Foreign Food

Recipe for tofu (or meat) and noodle dish.

I’ll just out with it now and let you know that I am not afraid of ethnic food nor of “strange” ingredients in the kitchen. I love East Asian, Indian, Thai, and Middle Eastern foods, especially, and am moderately versed at cooking them. However, I’ll also let you know now that I am not going to highlight this peccadillo in this blog. In other words, you will never see “Moroccan Chicken Stew with Preserved Lemons,” but “Chicken Stew with Chickpeas and Pasta.” I would like to invite you to open your palette (more spices and variety equals more health), but without shocking you or scaring you away. Also, I will offer options for the less adventurous of you. You absolutely refuse to try tofu? I’m probably not going to change your mind. (I love tofu, but it wasn’t always so.)

Tonight I feel like sharing a recipe. Maybe two. No surprise, it finds its inspiration and flavoring from abroad (although it is pretty Americanized), but you didn’t hear that from me.

SPICY NOODLES IN COCONUT MILK

  1. Cook 8 ounces noodles (Chinese or Japanese style or linguini) in salted water per package directions. (See previous comments on pasta.)
  2. Meanwhile, heat a wok or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. (It is imperative that you only cook tofu in a truly non-stick pan.) Add 1 package extra firm tofu, cubed. (Of course, you could also go with chicken, pork, or steak slices, instead.) Keep an eye on it until the liquid has almost complete evaporated. Then add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and give it a toss with a wooden spoon.
  3. Cook, frequently stirring (gently), until tofu is quite brown all around. We call this “golden.” Set aside on a plate and salt lightly. (For meat, brown as you normally would and then set aside.)
  4. Add another teaspoon peanut oil to the hot pan and toss in 2 thin-sliced shallots (or equivalent onion), 2 thin-sliced cloves garlic, and 1 teaspoon fresh or jarred ginger. Stir-fry until beginning to brown.
  5. Add 1 can coconut milk, 1 tablespoon Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste (for a moderate heat; both found in the Asian section of most any grocery store), and 2 tablespoons soy sauce(tamari would work well here). Stir until paste dissolves, and then simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and toss in the noodles. Serve in large bowls, topped with the tofu or meat, minced cilantro, sliced scallions, minced jalapeno, crushed raw peanuts, and lime wedges, or any combination thereof. A simple cabbage salad would round out the meal nicely.
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