Pad Thai (LID)

Pad Thai (LID) 2

I am about to go on a low iodine diet (LID) again to prepare my body for radioactive iodine and a nuclear whole body scan to check for a possible persistence/recurrence of thyroid cancer.  The thought of having to go on LID again is almost as bad as the thought of not being cancer free. I’m hoping that being better prepared for LID this time around will help it be more tolerable.

I’m really excited about this recipe. I love Pad Thai. I feel that if I can make LID versions of my favorite dishes, then being on that soul sucking diet will be a little less painful. This LID version of Pad Thai is yummy. Having this recipe in my repertoire will definitely make LID easier.

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 week (and I’m not even on LID yet). 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 (LID)

Pad Thai (LID)

8 ounces dried flat rice noodles (bahn pho) – look for one that only has rice and water as ingredients
1/4 pound chicken breast, sliced
6 tablespoons Umami Sauce (recipe here)
5 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt-free ketchup (Hunt’s and Heinz make salt-free ketchup)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 cloves garlic, minced
egg whites, equivalent to 3 eggs, lightly beaten
fresh cilantro, chopped

crushed unsalted 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 Umami Sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt-free 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 sliced chicken and cook until no longer pink. Transfer the chicken to the bowl or plate and set aside. Wipe out the wok with a paper towel.

Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil in the wok. Add the minced garlic and cook briefly, about 30 seconds. Add lightly beaten egg whites. Cook the egg whites, 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 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).

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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.


Spicy Chicken and Mustard Greens Noodle Soup

Spicy Chicken and Mustard Greens Noodle SoupI made this soup for lunch today using mustard greens from my CSA box. In the US, one might think of greens as a Southern thing, but mustard greens actually originated in Asia and are commonly found in cuisines around the world. For this soup, I had the flavors of Southeast Asia in mind. The spices compliment the bite of the mustard greens.

Spicy Chicken and Mustard Greens Noodle Soup

8 ounces flat rice noodles (I use pho bahn)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (use your favorite, I use canola)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 bunch mustard greens, washed well and chopped (about 4 – 5 cups)
8 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 – 2 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste

Soak the rice noodles in hot water for 15 minutes until they become pliable. Drain and set aside.

Using a mortar and pestle (or grind in a small food processor) pound the garlic, black peppercorns, red chile flakes, and cumin seeds together.

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the sliced chicken and cook until no longer pink. Add the garlic-spice mixture to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the mustard greens, chicken broth, and soy sauce to the pot and cook until the greens are tender, about 10 minutes. Just before serving, add the rice noodles and fish sauce (to taste) and cook for about 2 minutes more or until the rice noodles are tender.


Vietnamese Chicken and Noodle Soup with Greens

Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup with Greens

This is a very simple Vietnamese soup. It makes for a nice lunch or light dinner. You can find the rice vermicelli noodles and fish sauce in the ethnic section of some grocery stores. You can also find these ingredients at Asian markets. Check out the produce while you are at the Asian market. You can often find bok choy and other Asian vegetables at very reasonable prices.

I have made this soup dozens of times and have used all kinds of greens in it. Today I used some Swiss chard that I got in this week’s CSA box. It was another beautiful box from Pinckney’s Produce. It contained strawberries, spring onions, bok choy, Swiss chard, collard greens, buttercrunch lettuce, spring mix,  turnips, and turnip greens.

Spring 2014 CSA Box Week 2 (640x401)

Vietnamese Chicken and Noodle Soup with Greens

1 chicken breast
6 cups chicken broth
4 ounces rice vermicelli noodles
1 head of bok choy or a small bunch of Swiss chard, washed well.
3 tablespoons fish sauce (I like Three Crabs brand)
black pepper, to taste

In a large bowl, soak the rice vermicelli noodles in hot water for 15 minutes or until they are softened. Drain well in a colander. Once drained, cut the noodles into 2-inch lengths using kitchen shears.

In a soup pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and add the chicken breast. Cook, skimming off any foam that rises to the top, until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken and cool until it is easy enough to handle. Shred the chicken and add back to the broth.

Remove the stems from the bok choy or Swiss chard and save for another use. Cut the greens into shreds and add to the broth. Add the softened rice vermicelli noodles and fish sauce to the chicken broth. Heat through. Season with black pepper and ladle the soup into serving bowls.

Vietnamese Chicken and Noodle Soup with Greens (640x480)


Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

Beef Noodle Soup - medium (640x480) (640x480)

I really liked this soup. The ingredient list is kind of long, but it results in a very flavorful soup. This soup doesn’t contain sugar, gluten (unless you use soy sauce), or dairy.

I love Southeast Asian inspired foods, so I pretty much always have the ingredients in this recipe on hand. I don’t use ginger on a weekly basis, so when I do buy ginger, I peel and mince it and then freeze it in 2 tablespoon- size portions. If I happen to find fresh lemongrass (usually at Asian markets) I buy a couple of bunches and cut it up and put in freezer bags for later use. I always keep a jar of sambal oelek (easily found at Asian markets) in the pantry. I like Huy Fong Foods brand (they also make that sriracha in the bottle with a rooster on it)

Spicy Beef Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, slivered
8 ounces beef, thinly sliced (I like sirloin)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
2 cups dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in 2 cups of hot water, stems removed, and sliced (save the soaking water for the soup)
6 cups of beef broth (or more if you like a more brothy soup)
1 carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
8 ounces snow peas, ends trimmed, and sliced lengthwise (sugar snap peas would work too)
2 tablespoons fresh lemongrass, finely minced
1 tablespoon sambal oelek (a ground chili paste)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons tamari (or soy sauce, which contains wheat)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 small head bok choy, root end removed and roughly chopped (or spinach)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
rice noodles, cooked (I like rice vermicelli)
fresh cilantro

In a large Dutch oven or pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they start to soften. Add the beef and continue to sauté until the beef is no longer pink. Add the garlic, ginger, and mushrooms and sauté for 4 more minutes.

