Spicy Asian Noodles

Regretably, it's been a really long time since my last post. I work full time, odd second shift hours, which means I'm not home to make dinner. When I am home to make dinner I usually make pizza. I think I'm making the transition to first shift hours though, which means I'll be home to make dinner regularly.
 
Despite the time elapse since my last post, Jen and I have stayed true to our vegetarianism. I can't remember the last time I ate meat or what it was. I don't miss it. In fact, when I carved Mom's Christmas ham it smelled like wet dog to me. Totally unappetizing. We also dismantle rotisserie chickens for chicken salad at work and they literally smell like ass. Vomitous, no seriously, and I'm not the only one who thinks that.

On the bright side! I'm working full time! That's quite a change considering this time last year I was not working and had not been because of my severe IBS. I still battle with IBS and always will, but I reap the benefits of my dietary sacrifices every day.


Start your pasta right away. You need a lot of water to boil 12oz of pasta, and if you have a rickety old stove like mine it'll take 4 hours to get that rolling boil.

I'm not advertising or anything, but I discovered this brand of pasta, and I really like it. It's at least a little more healthy than regular pasta, and I don't feel as bad about eating an empty carb.


The cool part about stir fry is prepping everything ahead of time and then just sort of assembling everything using heat. This sauce is easy to make with no heat process required. Just mix up your ingredients. Great activity while waiting for that pasta water to boil.





Here's more ingredients pre-prepped. I've got some water chestnuts draining in the sink too. With stir fry, you can add just about anything you want - broccoli florets, celery, onions, peppers...etc.

My wok heats very fast, so I usually wait until all my prep is done before I even turn it on. I preheated the wok to about medium (6 out of 10 on the dial), poured in about a tablespoon of peanut oil, and it only took 30 seconds before the oil was heated and ready to go. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic.

I was always taught to put in the items that require the longest cook time into the wok first since they'll be exposed to the most heat for the longest time, but there's something about adding the fragrants to this dish first that just sets it off. I think it's the way the garlic and ginger react to the sauce that we're going to add in just seconds.

These ingredients are very susceptible to burning, which is why I have the wok only on medium. The onions help absorb some of the heat while the garlic and ginger get nice and golden, but another trick I discovered to scatter these ingredients to the sides of the wok where the heat isn't so concentrated. Therefore, they still cook without nearly as much risk of burning.

The garlic should just barely start to caramelize and then you add everybody else into the pool. I used carrots, pea pods, and water chestnuts. Mix up those flavors.

I like tofu okay. I guess unfermented soybeans aren't the best thing to eat, but I like this stuff once in awhile. This particular brand is good. It's pre-baked, so it doesn't have 3 gallons of water that need to be pressed out of it before it can be used. 



After all ingredients are in the wok and things are heating up, add your sauce, cover and let everything heat through. Keeping the wok on medium heat, you should hear it come to a rolling boil right about the time your pasta is finished (about 3-5 minutes).

Turn the wok off (stir it). Drain your pasta and put it in a large bowl.



Here is what lurks underneath the lid of the wok.


Dump the contents of the wok over the pasta (in the large bowl) and fold it in.


Cilantro and peanuts make an excellent garnish. The cilantro accents the flavors of the ginger, garlic, and soy sauce and the peanuts add a complimentary crunch to an otherwise chewy dish.

This has become a go-to meal in our house. It's absolutely delicious and because of its spectrum of flavors it's not something you can easily get bored with. The past few times I've been adding a bit more Sriracha for some extra heat, which makes it fun to eat too. Pile on the peanuts!

What's cool too, I've been playing with this and using the sauce as a base along with the garlic/ginger/onions combo as a first step. You can then add any veg from there and pile it on top of pasta, rice noodles, white rice, or brown rice. Stir fries are so versatile! Jen also looks for any reason to eat with chopsticks lately. The other night she was eating popcorn with them...


Recipe for the Sauce:
 
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1-2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce (Huy Fong Sriracha, use more if you want extra heat)
¼  teaspoon sesame oil

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.

Hint: You can double the recipe if you like a saucier stir-fry. Add half of the sauce during the cooking process and save the other half to spoon over individual dishes as desired.


Recipe for the Dish:

12-14 ounces linguini (broken in half)

1 T peanut oil
3-4 green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (or more if you like extra ginger)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (or more if you like extra garlic)
1 can water chestnuts
1-2  carrots, sliced
6 oz baked tofu
8 oz pea pods
chopped cilantro
chopped peanuts for garnish

Directions:

Prepare noodles according to package directions.  Drain and set aside in large bowl.
Heat peanut oil in wok or large frying pan at about medium to medium-high (about a 6-7 out of 10 if your wok or stove reads like that). Add onions, garlic and ginger.  Cook, stirring frequently for about a minute. Add the water chestnuts, carrots and tofu amd pea pods and toss to mix. Add the sauce, mix well and heat through. Pour over the noodles (in the large bowl) and toss well to mix. Add chopped cilantro, chopped peanuts, and any extra sauce to the individual servings if desired. 

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