Category Archives: Noodles

Pasta, rice noodles, egg noodles, wheat noodles

Ginger Scallion Noodles

When I think of Chinese food, I think of the quintessential flavours of ginger, scallions (spring onions) and soy sauce. They’re really the building blocks of so many Chinese dishes. These ginger scallion noodles are no exception.

Last night, I was experiencing a bad case of the midnight munchies. Ordinarily when I’m back home somewhere in Asia, all I have to do is walk to a nearby hawker centre and I have my pick of fried noodles, Indian roti prata, or fish congee, and I have great food anytime of the night.

Killer Sauce

Seeing as I have no such option here in Melbourne, it was up to me to do something about my hunger pangs. Not one to ignore to calls of my stomach, I remembered this post I read on userealbutter. Ginger scallion noodles – the perfect late-night supper slash snack.

The only change I made to the original recipe was using sesame oil instead of vegetable oil for the killer sauce. Sesame oil is my favourite Chinese ingredient. It came together really easily, and was so darn satisfying.

p.s. please excuse the stodgy photos – it was 2am, people!

Ginger Scallion Noodles
Momofuku by David Chang

the sauce

2 1/2 cups scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled and minced fine
1/4 cup vegetable oil (i used sesame oil)
1 1/2 tsps light soy sauce
3/4 tsp sherry vinegar
3/4 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste

Mix together in a bowl and let sit for 20 minutes.

the rest

12 oz ramen noodles
2 tbsps vegetable oil
3 cups cabbage, shredded
2 cups sprouts
2 stalks green onions, sliced thin on the diagonal
1 cup bamboo shoots
hoisin sauce (optional)

While the sauce is sitting, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles. When the noodles are ready, drain them. Dry the pot and pour in the vegetable oil. Heat on high flame and add the green onions when the oil is hot. Stir the green onions for 15 seconds then add the cabbage. Stir-fry the cabbage until it begins to wilt then add the sprouts. When the sprouts begin to wilt, toss in the bamboo shoots and stir-fry for another minute then remove from heat. Place the noodles and the sauce in a large bowl together and toss to coat the noodles evenly. Top or toss in the stir-fried vegetables and top with hoisin sauce.

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Anchovy and Arugula Pasta with Toasted Breadcrumbs

This has got to be the pasta dish that I’ve made the most in my entire life. I can’t even remember where I got the original recipe from because I probably saw it on tv 7 or 8 years ago. I don’t have any qualms about eating anchovies straight up but there are those weird few who don’t like them. To those, I say this dish must be tried. The anchovies ‘melt’ on contact with the hot pan and become this delicious ‘sauce’ that enrobes the pasta. Magnificent.

Typically, I top this with shaved Parmesan or Pecorino. But last night when I made this, my cheese was missing. I can honestly say I have no idea where it went! I combed through the fridge but alas! So what do you do when life hands you a cheese-less refrigerator?

Breadcrumbs.

Let me walk you through the process: First thing you want to do is toast the breadcrumbs. I didn’t use fresh breadcrumbs and frankly, there’s nothing wrong with the store-bought stuff. In a hot pan, add a little oil, then the breadcrumbs. Stir them. Once they’re toasty, remove them to a plate.

Now cook your pasta. Use the long stuff – it’s better for this dish. While that’s happening, in the same pan used to toast the breadcrumbs, fry sliced garlic in olive oil (I don’t recommend chopping your garlic to death – you want slices so you taste it separately in the final dish). Add 3-4 fillets of anchovies (per person) and watch them dissolve. Now add a pinch of dried chilli/red pepper flakes. Stir.

Test your pasta for doneness (al dente, please). With the heat off the anchovy pan, add the pasta, arugula, a squeeze of lemon and black pepper. No salt – anchovies are salty enough. Toss well. Serve sprinkled with the breadcrumbs.

Forkful of Garlicky-Anchovy Goodness

I’d heard somewhere that in poorer parts of Italy, families could not afford Parmeggiano so the resourceful women would use toasted breadcrumbs instead. That said, there’s nothing ‘poor’ about this dish. Breadcrumbs are great with pasta and don’t necessarily have to be a substitute for cheese. I loved that the breadcrumbs added a nice crunch. This is good enough to eat cold and makes great leftovers.

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Minced Pork With Noodles

This is one of those staple meals that I make all the time. Minced pork is so flavourful and is really great on noodles for a quick, no-fuss dinner. Any kind of noodles will suffice, just not pasta. Please.

As usual, I didn’t cook with a recipe. I just portioned some minced (ground) pork, soaked some rice vermicelli noodles (mi fen) in hot water till they tasted cooked, then chopped 2 cloves of garlic, 1 scallion and 1 red bird’s eye chilli.

I started by frying the garlic, chilli and scallions with a little oil in a very hot pan. Before the garlic starts to brown, throw in the pork. Fry, fry, fry, breaking up the large bits. When the pork browns, add a splash of Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and pepper. When the liquid has evaporated, it’s ready. Then just dish onto cooked noodles and drizzle with a little sesame oil. The whole process takes about 5 minutes.

Toss, toss, toss

Depending on what I feel like, I switch up the flavours. Sometimes I go Japanese and add mirin and Japanese soy sauce, instead of the Chinese cooking wine and Chinese soy sauce. Or if I feel like Thai, I add fish sauce and a little sugar. Really, use what you have. It’s not rocket science.

I loved that the smaller bits of pork were crispier. Oh, and the chilli is optional, of course. I just can’t do without chilli in my food. It’s incredible flavour, not just heat. You could also serve this on rice and it would taste equally yummy.