Add the beef broth, mushroom soaking liquid, carrot, snow peas, lemongrass, sambal olek, tamari, ground coriander, and black pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the chopped bok choy and simmer 10 more minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Turn off the heat and stir in the sesame oil.

Serve soup in bowls over cooked rice noodles. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.


Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup (Tom Yum Goong)

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup

This typical Thai soup is addictive.  I love the contrast of flavors and it’s adaptability.  The seasoning paste is essential to the authentic flavor of this soup.  If you have a mortar and pestle, use them to make the paste.  Otherwise, I’m sure a blender will work just fine for making the seasoning paste.

As always, I don’t follow the recipe exactly.  When I make this soup I substitute rehydrated shiitake mushrooms for the canned straw or white mushrooms the recipe calls for.  I also add a handful of rehydrated black fungus, thinly sliced.  The black fungus (also known as cloud ears) adds an unique crunch and texture to the soup.  I don’t always add the sugar or tomatoes to the recipe.  I have a hard time finding fresh galanga (a member of the ginger family), so I just add a few slices of the dried (or frozen) and fished them out of the soup (along with the lemongrass) right before serving.  Additionally, I usually skip the step of browning the shrimp shells in the oil and simmering them in the broth.  I don’t feel that step adds enough of another dimension of flavor to make it worth it.

hot and sour shrimp soup

To make this soup a more substantial meal, I serve the soup over rice noodles or pasta.

Hot and Sour Shrimp Soup (Tom Yum Goong)

2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 shallot, sliced
1 teaspoon ground chili paste
1 fresh red chili, any kind (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (reserve the shells)
5 cups homemade, unsalted or canned low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 1-inch pieces and bruised with the back of a knife
3 thin slices galanga
3 kaffir lime leaves, cut into thirds
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup canned straw mushrooms or sliced white mushrooms
2 red ripe tomatoes, cut into thin wedges
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
10 fresh Thai basil leaves
5 fresh cilantro springs, chopped

seasoning paste

Place the garlic, shallot, chili paste, chili, cilantro, and peppercorns into a mortar and pound into a paste.

seasoning paste 2

Heat the oil in a soup pot over moderate heat.  Add the shrimp shells and brown until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Add the spice mixture to the pot an stir until fragrant, about 2 seconds.  Add the chicken stock and let simmer 5 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the shells and discard. Add the lemongrass, galanga, lime leaves, fish sauce, brown sugar, mushrooms, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add the shrimp and cook until almost done, about 2 minutes. The shrimp will continue to cook in the hot broth.  Remove from heat and add the lime juice, basil, and cilantro.  Serve piping hot.

Recipe source:  The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking by Mai Pham (Prima Publishing, 1995).


Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

beef stroganoff

This is an excellent recipe.  I have made it numerous times and it is fabulous every time.  I have adjusted and experimented with this recipe in various ways.  I have made a decent vegetarian version using vegetable bouillon instead of beef and by replacing the beef with mushrooms and serving it over egg noodles.  I have also tried a meat analog (Worthington vegetable steaks) once and didn’t like that at all.  But for the most part when I cook this, I follow the recipe, except for using a less expensive cut of beef (sirloin, London broil, etc…).   To save money and extend the recipe, I add 16 ounces of sliced mushrooms around the same time I add the beef (which I use less than a pound of).  I cook double the amount of sauce and serve it all over egg noodles (with the fried potatoes on top).  Instead of cutting matchsticks, I grate the potato, squeeze out as much liquid as possible and fry in small batches until golden and crispy.  I usually do this before I cook the stroganoff.  Anyway, it’s a classic dish and one I am glad to have in my repertoire.

Beef Stroganoff

4 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup rich beef bouillon
1/4 cup sour cream
1 small yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, sliced into pieces 3″ long X 1″ wide X 1/8″ thick
salt and pepper, to taste
vegetable oil
4 russet potatoes, peeled ans sliced into 1/8″ matchsticks
2 T. chopped parsley

Melt 2 T. of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and dry mustard and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes.  Gradually add bouillon, whisking constantly until thick, about 2 minutes. Stir in sour cream, remove from heat, and set aside.

Melt remaining 2 T. butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until soften and lightly golden, about 5 minutes.  Increase heat to high, add meat and saute until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add reserved sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, pour oil into a deep medium pot to a depth of 1 1/2″, and heat over medium heat to 365 degrees on a candy thermometer.  Fry potatoes in batches until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes.  drain on paper towels; season to taste with salt while still warm.

Spoon stroganoff onto a serving platter, and cover with a mound of jumbled straw potatoes.  Garnish with parsley

Recipe source:  Saveur (Sept./Oct. 2000 issue).  They adapted the recipe from Darra Goldstein’s Taste of Russia (Russian Life Books, 3rd edition, 1999).