Easy Curried Noodles, Fresh Green Herbs
January always seems to be a month of imagination, an illusion that at the precise moment the holiday festivities have passed that there will be enough free time to fill an ocean. A phrase evolved as common as a holiday greeting, everyone seems to be looking towards ‘catching- up’ after the holidays. Many of us say it, with full intent and sincerity.
With one day left in January, I’ve yet to take Aunt Betty out to lunch at our favorite cozy winter joint just around the corner from her, and most lunch plans with friends and other engagements have been pushed off to February lining up that month to be as hectic as a holiday season sans the other details.
In today’s post, I’ve included photographs of the packaged ingredients- Stir-Fry Noodles and Red Curry Paste for the recipe so you know what to purchase at any Asian foods or International Market in order to prepare your Curried Noodles Dish.
Red curry paste is simple to use… you merely need to spoon it into the pan a bit at a time adjusting to your desired spice level before proceeding with the addition of coconut milk.
I’ve found the ‘Stir-Fry’ type noodles a bit sturdier to work with and the key cooking tip here is boiling the noodles in salted water until fully el dente, not overcooked, keeping in mind the noodles will also be stir-fried for a brief time with the ingredients. But you also want to avoid under-cooking to where you can still taste the flour within the dough. If you are not familiar with using Asian noodles I recommend purchasing a brand that provides average cooking times in English then it will be up to you to taste test surrounding that time for actual done-ness.
Getting back to the conversation, the big announcement in December was the engagement of Sneha, daughter of Jaya, one of the women in our Ladies International Group. This is the second among our children in the group to be married and so big excitement is bounding all around. This includes the excitement both for me and my daughter, Alex, who will travel to Kerala, India for the wedding in August.
With lots of news to chat about, Jaya and I had planned lunch in order to discuss the upcoming plans, Sari fittings, and general Sangeeth and Wedding details surrounding the upcoming Kerala, India visit.
I decided to prepare something quick and simple so we could eat while chatting so one of our lunch dishes included this simply spiced and delicious Easy Curried Noodles, Fresh Green Herbs.
Not an Indian dish, these curried noodles blend the flavors as described by the cookbooks namesake: “A Taste of Indochina” whose blended ingredients favor combinations of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Since those of us in our ladies group find common grounds on spice variety, mostly heightened, Jaya and I carefully measured out our amounts based on a serving size for four while being cognizant in writing the recipe including those not accustomed to that heightened level of spice.
One of the key fresh ingredients among the cultural cuisines of the region includes the liberal use of bold, highly scented herbs, such as cilantro, Thai basil, and mint, you likely experience these clean flavors if you eat at any Thai or Vietnamese restaurant in your locale.
Jaya remembered me having prepared this dish on a couple gathering occasions many years ago recently having a renewed craving for its cool and spice balance. I was happy to bring it to the forefront for sharing. We also savored a couple of other plates together over the afternoon, while also ‘catching- up’ after the holidays, and now, of course, there is plenty to chat about at the shared table in the upcoming wedding of Sneha and the exciting celebration in Kerala, India. Bring on the spice.
- 1 pound fresh Asian stir- fried noodles (see photo package in post)
- 2 plus 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
- 1-3 tablespoons red curry paste (more or less to desired spice level)
- 6 tablespoons coconut milk
- 12 large sized Thai basil leaves, stacked, rolled, sliced
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
- 3 tablespoons fresh chopped mint
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- juice from 1/4 lime
- fresh herb leaves for garnish
- lime wedges for serving alongside
- Cook noodles in salted boiling for around 4-5 minutes until just cooked through and el dente, drain noodles, rinse lightly, toss with 2 tablespoons oil to prevent sticking, cover with aluminum foil, set aside.
- Heat a large sized skillet on medium heat, pour in 3 tablespoons oil, swirl pan to cover, add in ginger and garlic, cook 2 minutes, spoon in curry paste, mix with ginger and garlic, cook another 2 minutes Tumble in the noodles and using tongs, gently lift and stir to incorporate the pan mixture throughout the noodles, drizzle over the coconut milk, toss through, sprinkle in herbs, continue lifting and stirring until ingredients are evenly mixed, pour in the fish sauce and fresh lime juice, stir through again, season with a small pinch of salt, adjust seasoning to taste
- Plate curried noodles, garnish with lime wedges and fresh herb leaves.
A Taste of Indochina by Jan Casterina and Dimitra Stais