#ThrowTogetherTuesdays 1: How to make a good plate of noodles
So I promised #ThrowTogetherTuesdays and it’s Tuesday! I’m excited. In this column, I hope to show you some easy principles to getting food on the table with as little stress as possible.
Call this a tutorial, a how-to, some extra ideas for your already creative meal plans, or just an amusing read. By the end, I hope you can leave with something ☺.
All of these posts will have no recipes, just a few tips, thoughts, and tricks. Some may have a suggested quantity guide, so you’re not shooting in the dark. But I’m probably not going to tell you how much salad to make. Ya feel me?
Today, I’d like to tackle noodles. I hesitate to call them a particular type. Let’s just say it’s my take on Asian.
To my mind a good plate of steaming noodles has 3 components:
- Cooked noodles. Duh! I mention it specifically because there are so many kinds and cooking methods vary. Some need soaking in boiling water. Some need cooking on the stove for a few minutes. And some need direct dropping-and-cooking-in-sauce (in soup-like consistency). Choose the kind you like and follow package instructions. For my noodles, I like to choose the thinnest variant. Because it cooks faster and the sauce clings to it better. You could use brown rice noodles if there are gluten concerns. I used egg noodles. They are surprisingly high in protein. Though they are carb heavy and refined, they are not the worst thing in the food world. Add lots of veggies and extra protein and it’s pretty darn virtuous.
- A selection of veggies. (I use this opportunity to throw in something that has extra protein in too. My go to? Shelled edamame, which I get in the frozen aisle of my grocery store.) I often chop my own veggies but when I’m on an extra tight schedule, I pick up bags of coleslaw mix. My fave tip for quick veggies for stir fries. There are so many interesting variants now. That with sliced mushrooms and some shelled edamame should do great. You also need the aromatics – ginger and garlic. Ginger, garlic (and sometimes chilies) form the basis of all Asian sautees.
- A good sauce. Here’s where you can have some fun. My favourite part. A basic sauce is 1 part each rice vinegar and honey (you’re balancing the sweet and the sour), 1 part heat (think sriracha, chilli-garlic sauce or alternative; I used sambal oelek). 2 parts hoisin sauce. 3 parts soy sauce variant of your choice (I used tamari). And finish with a splash of sesame oil. So that’s 1:1:1:2:3:splash. You need a generous amount of sauce. For about a 400 gram pack of noodles with an equal amount of veggies, you’ll need about ¾ to 1 cup of sauce. That should make about 6 servings.
- Boil noodles, drain and set aside. If you have a kettle, use it to boil your water. It’s quicker.
- Assemble your sauce ingredients.
- Now start sautéing your aromatics in hot oil. Lower the heat once the ginger and garlic hit the pan. They burn easy.
- Then add veggies in order of time they takes to cook. So carrot/mushrooms go first. Then frozen veggies like peas or corn if you’re using them. Green beans need only a couple of minutes. Ditto for edamame. The whole thing should take you less than 5 minutes so keep your noodles ready.
- Now add the sauce and let it come to a boil. Another minute on high heat.
- Then add the boiled noodles, pulling them apart to separate as you go.
- Toss it all together and remember to plate with a topping of veggies because they don’t always evenly distribute through the noodles unless you’re a master tosser (hyuk hyuk).
There are quite a few spins you can put on this once you feel comfortable with the basics.
- Add more protein. You could add tofu or shrimp or chicken. In which case you pan-fry them first in a little oil, remove and start with the ginger and garlic in the same pan.
- Change up the sauce. Here is a Thai direction: Add some Thai curry paste at the ginger/garlic stage. Let it all fry together. To the sauce add peanut butter, coconut milk, soy (or fish oil) and a bit of lime. 1:2:3:splash (1 part curry paste – store bought – at the start).
- Change up the veggies – sprouts are a great idea stirred in at the end too.
- Add toppings – sesame, chopped peanuts, lemon wedges, a fried egg. Endless!
Et voila. The more you do this, the more inspirations strikes!
Next week, lets talk marinades! They will change your life. I promise. Come back?
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