Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chinese Noodles | Indian Carrots | Kale from who knows where

I'm leaving town on Tuesday for nearly a week.  So the deciding factor in cooking today was, "what vegetables do I need to get rid of?"  I'm not sure if this was fusion or cacaphony, but it actually tasted great together.  I usually really try to make things that will harmonize with and balance each other, but tonight was slightly more accidental.  Still, ginger and cumin helped tie things together, while textures complemented each other.

First, I made these noodles, which seemed too simple but ended up fantastic.  Toasted sesame oil and nori both have a sort of conclusive! nutty element to them that ties everything else together.  I used more nori and actually more everything than originally called for (by using less pasta), and it was great!  The only thing is, I'm getting less and less fond of raw garlic in my old age.  I've reduced the amount of garlic by quite a bit; it goes a long way.

Cold Chinese Noodles with Nori Strips

6 oz whole-wheat spaghetti (or similar)
1 TB toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
1 TB seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic-chili sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 inch fresh ginger root, cut fine (about 1 tablespoon)
1/2-1 clove garlic, minced very fine
2 sheets seasoned or plain toasted nori, cut with scissors into small strips

Cook pasta according to directions.  Rinse and cool.  Toss with remaining ingredients. Serves about 3.


In case anyone was confused, "great" and "grate" do not share etymological roots.  That is also to say, there is nothing great about grating vegetables.  It's a pain in the ass that can quickly become a literal pain in the finger if you don't watch what you're doing.  I recently bought a box grater after an adult lifetime without owning one (and doing just fine!), and now from time to time I subject myself to this.

After making several vegetable recipes in Indian Home Cooking, I've come to the conclusion that I don't really like the frying-mustard-seed-in-oil-before-doing-anything-else thing.  I'm an adventurous eater, but it's a really bitter flavor that I just can't get down with.  So I skipped it here.  And, I amped up some of the other flavors.  Oh, and since I'm trying to clean out the fridge before I leave for Boston for five days, I threw in a tomato as well.  This was a pleasant, if not life-changing, side dish.  Carrots are sweet, and cumin and lime are refreshing!

Carrots with Cumin and Lime

1 TB canola oil
1/2-in piece ginger, finely minced
1/2 hot green chili, finely minced
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 large carrots, washed and grated
tomato, diced (optional) 
salt to taste
juice of 1/2 lime

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Fry ginger, chili, and cumin several minutes, then add carrots, and cook until slightly browned (about 5 more minutes).  Add tomato and lime juice and salt to taste.  Serves about 3.


Yum!  This was a really, really good variation on my go-to kale.  The photo, I know, looks sort of "blah" but the harissa--which, again, contains chilies, caraway (!), coriander, cumin, mint (!), garlic, and tomato--has only gotten better since I made it last week, and it made the kale really great.

Kale with Harissa

1 TB canola oil
1-2 cloves garlic
1 TB harissa
1 large bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped

Heat oil in a large frying pan.  Fry garlic and harissa, then add kale and cook until it turns dark green.  Add water as needed.  Finish with a bit of tamari. Serves about 3.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the noodles!