Tuesday, January 22, 2013

January Jeliciousness: Chinese Curry Noodles

Lisa writes a style blog I adore: Amid Privilege. She is a true American WASP and arbiter of good taste. Also, a very fun person to follow on Twitter. From the Bay Area she sends us her favorite easy Curry Noodles:

Lisa says: Come January we may find ourselves in need of warmth. Hot food seems like a good answer but, unfortunately, no one's figured out how to dispatch affordable cooks to all. "Ding-dong. Hello, can I help?" So whether we arrive home after work on Tuesday, or bestir ourselves from a sleepy Saturday sofa, we crave simple recipes.

And by simple, I mean foodstuffs you've got in your cupboard, and minimal chopping. Heresy, but I get so bored of cutting, and wiping food fragments from my wet fingers.

Here's a recipe I've made several times, always with happy outcome, based on Chinese Curry Noodles, from Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds. Ingredients, proportions and common sense are hers, needless chatter mine. It will not be as good if you leave anything out.

Chinese Curry Noodles

In June, flush with summer optimism, go to the Asian grocery store and buy yourself some authentic Madras curry powder. Do not fret that you're not grinding the spices yourself. It'll be OK. While you're there, pick up some whole canned water chestnuts and good quality soy sauce. Go home. Throw your purchases into your cupboard, get distracted by the summer evening, and order wild mushroom pizza instead.

Come January, one cold night, realize you've got to make dinner or eat salami with tortillas, two foodstuffs not often paired in nature. Dig through your freezer and find a pound of ground beef underneath the 6 partially-consumed containers of tropical sorbets. Check for freezer burn. No? You're OK. Paw through the frozen goods and find a bag of frozen peas. Hooray! Check for onions. Find 2 that aren't growing stalks. You're in business.

*Note: Start the Chinese Chicken Broth first. It smells good, you won't mind.


Meat and Its Friends
1 pound lean ground pork or beef
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons high heat-capable cooking oil
1.5 cups finely diced onions
2 tablespoons curry power, preferably Madras

Fragrant Sauce
Mix together:
2.25 cups of Chinese Chicken Broth (make an easy version of this by simmering 3 cups chicken broth, 3 cups water, 1/3 cup rice wine or sake with 4 slices of ginger you've crushed between your fingers. Heat to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes, while you cook the meat and stuff, should be fine.)
3.5 tablespoons soy sauce
1.5 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
0.25 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch (I use half this amount, or none, because I don't much care for the viscous texture of cornstarch)

Other Stuff
1 cup coarsely chopped canned whole water chestnuts, blanched in boiling water for 10 seconds, refreshed in cold water, and drained
1.5 cups frozen peas, thawed
3/4 pound flat noodles, cooked until just tender, rinsed under warm water, and drained (cooked brown rice works too)

To Cook

In a bowl, toss the meat with the soy sauce.
Heat a wok or a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil and heat until hot, about 20 seconds. Add the meat and cook, breaking up any lumps, until it loses its pink color. Remove with a handled strainer or a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Wipe out the wok.
Add the remaining oil and reheat the wok over high heat until hot, about 20 seconds. Add the onions and stir-fry until soft and translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the curry powder and stir-fry until fragrant, about 10 seconds. (If you want to exercise your creativity, feel free to throw in more turmeric and feel happy about the curcumin you're ingesting). Add the fragrant curry sauce, water chestnuts, and peas and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent lumps, until the sauce thickens. Add the meat and noddles and toss lightly to mix. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.
Serves 6, warmly.


angie said...

just to say i made the chicken and chorizo recipe last night and it was just superb! instant favourite. thank you!

jongleuse said...

I made the albondigas! A hit with all, even my fussy seven year old. He ate six.

Miss Whistle said...

@angie @jongleuse can't tell you how happy it makes me that people are trying the recipes and liking them. I shall tell both Sue and Marta that their recipes are loved! Thank you! xxx MsW

Anonymous said...

I just sooo needed this. I'm hungry and cold and irritable and don't want to go out, am in the mood to cook and bestofall I have everysinglething for this recipe right here in the house, just as Lisa knew I would. THANK YOU BOTH for yur perfect timing, I shall get busy now....


LPC said...

Thank you everyone:). Enjoy.

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

Yum this sounds delicious!

Sandra said...

Perfect, my husband just mentioned that it would really be nice if we had some food in the house even though I'm blogging. He will be happy.

Sandra said...

72Perfect, my husband just mentioned that it would really be nice if we had some food in the house even though I'm blogging. He will be happy.

LPC said...

BTW, for any future cookers, I made this again tonight and if you forget to thaw the peas, no worries. Just put them in a mug and pour 1/4 cup of the Chinese broth over them:). Always succor for the overworked..