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Year of the Noodle: Week 8

A jar of red curry paste resides in my fridge.  I had forgotten about it until midway through making the sauce for this recipe.  While it simmered on the stove, I took a peek at the ingredients of my Thai red curry paste.  Yup, it contains all the same stuff as this recipe – minus the coconut milk.  So if you didn’t feel up to finding Thai chilies and lemongrass in the market, or doing the chopping of ginger and garlic, you could just buy a jar of red curry paste, add it to a can of coconut milk, and essentially end up with the same thing.  Of course, for me, the point was to make the sauce from scratch, and so I did.  (Plus I didn’t know that I could cheat with stuff I already had.  But I wouldn’t have anyway.  I swear.)

Even with all the ingredient gathering and chopping, this recipe is easy, and pretty darn tasty.  I think the sauce had just a tinge too much lime, so you may want to add the lime juice slowly to suit your taste.  Also, the cabbage and carrots cook down to nearly nothing.  If you like chunkier veggies (like I do), julienne the carrots instead of shredding them and cut your cabbage thick.  Otherwise, enjoy – with or without the shortcut :)

Thai Red Curry Noodles

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 Thai chiles, minced
  • 3 stalks of fresh lemongrass, inner bulbs only, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup Asian fish sauce (or soy sauce for vegetarians)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup snow peas
  • 1 pound thin dried Chinese egg noodles or spaghettini
  • 1 small red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped napa cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
Directions
  1. In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic, shallots, chiles, lemongrass and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the aromatics are softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar and coriander and cook until the sugar is melted, about 20 seconds. Add the coconut milk and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blend until pureed. Blend in the lime juice and fish sauce. Scrape the sauce into a glass measuring cup and season with salt and pepper. Leave the skillet on the stove.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the snow peas and blanch until bright green, about 40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a plate to cool. Add the noodles to the pot and cook, stirring, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
  3. Add 1 cup of the curry sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the noodles, snow peas, red pepper, cabbage and carrot and toss well to thoroughly coat the noodles with the sauce. Add some of the reserved cooking water if the noodles seem dry. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away.
Source: Food & Wine
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