Thursday, November 19, 2009

What Makes Sense - Curried Udon Noodles

At least cooking makes sense. At least I know that if I put coconut, ginger, lemongrass and lime together, I'll end up with something I like. I appreciate the certainty of that, when nothing else makes sense and when every other small task seems so pointless and drab, at least there's that.

When disappointment strikes it starts in physicality. I feel heavy and tired, quiet and at a loss for words. I go a bit numb and the world around me starts to blur. There's really nothing to do but sit with it for awhile, to piece through and reflect and regroup as best you can. Everyone needs their own time to deal with it, to mourn and recover, and hopefully when you emerge from that place of recovery, you come out of it with new ideas and realizations about where you're headed and what the opportunities are.

And hopefully by then you've also done several loads of laundry, cleaned the house, watched some sappy movies and worked up a couple of killer recipes.

I've only crossed two of those things off the list so far, care to guess which ones?

It irks me to no end that I can't get a decent picture now that it gets dark so early. Please forgive the photos and the insufficient lighting. Please know that, pictures aside, this is really a great dish. So satisfying and delicious. Everything I like about a Thai style soup; coconut, lime, lemongrass and ginger thrown together with crisp stir-fried vegetables and thick udon noodles. And the best part? It's meant to be slurped up out a big bowl. If you upped the amount of coconut milk and lime, it could be a soup, but I wanted it to be a saucy noodle dish. So, so good.

Curried Udon Noodles

1 tbsp peanut oil
12 ounces fresh udon noodles (or 2 single serving packages)
1/2 package extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
2 baby bok choy, ends trimmed off and discarded, cut lengthwise into ribbons
1/2 cup snow peas
1/3 cup frozen shelled edamame
1/3 cup fresh mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms) coarsely chopped
4 green onions, chopped diagonally

For the Curry Sauce -
1 cup coconut milk
3 stalks lemongrass
2 tbsp fish sauce
3 limes
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp curry powder
salt to taste

Trim the stalks of the lemongrass and bruise to release the oils. Remove the outer stalks from the inner core. Mince the core and set aside (should provide about 1 tsp). Cut the stalks in half and place in a saucepan with the fish sauce, juice of 2 limes and the lime rinds. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk, curry, minced lemongrass core, and sugar. Continue to cook while stirring until the mixture is yellow. Remove from heat and salt to taste, set aside.

Heat the peanut oil in a saute pan over medium heat, and bring a pot of water to boil. Add the tofu and stir fry until slightly browned. Add the carrots and mushrooms, stir for a minute more. Next, add bell pepper, edamame and snow peas. Saute until the vegetables are tender and then add bok choy and green onions. Turn off the heat and stir until the bok choy is wilted.

While stir-frying vegetable, cook the udon noodles for about 3 minutes (or according to package directions). Toss noodles in a large bowl with the vegetables, tofu and curried coconut sauce. Salt to taste and serve while warm.

No comments:

Post a Comment