Do you ever have a craving for Chinese noodles? Rice noodles are a good alternative to egg noodles because they’re gluten-free and are a lighter option. I’ve been trying to eliminate wheat from my diet to see how it affects my body. Here is one of my fast 15 minute “Go to” recipes. Add any meat to it for added protein,but this recipe just has vegetables, specifically sugar snaps and bean sprouts. You might think that this recipe calls for quite a bit of bean sprouts, but I always use a lot of bean sprouts in noodle recipes and reduce the amount of noodles since it’s a little healthier. Feel free to use less bean sprouts or eliminate the ingredient altogether.
4 oz of rice noodles (medium)
1 cup of sugar snaps
1 cup of fresh bean sprouts
2 green onions (chopped with white and green parts separated)
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon of hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon of hot chili oil
1 teaspoon of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of rice wine (not vinegar)
2 tablespoons of water
2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
First, cook noodles like you would spaghetti, except only cook for a minute or 2 and check for texture. You want to cook the rice noodles until right before they are “al dente” because the noodles will continue to cook while you are sauteeing. Drain and run under cold water and set aside.
For the sauce: In a bowl, whisk the chili oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice wine, cornstarch, and water together and set aside.
In a wok or large saute pan, heat sesame oil in a wok or frying pan on high heat for about one minute, then add garlic and white parts of green onion, and cook for another minute or two, constantly stirring the ingredients. If you are going to add tofu, poultry, or meat, do it before you add vegetables and cook until almost fully cooked, set aside in a plate, and then add vegetables to the same pan. Add sugar snaps or snow peas and bean sprouts and continue to sauté for about one minute. I like using sugar snaps because they are really crunchy and still hold much of that crunch after heating. Add noodles and green parts of onion to vegetables and saute for about a minute and toss until everything is mixed evenly and then pour sauce over the noodles. Toss in sauce for about a minute or two, but be careful not to mix too much because the noodles will get too soft. Serve with chili oil (with little specs of chili in it) on the side for added heat.
Christine’s Kung Pao Chicken with Bell Peppers
Makes 4 Servings
1 pound of chicken breasts, sliced into very small pieces
1 green bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of chili oil
3 teaspoons of cornstarch
2 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine
2 tablespoons of peanut oil
1 tablespoon of natural cane sugar (use regular sugar if needed)
2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
¾ cup of chopped green onion
3 tablespoons of water
1 ½ teaspoon of Chinese Five Spice Blend
¾ cup of cocktail peanuts
1-3 red chilies (optional but recommended)
The trick with cooking on high heat is to constantly move the food around in the pan. Tongs work well or a heat-resistant spatula will do.
Also, the chicken can be marinated in the sauce below overnight or just before cooking for at least 30 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk 1-½ teaspoons of cornstarch in 1 tablespoon of wine, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of water, chili oil, garlic, and Chinese five-spice blend. Once mixed thoroughly, add chicken and coat it with sauce to marinate.
Sauté chicken on high heat with marinade for about 3-5 minutes until it is golden on outside. Remove chicken from the wok to avoid overcooking and set aside.
Add vegetables to wok and sauté in remaining oil. Add chicken back to vegetables and continue to mix. T
The final step is to make the sauce for the chicken and vegetable mixture.
Mix 1 tablespoon of cooking wine, 1-½ teaspoons of cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, and sugar. Whisk quickly and pour over the chicken and peppers and continue to mix over the high heat until sauce thickens to a gravy consistency. Add chopped or whole chilies and peanuts and continue to cook for about another minute or two.
Note: Chopped chilies will make the dish spicier than leaving them whole.
If need be, add one tablespoon of water, at a time, if you see gelatinous residue on chicken or want to thin out sauce.
Add soy sauce to taste and serve with short grain brown rice.
Last weekend I went out in search of ingredients for a traditional Pad Thai recipe that I found at http://www.thaitable.com/thai/recipe/pad-thai. This website is great for the novice Thai cook. Luckily, I found a Thai market in the Kaiserslautern area with most of the ingredients that I needed! Let the excitement begin…
Sunday night rolls around and I decide to experiment with one of Thailand’s famous dishes and my personal favorite.
I altered this recipe, along with the steps, to make it easier to follow and more like Restaurant-Style Pad Thai.
My recommendation is to have all the ingredients ready to go before you fire up the wok or pan because since you are cooking on very high heat, there is no time to cut an onion while the noodles are cooking. By that time, the noodles would have burned.
