Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Curry Noodles in Coconut Milk Broth (or Khao Soi)

One of the greatest benefits of living in Okinawa is that it is a gateway to a plethora of other wonderful places to visit. I haven't yet made my way to any other countries, but certainly intend to. Hubby and I were hoping to get to Tokyo (no, it's not a different country, but it's different enough) for our anniversary, but our plans were nixed by the military who decided it needed him. (No surprise.) So, it's back to the drawing boards for our next vacation. 

It's great fun, though, hearing about our friends' adventures. From Hong Kong to Thailand, Australia to Cambodia, we're often living vicariously through others. 

This dish is kind of like listening to your friends' vacation stories - a way to experience another culture without having to ever get on a plane. I found this recipe over at VeggieBelly and tested it out on hubs. We both loved it and I imagine you will, too. If anything, pop by her website for some truly fabulous food (and travel) photos. 

Serves: 2 - 3

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 C chopped shiitake mushrooms (*You know me. These did NOT make it in!)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 C chopped baby corn
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp curry powder or according to taste
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 C coconut milk
  • 1 C water
  • 2 C  fresh Chinese wheat-based noodles or about 3 oz. dried thin wheat-based noodles 
  • 1 C bean sprouts

    Toppings and Garnishes
  • 1 C store-bought crispy noodles (*Like VeggieBelly, I too used LaChoy!)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1/4 C chopped pickled mustard greens (*Couldn't find these, so I omitted them.)
  • 3-4 lime wedges
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped green onion
Directions:
  1. Heat a large wok with oil. Add shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, baby corn and carrot and cook on high for about 2 minutes. Then add curry paste and curry powder. Toss to coat the vegetables. Add light soy sauce and cook about 30 seconds so the vegetables absorb the liquid. Then add dark soy sauce, brown sugar, and coconut milk. Let the curry simmer for about 2 minutes. 
  2. Then pour in water and bring back to a simmer. Taste curry and adjust soy sauce, add sugar to taste.
  3. Bring a large pot full of water to boil noodles. If using dried noodles, cook in boiling water til noodles are very al dente. If using fresh noodles, boil for about 1 minute. No matter what noodles you use, make sure not to overcook them. Drain well.


  4. Add cooked noodles and bean sprouts to the curry broth. 
  5. Serve in individual bowls, topped with crispy noodles. If you don't have store bought crispy noodles, increase the fresh or dry wheat noodles quantity in this recipe by 1/2 C. If using dried noodles -- deep fry this extra half cup of boiled, drained noodles in oil, til golden. If using fresh noodles, deep fry them as is. Then top Khao Soi with the fried noodles.
  6. Serve with chopped shallots, pickled mustard greens, lime wedges, and cilantro on the side.

    Et voila!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Szechuan Tofu and Green Bean Stir-Fry

I'm always on the hunt for new vegetarian recipes that will fill my hungry tummy and be tasty at the same time. This recipes comes from Eating Well  and was such a hit, I made it twice in three weeks -- something I really try to avoid doing. To make it heartier, I serve this over a bed of brown rice.

Serves: 4
Total time: 30 minutes


Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C water, divided
  • 1/4 C reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Chinkiang vinegar or balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tsp plus 2 tbsp cornstarch, divided
  • 1 - 14 oz. package extra-firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tbsp canola oil, divded
  • 4 C green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger (*Don't have fresh ginger? Try a few shakes of ground ginger instead.)
  • *I throw in some sliced red pepper to up my daily veggie intake and highly recommend you do, too!
Directions:
  1. Whisk 1/4 C water, soy sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, crushed red pepper to taste and 1 tsp cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside. Cut tofu into 1/2 - 3/4" cubes and pat dry. Toss the tofu in a bowl with the remaining 2 tbsp cornstarch to coat.


  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and spread out across the surface of the pan. Let cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Gently turn and stir. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crispy, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 tbsp oil to the pan. Add green beans, (*peppers if you're using them), garlic, and ginger; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/4 C water, cover and cook until the beans are crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir the reserved soy sauce mixture and pour it over the green beans. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Add the tofu and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1 minute more. 
Et voila!