Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Thai noodles and cucumber salad

I'm finally getting around to posting this thai noodle recipe, which I have adapted from a recipe that Ruth Reichl posted on her blog. The version shown in the photos below is from a couple of weeks ago. 

First soak your noodles:

You need 8 oz of rice noodles. I usually make them with this width, but sometimes go with wider ones. I cover them with hot tap water and let them soften (usually for about 1/2 hour) while I'm prepping the other ingredients.

Might as well make your side dish now too. Use a mandoline to thin slice a cucumber (peel and seed if necessary). Then thin slice about 1/2 of a small or a 1/4 of a large onion (red is pretty, but white or yellow onions work fine.) Chop up a little cilantro and toss it all together in a bowl with a couple of tablespoons of rice vinegar, a sprinkle of salt and sugar. After it has sat for a while, taste a slice and adjust seasoning. Pop in the fridge to chill while you're cooking.

Next comes noodle ingredient prep. I usually start with the sauce:
In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 c of white or brown sugar, 1/4 c of fish sauce, 1/4 c rice (or white) vinegar and 2 T of black soy sauce (you can skip this if you want--black soy sauce is almost like a salty molasses so it gives and extra sweet/salty kick). Set aside.

Next prep your first round of add ins: these are the vegetables and stuff you want to have cooked, not merely warmed up. This is also where you get to add lots of variation. I also like to make this with green beans, scallions (the white part here, the greens added at the end), red peppers, sweet potato leaves, kale, etc.  If you are ok with shell fish you can add some fresh shrimp instead of the tofu.
1/4-1/2 lb tofu cubed, green peppers, shredded cabbage, thin sliced carrots, sliced onion. There are probably around 3 cups of vegetables plus the tofu here.

Next prep your other stuff. Again, there are a few standards (1/4 c chopped peanuts, 2 limes, 2 cloves of pressed garlic) and room for additions. This week I was just chucking in some basil leaves at the end, but other weeks I've added spinach, bean sprouts, scallion greens, cilantro etc. to this phase.

Put a couple of tablespoons of peanut oil in a wok, heat it up and add your garlic and 1/2 lb ground meat--I use pork or turkey and both turn out well.
When the meant is no longer pink, add the onions (or white parts of the scallions) and the tofu. Continue to stir fry until the meat starts to brown a little. This is also a good time to add dried red pepper flakes if you want it spicy (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon).
Drain your noodles and dump them in the wok, use a spatula to scrape your sauce ingredients over the noodles and toss while they cook so that the noodles absorb the sauce.
When the sauce is about 1/2 way absorbed, add the vegetables that need some cooking. If you want egg in your noodles (I didn't use egg this week), this is also a good time to make a little space in the wok and crack in an egg or two. Let them cook a little, then scramble with your tongs and toss with the rest when they are firm.

When the sauce has been absorbed and the vegetables sufficiently cooked, add your final ingredients: chopped peanuts, fresh herbs, scallion greens and bean sprouts, if you are using them, and squeeze the two limes over the top.
Give it all a good toss and serve in bowls with a portion of cucumber salad on the side and some sriracha sauce if you like it spicy.


expert contabil said...

Hmmm this recipe looks so delicious and nice and i think that fits perfect with my taste and in my opinion is a very easy recipe, so i think i will try it. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Been looking for a good thai noodle dish. I am going to make this this week.