Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Curried Noodle Stir-Fry

Last night's recipe made use of another new-to-our-kitchen noodle: chow mein noodles.  These noodles cook extremely quickly, which is a plus, although they seem to me to be a lot like plain old spaghetti...

Oodles of Noodles.

Curried Noodle Stir-Fry
  • 12 ounces chow mein noodles
For the sauce:
  •  2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
For the stir-fry:
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 pound extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 1 onion, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 small bag frozen "stir fry vegetables," thawed
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
First, prepare the noodles according to the package instructions.  Rinse the cooked noodles in cold water, drain, and set aside.  

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce.  Combine the peanut oil and flour in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture darkens in color and smells toasty, about 7-10 minutes.  Stir in the curry powder and cook for another minute while stirring constantly.  Then switch to a whisk, pour in the vegetable broth and sugar, and stir constantly until a thick sauce forms, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Next brown the tofu.  Heat the 2 tablespoons of peanut oil in a large skillet (or wok), add the tofu, and cook, turning the tofu every several minutes, until the tofu is browned on most sides.  Remove the tofu from the skillet--but make sure the oil mostly remains in the skillet--and add the onions.  Cook the onions for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are tender and begin to brown.  Then add the ginger, red pepper, and jalapeno to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the pepper begins to soften.  Add the frozen vegetables and stir-fry for about 5 minutes or until the vegetables become warm and deeply colored.  At this point, add the noodles and tofu into the pan, sprinkle the contents with soy sauce, and stir-fry for about 3 more minutes, stirring frequently.  I used tongs to mix everything together here.

Finally, retrieve the sauce you set aside and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup vegetable broth.  Pour the sauce over the stir-fry and toss evenly to coat everything.  Cook a few more minutes until everything is warm, and serve hot (or, serve refrigerated--it's good cold, too).

Yields 4 servings.

This dish looks a lot like what one might get at a nondescript Pan-Asian/Chinese restaurant.  I won't sugarcoat that.  Fortunately, it does taste better than mediocre Chinese food.  The sauce has an unexpected flavor due to the inclusion of curry powder, and that was something I really appreciated.  This dish was good and we all enjoyed eating it, but it's nothing special.  
There are many ingredients in this dish, but we did find everything at our normal grocery store.  The chow mein noodles were located in the international foods aisle.  Also, keep in mind that you can really use any vegetables you like in the stir-fry.  
 Ease of Preparation:    
There are many steps in this recipe.  Rachel and I made this together which sped things along, but don't count on this as a quick-and-easy recipe.  It is a one-pot meal, though, so that saves some time. 
Non-vegan friendliness:   
Simon thinks of this as more of a side than a main dish.  

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