This is perhaps the most inoffensive possible introduction to both curries and Asian cuisine. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't love the very enigmatic mild flavour. I use prepared curry pastes like Pataks, but any curry powder will also work. This dish comes together very quickly, and is just as good served in appetizer-portions. Once you've made it a couple of times, you can riff endlessly on the ingredients.
125g rice vermicelli
Handful of green beans
2 1/2 tsp curry paste or powder
3 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS rice wine or dry sherry
Pinch of sugar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 TBS peeled and grated ginger root
1 green bird's eye chilli, finely chopped
2 spring onions, sliced on the bias
6 water chestnuts, sliced
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
5 shitake mushrooms, sliced
Handful of peas
50g char siu pork or cooked chicken, shredded
1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt and a splash of sesame oil
2 TBS peanut or other neutral oil
Handful of chopped coriander, to serve
Soak the vermicelli in boiling water for 30-45 seconds until softened, but not soft, then drain and leave to dry in a sieve or colander for about half an hour, tossing occasionally to make sure they don't clump together. (If you get nervous, toss them with a little oil to keep them separate, but only if you get nervous.)
Blanch the beans in boiling water, then chill and set aside. Add half the curry powder/paste and all the soy sauce, wine and sugar and toss together until the noodles are well coated.
Put the garlic, ginger, chilli, spring onion and remaining curry powder/paste in one bowl, the vegetables in another and the meat in a third. Put these near the hob along with the beaten egg.
Heat the oil in a wok until smoking, then add the garlic and ginger mixture. Stir-fry for 30 seconds until fragrant, then add the vegetables. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, then push to the side of the wok and add the egg. Allow to cook undisturbed until almost set, then scramble into the remaining ingredients. Add the meat and prawns and mix in, then add the noodles and toss everything together for a couple of minutes to combine.
Heap on to a serving plate, top with coriander and serve immediately.