This IS actually what I am making right now.

I love noodles dishes, especially with an Asian flavour. One of my all-time favourite comfort dishes is Pad Thai, which uses the dried flat rice noodles (called rice sticks) and which are rehydrated before adding them to the other cooked ingredients.

On a trip to New York a few years ago, a friend and I stayed in a hotel in the Korean part of Manhattan (near Herald Square). We ate at nearby restaurants and I was introduced to Japchae, a Korean dish that uses dried noodles made from Sweet Potato starch. They are sometimes called Korean Glass noodles. Click on the link; it’s a very fun video and a great recipe.

More recently I discovered Shirataki noodles, which may be found in your grocery store’s dairy or tofu cooler. There appear to be 2 types, one made from Tofu and the other from White Yam. They look the same to me, but I prefer to use the Yam noodles just because I am not a big fan of things made of tofu. (I don’t mind tofu itself once in a while.) Also, the package proclaims them to be soy and gluten free and to have 1 gram of Carbs and NO calories. (Don’t ask me. It’s a miracle, I know!) They are great in Sunomono Salad. And tonight I am using them instead of Udon or rice noodles in Sweet and Tangy Sesame Noodles.

Noodle Package

Noodle Package

Instead of boiling the noodles, I just opened 2-8 oz. packages of Shirataki noodles, rinsed them well in cold water, drained them, and then microwaved them for 90 seconds. (For one package, nuke for a minute.) Then I rinsed and drained them again and set them aside. Other than that, I made the recipe as directed.

Rinsed and drained noodles

Rinsed and drained noodles

Sweet and Tangy Sesame Noodles (adapted from Georgia Wong and NYTimes.com)

Ingredients
For the topping:
1 medium red bell pepper, cored
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 medium cucumber, seeded
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons sesame tahini
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons chile sauce (more or less to taste)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 large slices ginger, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 scallion, minced
11 ounces dried Asian noodles, like udon
Method
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.
2. Meanwhile, make the topping: Slice bell pepper, carrot and cucumber into 1/4-inch wide, 3-inch-long slices. Place each vegetable in its own small bowl and set aside.
3. Make the sauce: In a medium bowl, mix tahini and soy sauce thoroughly. Add sugar, vinegar, chile sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and scallion, and mix thoroughly.
4. Add noodles to boiling water and cook according to package directions or until al dente. Do not overcook. Drain noodles and divide among four bowls. Serve, with each person adding his or her own sauce and topping.

If I didn’t use the Shirataki noodles, I would go with fresh, or dried and rehydrated, rice noodles rather than Udon because of the gluten (which I am trying to minimize in my diet.) But I am pretty sure that also Soba noodles or even spaghettini would be good in this.

Crazy Cantina Chili

This is for my Northern friends (yes, especially you, slow:biker) who continue to suffer through a Spring of cold and snow. I realize that the weather could be too horrible for you to go and get the ingredients now. So this is for your next snow day! My friend Marybeth made this dish when I came for lunch one day. I liked it so much that I made it for supper a few days later! The recipe is originally from a cookbook aimed at younger folk, which just adds to the fun for me. I made some adjustments/additions to the recipe, see below. So here is the recipe, which you can find also on Epicurious.

image

image

(Sorry about the size of the font. I can’t seem to adjust THAT!)

Because I am hopelessly carnivore, I first browned and drained a pound of lean beef, put it aside, then added it back just before simmering it with the rest of the ingredients. You can also use bison or other lean meat such as ground turkey. OR, if you want more substance but still to keep it vegetarian, use seitan (wheat gluten) or tempeh (made of soy; no gluten). I think that purists would say that it’s not really chili if it has meat in it. So let’s call my version Chili con Carne then!

You may also want to use low or no-added salt canned products, like the beans (drained and rinsed), tomatoes and tomato juice. I substituted low sodium V-8 for the tomato juice, because that’s what I had on hand. You can also adjust the spiciness by adding more or less cayenne. I think that this is a great dish to make in quantity, then freeze single servings for quick and healthy one-dish meals.