Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thai-Inspired Rice Noodles You Can Make in Minutes!

When working with rice noodles always be ready to proceed with the recipe soon after the noodles are drained and rinsed in cold water. if left to sit too long they become sticky and almost impossible to separate.

No claims of authenticity here - far from it - but Cafe Drake HRV's quickly assembled sauce and noodle add-ins suggests the flavor profiles of Thailand in particular.

This is another recipe based on using what you have at home, before your next food shopping trip. It's a good bet most of us can find an onion in the house at any time. Shallots are an ideal swap out.

We used sliced serranos because, again, that's what we had around. Thai or Indian green chilies will add more complexity to the dish.

We couldn't find a single jar of roasted peanuts on the pantry but we did have a few of the in-shell variety. Not recommended though unless you have the patience for shelling and rubbing off the skins.

First Things First: A screaming hot pan with only a modicum of oil. When the oil is almost smoking, add the sliced red onions or shallots. Like all Asian stir-fry dishes, this one depends on rapid cooking at very high temperatures for as little time as possible.

In go the rinsed and drained rice noodles. We used the slightly wider variety but you could use the fat or skinny rice noodles, doesn't matter. In a pinch you might try substituting plain linguine noodles but it's not recommended.

And the sauce hits the pan.

A last-minute addition of the green chilies and plenty of chopped cilantro is essential to balancing the sweet/sour noodles with fresh, crisp flavors and texture.

To create a true entree, complete the noodles with a form of protein, such as a couple of fried eggs, some fried or roasted tofu, 1/2 lb. or so of sauteed shrimp. We simply topped ours with a piece of broiled salmon that cooked perfectly in 6 minutes, the amount of time it took us to fry the noodles!

The easiest and most efficient method when preparing these noodles is to assemble the sauce in the beginning. Mix together in a bowl and then set aside: 1/4 cup tomato paste, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce, 3 T. lime juice, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 t. chili paste (the kind with garlic, found in all supermarkets in the Asian foods aisle) and 1-2 T. grated ginger.

Cook 8-10 oz. dried rice noodles according to the package instructions. This generally entails bringing water to a boil and then soaking the noodles for a few minutes. Drain the noodles and rinse very well under cold running water.

Moving with haste but without stress, heat 1 T. coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over high heat. When the oil is hot toss in 1 thinly sliced red onion or 2 very large shallots. Stir fry with vigor for 2 minutes and then add the rinsed and drained rice noodles. Stir once and pour in all of the sauce. Stir to coat the noodles very well and heat through. Cook for one more minute and then add 2-4 sliced hot green chilies and 3/4 cup minced cilantro. Stir some more to combine and remove from heat.

Serve hot or warm, topped with anything you like. Or not. DO however garnish the noodles with up to 3/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts.

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