Posts Tagged 'rice noodles'

Laksa

I try to eat at least a couple servings of vegetables every day, and usually I have no problem doing that.  Saturday, however, I realized as I got into bed that the mushrooms in this soup were the only vegetable I had all day.  Oops.

I guess that’s what happens when your first meal of the day is French toast at 11 am, after a leisurely run.

…and then you decide to make chocolate chip cookies with toasted coconut in the middle of the afternoon.

We had laksa for dinner, which I hadn’t had in years.  It’s a delicious Malaysian curry and coconut milk soup that’s incredibly flavorful (and rich! If you use full-fat coconut milk, which you really should).  I adapted three different recipes and made the curry paste from scratch (not as time-consuming as it sounds).  It may not be vegetable-packed, but it is pretty tasty.

I kicked off Sunday with a 10 mile run and came home to find Mike and Ellie watching the England-Italy match.  Technically Ellie wasn’t really watching…

We were both really disappointed England lost.

I wrapped up the week with 46 miles of running (the streak lives on!) and we had a LOT of  vegetables for dinner (quinoa bowls with dragon sauce!).

Another great weekend in the books.

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:87]

Rice Noodle Salad with Grapefruit


I pretty much never go to the library while school’s in session. During the average week, I’d rather use my spare time for cooking, running, and hanging with Ellie. BUT there was no work and endless free time last week, so I walked down to the library with her to peruse the cookbook section.

Why I don’t have How to Cook Everything Vegetarian in my collection is beyond me. I’ve made every dinner this week from this cookbook and they’ve all been awesome.

Biryani and Urad Dal with Poppy Seeds last night. So good.

Last night also happened to be one of those nights where beer was necessary. Not sure why we had it in wine glasses, but it was much appreciated.

And now it’s pizza Friday, and I’m making Spinoccoli Pizza. Happy weekend to us all!

I made a double batch of this salad on Sunday night and we had plenty for lunches for days. Unless you’re feeding an army or you want a ton of leftovers, a single recipe is definitely sufficient. I added some pan-fried tofu to up the protein and make it more of a main dish. I can see the end of grapefruit season coming and it’s tragic, but for now, I’m eating them with reckless abandon, and they’re perfect in this salad!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:54]

(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)

Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

Such a pretty salad.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t quite the presentation we got for dinner. Yes, I’m that ridiculous about my blog – I plated it, took pictures, then dumped the whole thing in tupperware for dinner on the road. And yes, we ate it straight from the container. We’re pretty high class.

I’ve made infinite variations of this salad, but I think this is the first time I’ve ever tried it with rice noodles, and I know for a fact that it’s the first time that I mixed chili garlic sauce in with the dressing.

Mike and I became obsessed with a similar sauce while we were traveling in Southeast Asia, and now we probably go through a jar this size almost every week. That may be a slight exaggeration, but only a slight one. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I love mixing it with tahini as a sandwich spread or dip for crackers or vegetables.

I planned this salad to be our dinner on the road, because we’re going back “home” this weekend. I’m not sure if I can call it home because I only lived there for 8 years, but Mike spent the first 28 years of his life there, so I think he definitely can.

Because our usual stop for food on the drive home is the bulk bagel section at Safeway, I decided it might be smarter to pack a healthy dinner to go so we don’t have to rely on crappy bagels. This looked perfect. And it was!

Our friends back home are having a big Thanksgiving dinner and I offered to make a pecan pie. Because I only had a half day at work I was thinking I’d have plenty of time to stop by the store, go for a run, pack, bake the pie, and make dinner. Ummmm, fail.

I ended up spending way too much time trying to figure out which pie recipe to use, and by the time I finished everything in the kitchen it was clear I’d have to skip the run. Sorry legs, I promise we’ll run tomorrow! And while we’re on the topic of pie, I have two very strong opinions about crust. 1) All butter is the only way to go (shortening is gross) and 2) The pastry blender is magical. Why would you dirty all the pieces of a food processor when you can just use this little baby and get amazing results?

You can fight me on these if you want to, but I’m not easily persuaded.

I think the pie looks moderately burnt but hopefully people will have had enough wine by then that they won’t know the difference. And dim lighting should help, too.

And that, my friends, is the pile of crap we took with us. I carried it all to the car in one trip, in the rain, while balancing a pie in each hand. Why we need that much stuff for a 2-night trip 3 hours away I’m not sure. We’ve clearly completely lost the art of packing that was such a part of our lives when we lived out of backpacks for months on end. But on the upside I get a hot shower every day now, so I think it’s an OK trade.

So back to the salad: it’s filling without being overly heavy, it’s infinitely modifiable, and the recipe makes plenty! I think I’ll whip some up on a Sunday and use it for lunches throughout the week. It’s even better after it sits in the fridge for a few hours.

