Friday, February 12, 2010
I make no claims to knowing how to cook Asian food, whether Chinese, Japanese or Thai. My knowledge of those cuisines is rudimentary at best. I love garlic chicken from Thai restaurants but most American style Chinese food leaves me cold. I don't eat seafood and I don't like heavy, sweet, cornstarch based sauces. That being said, I do love noodles. And there are a ton of good noodle dishes in Asian cuisine. I'm partial to vegetable yaki soba but having absolutely no idea what's in it and if it's even an authentic dish, I decided to make a noodle dish inspired by but actually nothing like it.
I bring you Amerasian-ish Noodles...
If you have soba noodles on hand- yay for you but I like whole wheat capellini. I have a thing for capellini. And you'll need sriracha for the sauce but the chili garlic sauce is optional.
I like a high ratio of veggies to pasta, roughly 50/50. What's wonderful about this meal is it's open to adaption. Use whatever you like. In the spring, I love this with tons of garlic scapes. I've used bok choy in place of the cabbage...it's wonderfully open to interpretation. This time I used one bunch of chopped broccolini, 4 or 5 carrots sliced on the bias, a couple of handfuls of snow peas, a sliced red pepper, 3 sliced stalks of celery, a small head of thinly sliced savoy cabbage and a tablespoon or so of chopped fresh ginger.
The sauce for the noodles is a half cup of soy sauce, a quarter cup of dark brown sugar, a tablespoon sriracha, a tablespoon garlic chili sauce, some red pepper flakes and about a tablespoon of sesame oil. If you're not a fan of heat, you may want to start out with smaller amounts of the sriracha and the chili sauce. Stir together and set aside.
Heat a large saute pan and add a tablespoon or so of olive oil. When it's good and hot add the ginger and saute for a minute or two. I added the broccolini and carrots first because they take the most time. I pop a lid on them for a minute or so to help them cook faster.
Once they give a little but are still crisp, I add the celery and red pepper. Give those a minute or two and then add the snow peas. Season everything with salt. The pasta cooks in no time and as soon as the pasta is done I drain it and spread the shredded cabbage in the pot. I toss the hot pasta right on top of it and let it sit for a minute to wilt slightly. I top the pasta with the vegetables and then I pour on my sauce. Toss it all together and check for seasonings. Maybe it needs a little more soy sauce, maybe a drizzle of sesame oil. It's delicious topped with a thinly sliced bunch of scallions but I didn't have any so I did without. It was still delicious.
It does seem like we eat a lot of pasta, doesn't it? I used to be a vegetarian and I never feel right or want to eat meat every day. Not to mention, if I was eating meat every day, it would be expensive and I would feel guilty if I wasn't eating hormone/antibiotic free...So we eat pasta but I try to only make whole grain pasta and I balance it with tons of vegetables. It works for us and even my Vermont raised, game eating partner doesn't mind.