Asian-inspired noodle dishes to warm up this winter

Asian-inspired noodle dishes to warm up this winter

To make noodle sauce: Combine soy sauce, honey and sesame oil and stir well.

Fill a deep pan with water and bring to a boil. Stir in the noodles, bring to a boil and cook without a lid, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Drain, add noodles to the sauce and turn to coating.

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add carrot and onion and sauté until barely tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in steak and marinade and cook until tender, 6 minutes or so. Stir in the spinach and noodles, and cook until the spinach just starts to wither, a minute or so. Serve immediately with kimchi next to it.

Note: There are tools to make this task much easier. You can, of course, use a mandolin, but seek out a julienne peeler, of which there are many variations. I like it from Kuhn Rikon.

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Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup from the Peranakan culture, a fusion of Chinese and Malaysian peoples in Malaysia and Singapore. It is made with a nut-based coconut curry paste. This pasta is gold! Make a large portion and keep it at hand, frozen. The spice paste can be made in advance and cooled for four days or frozen for four months and has many delicious uses. I have used zucchini and roasted butternut squash here, but use the vegetables you like.

Shrimp and noodle soup with Laksa

Make 4 to 6 servings

3 cups degreased chicken stock with low salt content

1 pound large (16-20 size) shrimp, peeled and weaned and shells reserved

1 tablespoon soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine or sake

3½ dl coconut milk, stirred well

1 cup salmon pasta (recipe follows), or to taste

2 tablespoons peanut oil or other vegetable oil

1 small zucchini, cut into long julienne

4 ounces thin rice vermicelli noodles soaked in hot water for 20 minutes

Fresh lime juice to taste

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish: Coriander leaves and green onions cut into slices

Bring the broth to a boil, add the reserved shrimp shells and simmer for 5 minutes, covered. Sift, discard the shells and set the broth aside. Halve the prawns lengthwise. Stir soy sauce and rice wine together, and flip with shrimp so they are lightly covered. Set aside to marinate for a few minutes.

Heat broth and coconut milk in a deep pan and whisk in the salmon pasta. Add oil to a wok or large frying pan and heat over high heat. Add shrimp and fry, in portions, if necessary, until barely cooked through, approx. 2 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add zucchini and noodles to hot bowls. Top with shrimp. Taste the broth mixture and adjust with lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Pour hot broth over noodles and serve immediately, garnished with coriander leaves and green onions.

Laksa Paste

Make about 1 cup or more

2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce (or to taste – see note below)

⅓ cup chopped onion

⅓ cup chopped and roasted macadamia nuts or blanched almonds

¼ cup peeled and finely chopped ginger

2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed

1 teaspoon shrimp paste or 2 tablespoons fish sauce (or to taste)

Juice and peel from 2 limes

2 teaspoons sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

½ cup or so of coconut milk

Add all ingredients except coconut milk to a blender and run for a minute or two or until very smooth. Add the mixture to a small saucepan and cook over moderate heat for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. It must be very fragrant. Stir in coconut milk and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 3 months.

Note: Chili garlic sauce is available in Asian markets and the Asian part of some supermarkets. Lee Kum Kee from Hong Kong is a widespread brand.

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Any cooked protein can replace the chicken here.

Chiang Mai Chicken Noodles

Serves 4 servings

For the noodles:

1 tablespoon peanut oil

1 medium onion, peeled, halved and sliced; or 6 shallots, cut crosswise into thin slices

4 medium-sized cloves of garlic, cut into thin slices

1 teaspoon crushed turmeric

2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste

14 ounces (1 can) well stirred coconut milk

1 cup chicken stock

2½ cups boiled chicken, cut into large cubes

1 teaspoon light brown sugar, or to taste

2 teaspoons fish sauce, or to taste

Juice of 1 lime, or to taste

12 ounces of dried Chinese wheat noodles

For decoration:

2 pointed bowls, white and light green parts, cut on the diagonal

1 small red chili pepper, stalked, seeded and cut into very thin strips

2 tablespoons chopped coriander

Lime boats

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until the oil shines. Add onions or shallots and fry for about 6 minutes until golden.

Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes while stirring, then add turmeric and curry paste. Cook for 1 minute, stirring, until the spices smell, then stir in the coconut milk and broth. When the mixture begins to bubble at the edges, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes.

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