Recipe:
(adapted from Living in the Kitchen with Puppies via Eats Well With Others)

1/2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tbsp cup soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/4 cup warm water
1-2 tsp chili garlic sauce (optional)

8 ounces rice noodles (linguine shape)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 pound tofu, drained and pressed
1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 medium carrot, cut into thin slices
3 tbsp green onions (green parts only, sliced
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce in a blender and pulse until smooth. Add the water a few tsp at a time and blend to desired consistency.

Bring a large pan of water to a boil. Cook the rice noodles for about 3 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water. Keep submerged in a bowl of cold water until you’re ready to mix the salad.

Cut the tofu into bite-size slices (1″ x 1″, 1/2″ thick).

Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium high. Add the tofu in a single layer and cook for a few minutes on each side, until golden brown. Add all the vegetables and stir fry a few minutes, until they’re just tender.

Remove the skillet from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Drain the noodles and toss with the tofu and vegetables in a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the noodle mixture and mix well. Sprinkle with basil, cilantro, and green onions to serve.

Thai Broccoli and Noodles

I’ve been thinking about Thailand a lot lately. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since we were running around Bangkok getting drenched in celebration of Songkran. Of all the things I miss the most, food is definitely near the top of the list. I miss the fruit man who sold bags of freshly cut watermelon, pineapple, and papaya near my bus stop. I miss the lady with the coffee cart near my work who sold me cafe boran every day (and ohhh how I miss cafe boran!) I really miss the food carts in our old neighborhood, selling papaya salad, fried rice, and noodle soup.

There was a woman who ran a food cart just in front of our building who Mike and I nicknamed “Shot Caller.” This woman ran the street and bossed everyone around, all from her lounge chair (with freshly manicured toes – a different color every day). She was very concerned about my job, Mike’s job, where he was when I came to get food by myself, whether we liked Bangkok, and how long we would be staying. She spoke pretty decent English, but usually about halfway through our conversations she would revert to Thai and get incredibly frustrated when I couldn’t say more than “I want chicken” or “very spicy.”

One of the employees at her food cart made a similar dish to this, and when I made it the other night, it immediately took me back. To be more authentic, you should use fresh rice noodles, but I hardly ever have those on hand, so I used dried here. Vegetarian oyster sauce should be pretty easy to find at an Asian grocery store, as should black bean sauce.

Recipe:
(adapted from Thai Cooking from the Siam Cuisine Restaurant)

1/2 tbsp oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
7 ounces dried rice noodles, soaked in warm water until soft
2 tsp soy sauce

1 large head broccoli, separated in to florets and stem peeled and thinly sliced
10 ounces extra firm tofu, thinly sliced
1 tbsp corn starch
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tbsp oil
1 tsp black bean sauce
1 clove finely minced garlic
2/3 cup water or vegetable broth
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp soy sauce

Steam the broccoli florets and stems until crisp-tender.
Mix the corn starch with 1 tbsp water and set aside.
Cook the tofu in a nonstick skillet until golden on all sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

To prepare the noodles: heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium high. Add the garlic and stir until golden, then add the noodles and soy sauce. Stir fry for several minutes, until noodles are hot and soft. Transfer to a serving platter.

Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add the garlic and bean sauce and fry until very fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add the broth or water, oyster sauce, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and corn starch mixture, and bring to a boil to thicken. Stir in the broccoli and tofu, mix well, then immediately pour over the rice noodles.

Thai Noodle Salad

Thai Noodle Salad 1

I am and have always been a morning person. So when I found out my working hours in Korea would be 3-10 PM, I wasn’t quite sure how I would cope with having to be a functional human after about 7:00 at night. Fortunately, the schedule seems to be working out, and it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to the food photography on this blog!

I now cook at about 11 AM, then pack up what I made to take to work for dinner. As a result, all my cooking is done during daylight hours, giving me much better light for pictures.

I know using lemon juice is not authentically Thai, but I couldn’t find limes at my grocery store. Either type will work, but if you crave authenticity, reach for the limes. If you have an aversion to fish sauce, or are vegetarian, soy sauce would probably work as a substitution, but I haven’t tried it yet. If you do, let me know how it tastes!

(adapted from Orangette)

Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon (or 2 limes)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp rice vinegar
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 hot red chili, finely chopped (omit if you don’t like spicy food)

Combine all ingredients, and taste. (This is really important! If it’s too fishy, add a little sugar and vinegar…if too sweet, add a little vinegar and/or fish sauce). Add a little water if the dressing seems to sugary and thick (again, this will depend on how you alter it to suit your tastes).

Salad:
12 ounces tofu (or you could use a chicken breast or two)
1 1/2 cups julienned napa cabbage
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned
10 ounces rice noodles
1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts

Cut the tofu (or chicken) into bite-sized pieces and cook in a frying pan. (Tofu should be brown on all sides; chicken should be fully cooked). Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the vegetables and tofu.
Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions, drain, and rinse with cold water. Add to the bowl of vegetables.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.
Sprinkle with peanuts to serve.



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