Asian Noodles in a Spicy Tomato Sauce
I'm just going to come right out and say this, all four of our kids ate until their plates were clean and some had seconds. This was a hit! Now let's just skip the bullshit entry paragraph(s) and get to it...
Noodles! We all love noodles! Moving on...
Noodles Ingredients (serves 4-6)
12 g garlic - pressed
25 g ginger - minced
330 g napa cabbage - julienned*
100 g white onion - julienned
2 c carrots - julienned
10 T sunflower oil (or canola)
3 T tomato paste/sriracha mix **
2 T sake rice wine
3 T low sodium soy sauce
2 T toasted sesame oil
2 T miso paste
1 T cold water mixed with 1/2 t corn starch
250 g ramen style noodles that cook in about 4 minutes
*Julienne means very thinly sliced- you can just do your best to cut them as thin as possible or use a food processor with the slicing blade attachment. If that is also annoying, buy all your ingredients pre-cut (but, FYI, they cost more.) If you intend to cut them yourself make sure they are thinly cut or your cooking time on the veggies may take too long to work with the timing of this recipe, which means your noodles will be done WAY before you veggies. To be safe, you can try cook the veggies first if you desire, but you run the risk of overcooking them.
**Tomato pasta/Sriracha mix: I made this dish with the intention that the younger kids would eat it, so I only used the tomato paste and later added sriracha on top of my meal. But if you have the complete and utter joy of cooking for adults only, then please decide what ratio of tomato paste to sriracha to use based on your love or hate of spicy.
Make sure you have a big pot of water beginning its ascent to a boil ready by now.
First things first, the making of the sauce.
Place 8 T oil in a wide large pan on medium heat. Heat it up and drop in your onions, ginger & garlic letting them cook on a simmer until the onions are a bit translucent (which pretty much always means a few minutes (3-5 or so, depending on heat). I tend to use a "lid-sauté method" here, which keeps the oil/moisture from disappearing, leaving the ingredients moist and in the end a sauce that is usable. When you Iift the lid, let the condensation on it, fall back into the pan. Then stir and cover again.
When a few minutes have passed, add the tomato paste & sriracha combo, then stir for 1 minute. This allows the heat to warm up all the condensed ingredients, beginning the bomb of flavors to come. Making a sauce is like building a house; without a good foundation, the house will crumble. This sauce must have a low/medium heat or it will all disappear. We are basically infusing the oil with all the other ingredients, thus making a more flavorful sauce. SO, simmer on low with small bubbles.
Next add the sake and stir it in for 1 minute. Then the soy sauce, miso paste and sesame oil. Mix it as well as you can with a whisk if necessary. Because there is a lot of oil in this sauce, it may never fully "come together". You may see pools of oil and tomato paste hanging out on the other side of the Junior High dance floor from each other. Do not worry! Once the sauce matures, just like the teenagers, it all comes together. But as a guarantee, I added what is called a slurry. That is a combo of cold water mixed with corn starch into paste. This was a very small addition. Add it now and whisk it well. Cover and turn off heat.
My noodles of choice only needed 4 minutes to cook, so I threw them in now.
In a separate high-sided pan, heat 2 more tablespoons of the oil. Once hot, add the THINLY julienned carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring well. Then add the green onions & cabbage and cook another few minutes until they are both soft. If your noodles are not yet finished, you can turn off the veggies until they are. But if your noodles take 10-15 minutes to cook then you must begin cooking them before the veggies, so all comes to an end at a closer time. Once your noodles are done, you will want to use kitchen tongs to remove them from the water, which allows a little bit of water to fall into the sauce pan. Once I cannot get the rest of the noodles with the tongs, I then strain the water and toss the rest of the noodles in. Add the veggies and mix well trying not to break up the noodles too much. You can add some decorative, thinly sliced green onions and sesame seeds to top it off et voilá!
You can serve these noodles alone or with any kind of meat/fish possible. If you are interested in the chicken I did use in the photo above, I will be posting a recipe about the marinade and a tip on how I quickly cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts, keeping it moist and tender.