Friday, June 4, 2010

And now for something completely different.

Hey folks,
if you haven't noticed, I've been in a real bit of a cooking lull lately. Having a tough time coming up with stuff. So if you have any good recipes, send them my way, and I'll be glad to try them.

That said, to cure this lull, I've been trying different cuisines and flavours, and I think I might be getting.. somewhere. That brings us to this week's post: thai (sort of?) noodle bowls!

Now, this can be as complex or easy as you want it to be. I'll make sure to note what can be changed for you slackers out there. Keeners, you guys get gold stars.

As follows:
You can EITHER make a broth for this, or use a canned/dried mix. If so, it changes the flavour immensely, but is much easier and takes much shorter. Kudos to this book for the recipe, with some changes made by me for my tastes (mushrooms? we don't need no stinkin' mushrooms!)
For those of you ambitious types, you'll need:
  • 2 red chilis, chopped
  • 6 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 5 cups of veggie stock
  • 2 lemongrass stalks, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar (or palm if you have it)
  • 1/2 a lime
  • 2 green onions, chopped
All of this can be easily procured on the cheap at your local Asian market/bulk store. Mix the chilis and vinegar together in a glass or ceramic bowl and let sit for an hour. In the meantime, bring the stock to a boil, add in the lemongrass, soy sauce, sugar, and juice of the lime and simmer for half an hour.

When your chilis and vinegar are done.. doing whatever they're doing, add them in, along with the green onions. Let this simmer for about 10 minutes.

And, while I hate wasting food, strain the mix and throw out/compost the vegetables. The book also adds mushrooms and tofu and makes it a soup, but it was just. not. doing it for me. So I strained it and let it sit in my fridge for a few days for me to figure out what to do with it.

Here's what happened:

I went BACK to the Asian market and got some pho noodles (rice sticks) and cooked them to package directions (basically let them sit in hot water). These were summarily added to the broth on medium heat.

In the meanwhile, I heated the bejeesus out of my wok. Then diced 2 sprigs of asparagus, a quarter onion, a clove of garlic, and a carrot, and cooked on ridiculous heat with canola oil (more neutral, higher heat tolerance than olive) till just coloured, then moved to a bowl.

Then I grabbed a pork chop, sliced thinly, and cooked THAT on the same high heated wok to brown each side. I could very well have used tofu, chicken, or nothing at all.

When all was said and done, I mixed all of the broth, noodles, veg, and meat together, deglazed the wok with some of the broth to get some of the nice brown bits and added that in, and...

Hot damn. This was really, really tasty. Really interesting mix of flavours (the broth is for tom yum, or hot and sour, soup). Different hot and sour than most people are used to though (not the kind with egg and shrimp).

Try your various combination of veg and proteins, and let me know what you think!


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