Tuesday, 26 February 2013

#one week - Laksa Mondays

Mondays are Rainbows nights, which makes them VERY special. Pickle has tea at her best friend's house and the little brothers join in too. As a consequence it is the one night I am not catering for little people so I can up the chilli and go for it with the spices.

I have been honing down my version of a Laksa - slowly dragging it around the world from Vietnam to dear old Blighty and rendering fairly unrecognisable but alternatively delicious. So with this in mind I am going to write a homage to noodles, inspired by a recipe request on a previous post and the fact that this Winter found the local Chinese supermarket!

A Reading Laksa

My laksa paste
Two table spoons of each peanut butter and cashew nuts
One chilli (I have tried with both green and red - fresh and dried)
A clove of garlic (if it is not a school night)
A table spoon of lime leaves if you can find them
An inch of ginger
A lemon grass stalk, but I use lemon grass paste as I am lazy
2 tablespoons of fish sauce
Up to one tablespoon of palm or dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons of turmeric
One spring onion

Blitz the ingredients in a food processor then add about half to a pan (storing the other half for next week) and stir while it starts to release its flavours. Add a selection of vegetables. I have been saving the brocoli stalks and adding them, it works well and helps the veg box go further as well as carrots, leaks and anything that I fancy that has a bit of crunch. next add the coconut milk (a 400ml can) and then your noodles. You may need to top it up with boiling water to ensure that the noodles are well covered.
I tend to add any protein (prawns or tofu) towards the end of the cooking.
The next stage is important: TASTE. You can add sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce or lime juice to taste. Top with fresh mint and serve.

Recently I have been using rice stick noodles for this recipe, so I need to remember to soak for about five or so minutes before using.

Soba Noodles

These can be quite handy as they are often made with 100% buckwheat so are gluten free. These are normally used in Japanese soups. I tend to cook them up with so batons of veg and sesame seeds in a miso based soup or just tossed in soy / shoyu sauce.

Rice Vermicelli

These are conventionally used in salads, cooked and refreshed. Naturally I buck this trend. I cook up some salmon with mixed seafood (whatever mix is readily available) and add some creme fraiche and saffron (pre-soaked with then water it has soaked in) and serve with the vermicelli noodles.

Chinese Noodles

I always used to use the medium egg noodles by brands such as Amoy or Sharwoods but recently I have discovered some fairly generic egg fre noodles in the Chinese supermarket. when I am not using them as a side dish (to go with something else) here is my quick and dirty recipe.

Cook up the noodles while stir frying your random selection of vegetables, and maybe even prawns or other meat. Spring onions and ginger add extra flavour. Mix together a base of ketchup and soy sauce, about a tablespoon of each and head for your spices - curry powder and oyster sauce give it a Singapore noodle edge, sweet chilli sauce, fish sauce and chilli flakes can also make an appearance as could a little peanut butter if you are feeling controversial and have no other source of protein.

By writing up my bastardised recipes I am doing my bit for global disharmony. Us Brits have a history of destroying good working formulas and replacing them with aberrant colloquialisms: spaghetti Bolognese anyone?

It does seem appropriate that food makes an appearance in me of my posts for #one week. I am looking forward to reading the other posts, I hope you do too.

one week

Let me know if you have any noodle recipes or if you would like any culinary inspiration (as this was for Janet).

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