Also, the chili pepper does not taste spicy raw, but once you start cooking it, the flavor and heat of the chili escalates.
Shrimp Pad Thai
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings
1-16 oz bag of rice sticks
1 cup of chopped green onion (white and green parts)
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 pound of fresh shrimp (uncooked, cleaned, tail-on)
1 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime (cut in quarters)
4 teaspoons of fish sauce
4 tablespoons of tamarind paste (key ingredient)
1/4 cup of natural cane sugar (add more for a sweeter taste)
1/2 cup of chopped dry, roasted, salted peanuts (use more chopped peanuts as garnish)
2 cups of bean sprouts
1/4 cup of vegetable or peanut oil
1 teaspoon of white pepper
1 fresh red chili pepper, finely chopped (optional)
Salt to taste
Place a large frying pan or wok on stove on high heat. Remove rice noodles from package and soak in water for about 5-10 minutes while the pan is heating up. Noodles should feel like pasta right before it is al dente. Chop up all vegetables ahead of time so that they are ready when you need them and set aside.
Beat eggs in a separate bowl and set aside.
Saute peanuts in 1 Tbsp of oil for about 45 seconds and remove from pan. Cook shrimp in pan until pink throughout and then remove from heat and set aside in a separate dish. Add more oil if needed and scramble egg in same pot and set aside in separate dish. Add 2 Tbsp of oil, garlic,chopped red chilis (optional),bean sprouts, and onion and saute for about a minute and then add noodles. Quickly toss in the oil for about 30 seconds and add tamarind sauce, fish sauce, white pepper, and sugar and continue to toss noodle mixture. Add shrimp, eggs, and sauteed peanuts, and toss mixture until all ingredients are covered with sauce for about 2-3 minutes. Garnish with cilantro, chopped peanuts, and a lime wedge.
Thai Style Chicken Fried Rice
Makes 2-3 servings
1 chicken breast, chopped into very small thin strips or chunks (use shrimp or tofu as an alternative)
2 cups of cooked jasmine rice (use regular white rice if not available)
1 carrot, diced into small pieces
1 stalk of celery, chopped
½ cup of green onion or scallion, both white and green parts, chopped
1 can of bean sprouts or 1 ½ cups of fresh bean sprouts
2 tbsp of light soy sauce
3 tbsp of vegetable or canola oil (not olive)
1 clove of garlic, chopped
½ cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
¼ tsp of white pepper (optional)
1 tsp of fish sauce (optional)
¼ cup of chicken broth (optional)
Marinate chicken in 1 tbsp of soy sauce and white pepper for about 15-20 minutes. While the chicken is marinating, chop all vegetables and set aside. Beat one egg and set aside. Heat wok on medium-high until it is very hot and add 1 tbsp of oil. Heat another small frying pan on medium with about 1 tsp of oil. Add chicken, garlic, and marinade to wok and sauté until it is cooked. If chicken starts to stick, add a little chicken broth or more oil. Once it is cooked, remove and set aside. Add beaten egg to frying pan and while cooking, break the egg up with a spatula into small pieces. Once cooked, set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon of fish sauce, and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce to wok and add remaining vegetables and cilantro. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on high and then add cooked chicken, egg, and rice, and sauté for about 3 minutes on medium-high to high. If the rice starts to stick, add a teaspoon of oil or broth. Keep sautéing the fried rice, chicken, egg, and vegetables until the rice is heated and lightly coated with sauce.
Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro.
This recipe is what Sandra Lee likes to call, “Semi-homemade”. I’m not the biggest fan of “Semi-homemade” meals, but I can appreciate them on days when there are many other things going on.
For this recipe, my husband and I, used salmon steaks, but you can use any other cut of the fish.
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes (for marinating purposes)
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings
4 Salmon Steaks marinated in teriyaki sauce (see below)
2 cups Jasmine rice
2 cups of frozen soybeans
1 1/2 cups of Marukin Teriyaki Sauce or any other brand (See below for a link to purchase)
2 1/2 tablespoons of fresh grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic
Marinate fish for 90 minutes with 3/4 cup of teriyaki sauce, 2 cloves of garlic, and 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger.
Cook rice on stove or place in rice cooker to save time. Use 3 1/2 cups of water for 2 cups of rice.
While the rice is cooking,bring about 4 cups of water to a boil in a separate pot, and cook soybeans according to package. Set aside after they are tender.
