choi chopped
For the crispy halloumi:
- Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat. While it heats up, mix together the cornstarch and 5-spice in a bowl, add the halloumi and stir to coat well, shaking off any excess.
- Add the halloumi (without excess cornstarch) to the hot pan and cook until golden brown on all sides. This should take approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove halloumi with a slotted spoon once cooked, keeping the oil. Turn heat down to medium-low and allow the pan to cool.
For the noodles:
- While the pan cools, mix all ingredients for the sauce together in a small bowl.
- Once the pan is cool enough, add the chilli pepper, garlic, white parts of the spring onions and minced ginger and allow to soften for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the bell pepper strips and pour in the sauce and allow it to bubble slightly and heat through, stirring to ensure it heats up evenly.
- Add the noodles and pak choi, as well as adding the crispy halloumi back to the pan. Allow the noodles to cook (2 minutes) and wilt the pak choi to your liking. Sprinkle with the green parts of the spring onions and serve.
- Cooling the pan: this step is very important as otherwise the garlic will burn and become bitter so make sure you don’t skip this.
- Salt: I chose not to add any extra salt to my noodles as the halloumi, soy sauce and ketchup already contain salt, as did my 5-spice powder. If you feel that it needs salt then either add a little sea salt or extra soy sauce.
- Sweet chilli dipping sauce: personally, I like Blue Dragon sweet chilli dipping sauce, but any Thai sweet chilli sauce should work well so long as it isn’t too thin.
- Pak choi is the same as bok choy, Spinach can also be used in its place.
If you’re looking for more quick and easy one-pan recipes then try my single-serving arrabiata pasta – it’s delicious and still has a little spice! Or try my Mexican veggie rice which serves 2, but isn’t too hot. However, you can always change that by increasing the chilli powder and adding a chilli pepper or two!
Good luck cooking!
Post linked to #CookBlogShare