Monday, April 02, 2007

My new solution to Noodle Box cravings

I often get cravings for Noodle Box, which aren't always satisfied by going to Noodle Box – it's difficult to decide on exactly the right spice rating, I usually end up wondering if I should have ordered the one with chili plum sauce instead of my trusty cashew curry. Also, I don't really end up there very often, as most of the rest of you aren't too into the place. So the other day, I really needed to have a big bowl of steaming, tasty noodles-and-stuff, which led me to invent the following. It completely satisfied the craving, and I'm sure I'll call upon it to rescue me again sometime soon!

2 tbsp peanut oil
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp thai red curry paste
2 tbsp ginger, minced
2–3 tbsp palm sugar
3 cups dried fat egg noodles
2 carrots, julienned
1 red pepper, julienned
2 cups broccoli florets
juice of 1 lime
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 recipe sesame tofu

Hmmm, now the problem is that I don't really remember what my method was for this, except that I cooked it all in one big pot. I was smart enough to write down the ingredients and quantities the night I made it (which is unusual) but I didn't make any notes about process! I do remember that I was considering whether to cook the noodles separately or in the broth, with all the veggies. I went for the latter and that was definitely a good choice. I wanted the dish to be saucy without turning into a soup, and it was just that. Well, here's an attempt at a method, but feel free to mess with it as you see fit:

1. Bake tofu (recipe follows)

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot. Saute onion until translucent. Add garlic and continue to saute. Add chicken stock, coconut milk, curry paste, ginger and palm sugar.

3. Cook the veggies and noodles in this broth, adding each at the appropriate time for how well done you want it. I think I added the noodles first, as I didn't want the veggies to end up too soft. The noodles should have absorbed most, but not all, of the broth by the time they're done.

4. Just before serving, stir in lime juice and cilantro. Ladle into bowls and top with baked tofu. Garnish with more cilantro if you like.

Sesame Tofu (adapted from the Rebar cookbook)
1 block medium-firm tofu*
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until a bit crispy on the outside and hot and tasty throughout (about 20 minutes).

* you can make this with firm tofu instead, but I think it's best when it's silky on the inside; and the baking method is one of the best for medium tofu since it doesn't fall apart as it does when stir-frying; I do press the tofu first though (put the block of tofu between two small plates, and set a heavy jar or can on top – after a while a bunch of water will have escaped, and you can pour it off)


Laura said...

What a fantastic solution. Thanks for posting the recipe, too. I can see how it would definitely be a good idea to note down ingredients and quantities as you go - I always end up forgetting something when I make up recipes. That tofu looks great, and I'm not tofu's biggest fan.

Love the illustration! Particularly the egg noodles and the cilantro. And the framing chicken stock and coconut milk. Could one add cashews?

Meg said...

Sure, one can always add cashews!

I'm actually really excited to go buy some cashews right now because my new cookbook has a recipe for "cashew cream." You would probably not approve Laura, but apparently you can use it in pasta sauces instead of heavy cream, which makes me really excited since I always have to avoid those recipes... I'm generally not in favour of trying to recreate something out of something else that's just not it, but I have hopes for this one even if it does sound a bit strange. We'll see!