In this new series, Broadsheet asks the country’s top chefs to make a doomsday-appropriate dinner that’s quick, easy and filling, accounting for potential food shortages, with a budget of just $30 to feed four. No pasta? No worries.

“The dish is inspired by cacio e pepe,” says chef Khanh Nguyen. “Let me repeat, ‘inspired’. As I know the ingredients can offend some of my Italian chef friends!”

Nguyen’s Southeast Asian eatery Sunda in Melbourne is currently doing takeaway-only, but before Covid-19, its staff meals – where this dish was born – were never dull, often revolving around a theme.

“The theme for this particular week was vegan,” he says. “I wanted to cook noodles, but we also had some ingredients left over on the staff meal tray that included some cabbage, a potato and enoki mushrooms.”

So, grabbing a few other items from the restaurant’s dry storage, Nguyen threw together this creamy, peppery dish that’s loaded with vegetables.

For best results, he recommends having all the ingredients prepped and ready before you cook, as once you turn on the pan, the cook time is only around 15 minutes.

“It was very quick and easy to whip up, and it turned out to be quite delicious and filling considering it’s all vegetables,” Nguyen says.

“I love how the ingredients imitate noodles but are veggies – so it’s healthier, right?”

Creamy Curry “Noodles”
Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

1 small onion (around 160g), sliced lengthways 2–3mm thick
25g garlic, finely sliced
450g savoy cabbage, sliced lengthways 2–3mm thick
360g enoki mushrooms, separated
400g royal blue potatoes, skin on, sliced into 3mm x 3mm sticks
40ml vegetable oil
250g Nuttelex (or other vegan margarine)

Creamy curry sauce
15g sea salt flakes
20g savoury yeast flakes
5g Clive of India curry powder (or substitute Keens or Ayam)
4g black pepper, cracked
30g kuzu or potato starch
420ml water

Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together, making sure the starch is well combined.

Add the vegetable oil to a large pan, and sweat the onion and garlic on low heat until sweet and translucent, around 4–5 minutes.

Add the cabbage and Nuttelex and cook for 2–3 minutes to soften the cabbage slightly; you still want it to be quite crunchy and textural.

Add the enoki mushrooms and potato sticks and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes.

Give the sauce ingredients a quick stir, then add them to the pan and bring to the boil. The starch will thicken the sauce, making it creamy.

Taste and check for seasoning, then serve with a little black pepper over the top.