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Carbonara For One

Today was one of those Mondays where I get home from work and I’m tired and hungry. My lunch was a measly PB&J. Obviously, cooking a quick dinner was pretty much all I could fathom. And, with a bare fridge, the answer to my prayers was Pasta Carbonara. I used speck, but you really could use any cured/smoked meat, such as bacon, chorizo, cinghiale, prosciutto…

You really don’t need many ingredients and this comes together in less than 10 minutes. Cooking for one is nice once in a while, especially when you’ve got a warm plate of Carbonara at the end of a long day. Nothing could be more satisfying.

On a side note: this is probably unorthodox, but I sprinkled a few drops of Tabasco on the finished pasta, because even though I added chilli flakes in the cooking process, I really like the tangy heat from the Tabasco, which cuts through the richness of the pasta.

Pasta Carbonara

serves 1

Linguine (or any long pasta of choice)

Speck (or any cured/smoked meat), chopped

1 or 2 cloves garlic, sliced

1 egg, lightly beaten

Parmesan or other hard cheese, grated

Pepper

Chilli flakes (optional)

  1. Cook your pasta in salted, boiling water. Al dente, please.
  2. In pan on medium heat, fry the meat till slightly golden (1-2 minutes), then add garlic. If using chilli flakes, stir them in now.
  3. If you’ve timed this right, the pasta will just be cooked and be ready for the meat in the pan. Remove everything from heat.
  4. Transfer pasta straight into pan. Immediately pour in egg, cheese and a little of the pasta water.
  5. Stir, stir, stir, adding a little more pasta water if it starts looking dry. Season with pepper.
  6. Dish up immediately and enjoy!

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Cold Pad Thai or Cold Tamarind Noodles

The residual heat of summer is still lingering here in Melbourne. Not that I’m languishing in the heat but today, the mercury hit 32ºC (90ºF) so I could only fathom having cold food. Considering last night’s dinner was ice cream, I opted for cold noodles.

Cold Pad Thai sounds very unglamorous. I should say this isn’t really Pad Thai. Since, “pad” means “fried”, I think it’s more appropriate to call this cold tamarind noodles. I made Pad Thai a few nights ago and had some sauce left over. It’s really just tamarind pulp, fish sauce and sugar.

Bean Sprouts, Cucumber and Cilantro

Here’s what else I used: rice noodles, lots of cilantro (coriander), bean sprouts and cucumber. I also topped the noodles with sliced of fried firm tofu, toasted peanuts and Thai dried chilli flakes. Did I mention there isn’t a drop of oil in this dish? Oh, and it’s vegetarian. Shoot, if I didn’t know better, I’d think I was being health conscious.

Not.

This is good enough to make again, and not just as a by-product of leftover Pad Thai sauce. It wasn’t a stroke of culinary genius but it was an adequate amount of deliciousness for me.

Now if only I had a green velvet cupcake for St. Patty’s Day.

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Pad Thai

I’ve waxed lyrical about my love for Thai food. Being with a Thai guy certainly aids the process. I love Pad Thai. It’s ubiquitously Thai. Ever since I learned to make it a few years ago, I’ve never ordered it outside and have never looked back.

Pad means fried in Thai. Like any other fried noodle dish, Pad Thai’s cooking process is easy. It took me less than 5 minutes to fry one portion. The trick to this, and other fried noodles, is that all your ingredients are at the ready. Start with a hot wok and the stars align and everything falls into place.

I stress, do not attempt to fry more than 2 portions at one time. Overcrowding the wok/fry pan is a no-no and will bring you down the path of stewed noodles. Yuck. You want to maintain the high heat and keep everything moving.

Oh, and please, no tomato ketchup in the Pad Thai sauce. I’ve also seen recipes with soy sauce. People, nam plaa (fish sauce) only. You won’t regret it. Trust.

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Cold Shrimp Noodles

Hot food is hard to photograph. It’s even harder when the photographer is impatient and hungry. For me, it’s not imperative that my food be steaming hot but that’s the great thing about cold food – you don’t have to rush to take a good photograph. It happily waits for you to be done with your silly business.

Food photography screams for natural lighting though, so I took these pictures as the sun was escaping.

These cold noodles required little stove use. I poached the shrimp in the same pot I used to cook the noodles. I used mi fen (rice stick noodles) for this but you could easily extend this recipe to other kinds of noodles. In similar recipes I’ve seen, pasta is used. I wouldn’t recommend that because it wouldn’t taste quite right, sort of like using wonton wrappers for ravioli.

The sauce for the noodles is a Chinese one. I use the term “Chinese” loosely because I used Chinese ingredients like Chinese soy sauce, not Japanese shoyu. The vegetables, however, are easily interchangeable, as is the protein. Swap the shrimp with chicken or tofu if it so pleases you. The amount of noodles and vegetables is up to you. I don’t measure. I’m going to attempt to write a recipe now. I welcome feedback with open arms.

Cold Shrimp Noodles

Serves 1

Sauce:

1 tsp chilli-garlic paste, or any other chilli sauce, such as Sriracha

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

Noodles:

Handful of mi fen (rice stick noodles or other), soaked in cold water to soften

4-5 large shrimp, unpeeled

1 stalk spring onion (green onion/scallion)

cucumber slices

red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)

sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

  1. Combine ingredients for sauce. Set aside.
  2. Cook softened noodles in boiling water till al dente, 2-3 minutes. Remove noodles and place in serving bowl.
  3. In the same water used to cook noodles, cook shrimp, 2-3 minutes. Drain and peel.
  4. Place all ingredients in serving bowl and toss with sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and dish up.

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