Shrimp Laksa

Shrimp Laksa

Laksa is a spicy noodle soup that is popular in Singapore and Malaysia.  There are a gabillion different variations of it.  Some have a curry-coconut broth while others have a sour fish broth or tamarind-based broth.  Laksa can be made with seafood, chicken, beef, and/or tofu. This particular Laksa recipe is one I came up with after scanning about 20 other Laksa recipes online.  It’s not all that authentic, but it is quick, tasty, easy to prepare, and the ingredients can be found in most American grocery stores.

Shrimp Laksa

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced (or about 1 tablespoon of ginger paste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon (or to taste) sambal olek (sriracha can be substituted)
4 cups broth (vegetable, chicken, shrimp, etc…)
1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 package rice vermicelli, cooked according to package directions
fish sauce, to taste
fresh cilantro
fresh lime wedges
chopped fresh chiles (optional)

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat and sauté the onion softened.  Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute.  Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sambal olek (or sriracha).  Add the broth and bring to a boil.
As soon as the soup comes to a boil, reduce the heat and add the shrimp and coconut milk.  Let cook until shrimp is pink and cooked through, about 3 – 4 minutes.  Season to taste with the fish sauce, about 1 tablespoon.

Divide the cooked rice noodles in bowls and ladle the soup over the noodles.  Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with lime wedges and chiles (optional).


Fire Noodles with Shrimp

Fire Noodles with Shrimp

Did you know you can cook cucumbers? You can! They are especially great in stir-fries. In this particular spicy noodle dish, the addition of shredded cucumber helps cool the heat from the Red-Hot Chile Oil Dressing.

The Red-Hot Chile Oil Dressing is the key to this recipe. It’s essential. Make it first.

Prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking. This dish comes together very quickly.

Fire Noodles with Shrimp

Red-Hot Chile Oil Dressing (recipe follows)
4 ounces rice vermicelli
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cucumbers, peeled and seeded (or use 4 – 5 pickling cucumbers)
3 carrots, peeled
handful of black fungus (found in Asian markets)

Soak the rice vermicelli in a large bowl with enough hot water to cover for about 15 minutes or until they soften. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Soak the black fungus in a bowl with enough hot water to cover for about 15 minutes or until they are soft. Drain and slice very thinly. Set aside.

Shred the cucumbers. The food processor fitted with the shredding attachment is the quickest way to do it. Squeeze the liquid out of the shredded cucumbers. I place the shredded cucumbers in a clean dishtowel, gather all the edges, and squeeze out the liquid.

Shred the carrots.

Heat 1/4 cup of the Red-Hot Chile Oil Dressing in a wok over high heat. Add the drained rice vermicelli noodles and stir-fry until softened, about 3 minutes. Move the noodles to the side of the wok. Add 2 more tablespoons of the Red-Hot Chile Oil Dressing and add the shrimp. Stir-fry the shrimp until no longer pink, 2 – 3 minutes, and then mix into the noodles. Add the cucumbers, carrots, and black fungus and stir-fry until well-combined and heated through.

Serve the noodles with extra Red-Hot Chile Oil Dressing for drizzling.

Red-Hot Chile Oil Dressing

I got this recipe from Nina Simonds’ Asian Noodles: Delicious Simple Dishes to Twirl, Slurp, and Savor (Hearst Books, 1997), one of my all time favorite cookbook. This dressing is hot and downright addicting! I like to use it in stir fries and to dress Asian-style noodle dishes.

I get the super-hot crushed red pepper from Penzey’s. I like it hot.

1/4 cup safflower or corn oil (I use canola)
2 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper or 4 to 6 small dried hot chile peppers, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch rings
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
7 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or sake
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Combine both oils in a heavy saucepan and heat over high heat until almost smoking hot. Add the red pepper, cover, and remove from the heat. Let sit until cool, about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerated, in a covered container, the dressing will keep for a week. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.


Kale and Mushroom Soba Noodle Bowl

Kale and Mushroom Soba Noodle Bowl

Noodle bowls are really popular right now. Do a search on Pinterest and a gabillion entries pop up. Even Panera Bread has jumped on the noodle bowl bandwagon.  Soba noodles are made with buckwheat and are a nice change from rice or wheat noodles. Feel free to experiment with the veggies you use in your soba noodle bowls. I think shredded cabbage would be a nice addition to this particular recipe. A soft boiled egg would be good too.

Have all your ingredients prepped before you start cooking. Once you start, this dish comes together quickly.