In a saucepan, bring 3/4 cup of teriyaki sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons of ginger, and garlic to a boil while stirring occasionally, and then reduce heat to low. While stirring frequently, simmer for about 5 more minutes to infuse the flavors of the garlic and ginger into the sauce. Place a bowl under a strainer and pour sauce through the strainer to remove garlic and ginger pieces. (Using the strainer is an optional step)
Grilling and Serving:
Place salmon on grill and cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Be careful of fish bones toward the center of the steak near the bone. If you have bone tweezers, remove bones before serving.
When serving, place salmon steak over rice and drizzle the teriyaki glaze over the salmon and rice. Serve with soybeans on the side.
For this Indian dish, I used tofu, but you can use chicken instead. I added Sambal Oelek for a little kick, but the curry paste is spicy enough for most people.
Yields 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 45 minutes
1 lb chicken OR a 19 oz package of Firm Tofu, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup diced carrots, chopped very small
3 large white potatoes, diced into cubes
1 cup chopped onion (yellow preferred)
2 cups Organic chicken broth
1-14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
2 Tbsp Madras Curry Paste (found at any Whole foods market or Indian market)
1/4 cup of canola oil
1 tsp of chopped fresh garlic (used for infusion)
Fresh Cilantro for garnish
Samba Oelek (optional)
Fry the pieces of tofu in the canola oil and garlic. Set a plate aside with a paper towel to absorb the oil from the cooked tofu. See below for pictures on how to cook tofu. Once the tofu is cooked, set aside, but reserve oil and discard the garlic. Use only 2 Tbsp on oil to saute the onions and carrots for about 5 minutes. Once the onions start getting translucent, add the potatoes, 1 cup chicken broth, tofu or chicken, stewed tomatoes, and paste. Let simmer until carrots and potatoes are tender. If you have to keep adding more liquid, use the remaining 1 cup of the broth that was set aside. Serve over Basmati rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Pairs well with Chayote Squash Salad. See recipe.
Cooking the tofu in garlic and oil:
Onions and Carrots
Recipe for Lemongrass Tofu in Red Curry Sauce.
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes
1 -19oz package of refrigerated firm tofu
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1/4 cup of canola oil for frying tofu
1-13.5oz. can of coconut milk (see note)
1/4 cup of chopped fresh basil (Thai basil is preferred)
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 stalks of lemongrass
2Tbsp of Red curry paste
Remove tofu from package, remove any excess water, and pat dry. Cut the tofu in cubes and pat dry again. Let the tofu sit and . While the tofu is drying, chop the basil, onion, lemongrass, and peppers, and set aside.
Place oil and lemongrass in a large frying pan on medium high. When oil is hot, lower heat just a little to medium and add the tofu. If the pan can’t hold all of the tofu, fry in batches. Have a plate with a paper towel on it to pull the oil from the fried tofu. Each side should take about 3-4 minutes to get golden. The tofu is done when it golden color and spongy. Place cooked tofu on a plate with paper towel and repeat with other batch. When all of the tofu has been cooked, remove lemongrass from oil and discard. Set tofu aside.
Drain some of the oil out and reserve just enough to saute the peppers and onions. Once finished, add chopped basil, peppers, and onion and cook the vegetables as desired. Some people prefer veggies crunchy and some like them tender.
“To each his/her own”… Once cooked, remove the vegetables and remove the oil from pan. Set the vegetables aside.
Don’t pat dry the pan. Just pour out the oil and set the pan back on the hot stove on medium-high.
To make the curry sauce. Pour coconut cream, not milk, into the pan. Reduce this down for about 2-3 minutes to release the oil and add the curry paste. Use a whisk to stir the paste into the cream. Reduce heat to medium. Let the curry-cream mix cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk and continue to whisk the sauce. Once the sauce has come to a boil, mix the tofu and vegetables into the curry sauce. Let simmer on low for 10 minutes. Serve over Jasmine rice with a quarter of the lime and some basil for garnish. Enjoy!
Cook rice according to directions on package. I use a rice cooker. Rinse rice before using to get rid of starch. The ratio for cooking rice in a cooker or on the stove is 2:1. Two cups of water to one cup of rice. The other option is to cook it like spaghetti. This is tricky and requires skill because you have to make sure enough water is added. It also requires attention. Use a rice cooker, save time. 🙂
Note: The coconut milk used should be the “regular” kind as the “light” version has fillers. Also, try not to shake the can because when coconut milk sits, the cream rises to the top. In colder weather, this is apparent, but in warmer weather, try putting the can in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. When ready to use the coconut milk, spoon the cream from the top and reserve the milk for later on in the recipe.