Kale and Mushroom Soba Noodle Bowl

8 ounces soba noodles
2 tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
4 cups kale, washed, stems removed, and chopped
8 ounces mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sriracha (optional)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
sesame seeds

Cook the soba noodles according to the directions on the package or until done to the preferred tenderness. Drain.

Combine the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, sriracha, and sesame oil. Set the sauce aside.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wok (or large skillet) over high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir fry for a few seconds. Add the kale, mushrooms, carrot, and zucchini and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the drained noodles and the sauce and mix well. Cook until heated through and the noodles have had time to soak up the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.


Singapore Noodles

Singapore Noodles

While I was in Texas a couple of weeks ago, I caught up with a dear friend one night and we had dinner at P.F. Chang’s in Arlington. I ordered the Singapore Street Noodles. It was a somewhat simple noodle dish and I knew right away I could re-create it. I think I hit the nail on the head. There are minor differences. P.F. Chang’s uses red cabbage in their Singapore Street Noodles, but I just used green cabbage since it was what I had. Napa or Savory cabbage would be really good too. Their dish contained halved grape tomatoes, but I left them out. I also left out the  green onions. Like most Asian dishes you cook in a wok, you want to have your ingredients prepared and ready to go. Once you start cooking, it comes together fast.

I’m partial to Sun Brand Madras Curry Powder. I used to be able to buy it locally when we lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia, but since moving to South Carolina I have not been able to find it. I ended up ordering it from Amazon.com. Here’s what that container looks like:

Sun Brand Madra Curry Powder

Singapore Noodles

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined, and roughly chopped
1 chicken breast, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 bell pepper, cored and sliced (use any color bell pepper you like)
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/4 large head red or green cabbage (or your favorite type of cabbage), cored and thinly sliced
1  1/2 – 2 tablespoons Madras curry powder (to taste)

lime wedges, for serving

Soak the rice noodles in very hot water until they are softened, about 15 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside until ready to use.

Meanwhile, combine the water, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar. Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, turning the wok to make sure the oil coats the bottom. Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. Transfer to a clean bowl or plate. Wipe out the wok (It doesn’t have to be super clean, I just quickly wipe the wok out using a paper towel) Heat another 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok and then add the sliced chicken and cook until no longer pink. Transfer the chicken to the bowl or plate with the shrimp. Again, wipe out the wok.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the wok. add the garlic and cook briefly, a few seconds, before adding the onion, bell pepper, carrot, and cabbage. Stir-fry the vegetables until just tender, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved sauce and the Madras curry powder to the wok. Add the softened rice noodles and cooked shrimp and chicken, gently tossing them with the sauce and vegetables.  Cook, stirring often, until the noodles absorb the sauce, about 3 – 5 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.


Pad Thai II

Pad Thai II

I love Pad Thai. When I go to a new (to me) Thai restaurant, I will usually order Pad Thai. It’s kind of a boring order, but I feel that if a restaurant can do Pad Thai well, then other dishes will be good too. We actually don’t go out to eat very often, so when I’m craving Pad Thai, I usually make it myself. This has been my go-to Pad Thai recipe for years. It’s fine, but it just doesn’t taste like any Pad Thai I get at a restaurant. I can do better. I have decided that I am going to master Pad Thai this summer. A girl has got to have goals. : )

I adapted/simplified this version from a recipe for Thai Noodles in Victor Sodsook’s True Thai. It’s good, a little on the sweet side, but good. So good that I have made it twice this month. The ingredients are fairly easy to find, although I’m not sure how authentic of an ingredient ketchup is. Once the ingredients for this dish are prepared and assembled, it comes together quickly.

Pad Thai II

8 ounces dried flat rice noodles (bahn pho)
1/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 pound chicken breast, sliced
5 tablespoons fish sauce
6 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, lightly beaten
fresh cilantro, chopped

crushed peanuts
chile pepper flakes
fresh bean sprouts
fresh cilantro, chopped
lime wedges

Soak the rice noodles in very hot water until they are soft, about 15 minutes. When they are ready, drain in a colander and set aside until ready for use.

Meanwhile, combine the fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, ketchup, and chili powder (if using). Stir the mixture until the sugar is dissolved.

Have all the ingredient ready and within reach. This dish comes together quickly once the cooking begins.

Heat a wok over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, turning the wok to make sure the oil coats the bottom. Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink. Transfer to a clean bowl or plate. Wipe out the wok (It doesn’t have to be super clean, I just quickly wipe the wok out using a paper towel) Heat another 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok and then add the sliced chicken and cook until no longer pink. Transfer the chicken to the bowl or plate with the shrimp. Again, wipe out the wok.

Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the wok. Add the minced garlic and cook briefly, about 30 seconds. Add lightly beaten eggs. Cook the eggs, stirring to scramble them, until they are set. Pour the prepared sauce mixture into the wok. Add the reserved softened noodles, tossing gently in the sauce. Cook until the noodles are tender and have absorbed the sauce, about 3 – 5 minutes. Add the reserved cooked chicken and shrimp and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve. Have the crushed peanuts, chile pepper flakes, bean sprouts, additional chopped cilantro, and lime wedges on the table so everyone can add their desired condiments.

Adapted from True Thai by Victor Sodsook (William Morrow and Company, 1995).

 


Stir-Fried Rice Vermicelli with Bok Choy and Tatsoi

Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Tatsoi with Rice Vermicelli (640x455)

I was super happy to pick up my first Pinckney’s Produce CSA box of the season last Thursday. The first week’s box contained: bok choy, tatsoi, strawberries, spring lettuce mix, spring onions, Swiss chard, and mustard greens (which I swapped out for another head of bok choy).

Spring 2014 CSA Box #1

We ate through our CSA box quickly. My boys ate the strawberries. I sautéed the Swiss chard with one of the spring onions for a side dish one night. I made several salads with the spring mix. I prepared Stir-Fried Bok Choy and Broccoli with Chicken with some of my bok choy, and then used the remaining head for this noodle dish. Can’t wait to get our next box on Thursday.

Stir-Fried Rice Vermicelli with Bok Choy and Tatsoi

8 ounce rice vermicelli (about 1/2 a package)

3 tablespoons soy sauce (use tamari for a gluten-free option)
2 tablespoons Chinese rice (cooking) wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sambal olek or sriracha (optional)
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, slivered
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
2 carrots, peeled, cut into thirds, and julienned
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 large head bok choy, chopped
1 small bunch tatsoi, chopped

crushed peanuts

Prepare the ingredients before starting to cook. Once everything is ready, this stir-fry comes together fairly quickly.

Soak the rice vermicelli in a large bowl with enough hot water to cover for about 15 minutes or until they soften. Drain in a colander and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, Chinese rice wine, sesame oil, sugar, water, sambal olek (or sriracha), and cornstarch. Set sauce aside.

Heat a wok (or large sauté pan) over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and then add the onions. Stir-fry until the onions start to soften. Add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the carrots and mushrooms and continue to stir-fry until the mushrooms start to release some of their liquid. Next, add the bok choy and tatsoi and cook another minute. Add the softened and drained rice noodles and the reserved sauce. Stir-fry until everything is heated through and the noodles have absorbed the sauce. This may take up to two or three minutes. Serve the noodles hot or at room temperature with a sprinkling of crushed peanuts on top.

 

 


Rice Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

Rice Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables (640x451)

I’m a sucker for Asian noodle dishes. This one is spectacular. So good. I generally have a variety of Asian rice noodles in my pantry because I  always go a little crazy with the noodles when I go to the Asian market. For this particular dish, I used a broader, flat rice noodle. If you have an easier time finding a thin rice noodle (like vermicelli or a pho noodle) go ahead and use that. You could use beef, pork, shrimp, or fried tofu instead of chicken in this dish. I’ve made these noodles with beef and they were awesome.

Rice Noodles with Chicken and Vegetables

Marinade:
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. minced garlic

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), thinly sliced

2 T. canola oil

1 large onion, halved, and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored and sliced
1 head broccoli, cut into florets
2 carrots, peeled and cut into sticks

1 T. minced garlic

5 – 10 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated, stems removed, and thinly sliced

Tossing Sauce:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese rice wine or sake (Chinese cooking wine works too)
3 T. fish sauce
3 T. sugar

6 ounces flat rice noodles (chantaboon), cooked in boiling water until just tender, rinsed, and drained

To serve:
chopped fresh cilantro (Thai basil would also be very good)
chopped dry roasted peanuts

Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken and toss to coat.

Heat a wok or heavy skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until very hot. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink. Remove the chicken to a bowl and wipe out the wok.

Reheat the wok over high heat and then add the last remaining tablespoon of oil. Add the onions, bell pepper, broccoli, and carrots and stir-fry until the veggies are tender, but still crisp (about 5 minutes). Add the minced garlic and shiitake mushrooms and stir-fry another minute. Add the reserved chicken, cooked and drained rice noodles, and tossing sauce. Lightly toss the mixture until the noodles absorb the sauce. Transfer the noodles to a platter, sprinkle with chopped cilantro (and/or Thai basil) and chopped peanuts and serve.