Saturday, 6 April 2013

Ginger-Orange Noodles with Sugar Snaps and Mushrooms

I have recently fallen in love with udon noodles. I guess pasta of any kind is a requirement to keep me happy... I had tried them as a cold noodle dish and loved the result, so I decided to try them as a stir-fry.

For those unfamiliar with those little wonders, they are Japanese wheat noodles that you can be bought fresh or dry (like Italian pasta), they have a awesome chewy texture and they can be a very versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, stir-fries, salads or just by themselves (if you want to know more about the differences between the different types of Asian noodles, go check out this post, by The Kitchn).

I wanted a quick, healthy lunch with bright flavors on a rainy day off spent at home reading: citrus flavors always seem to brighten up everything, as does the crisp freshness of sugar snap peas. I added some ginger and Sriracha, threw in some mushrooms, and got myself a bowlful of wonder-noodles! Big-time wonder, as the toughest part of this recipe is basically boiling water... Don't you love easy recipes is like that?

1 (9 ounces) package udon or soba noodles
2 cups sugar snap peas (snow peas also work), trimmed
2 cups mushrooms (I used cremini, but I really wanted shiitake... next time!), thinly sliced
Peanut oil
1 small bunch scallions, chopped, for garnish
Sesame seeds, for garnish

1/4 cup fresh orange (or pink grapefruit) juice
1/2 lime, juiced
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
1 tablespoon Sriracha
1 1/2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

Whisk the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust by adding lime juice, soy or Sriracha, to taste.

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water according to package instruction. While the noodles are cooking, heat a splash of peanut oil over medium heat. Add the sugar snap peas and the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and stir fry for few minutes, until the peas are tender and the mushrooms have released their moisture and are shiny.

Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside. Turn off the heat and let the pan cool down for a few minutes. With no heat under the pan, pour in the sauce. Let it bubble just a little bit and stir continuously as it thickens, about 2-3 minutes.

Don’t let the sauce burn or reduce too much. Add the noodles, snow peas and mushrooms to the pan. Stir to mix everything together with the sauce. Add a good squeeze of lime, and cook a few minutes more.

Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve garnished with the scallions and sesame seeds.

This makes about 2 helpings, but I decided to beef my lunch up a notch with a very basic tofu side: I took 1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed it, cut it into large matchstick and marinated for an hour in 3 tablespoons of low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil and 1 teaspoon of dark rice wine vinegar. Once marinated, I browned the tofu in a cast iron pan until crispy (this took about 5 minutes, flipping the tofu often to get a nice, even browning).

Very basic pan-fried tofu like that is very quickly done, and it has a nice neutral taste, so I like to use it when I want to add extra protein to a noodle dish such as this one, or to a big bowl of salad (those lovely matchsticks could also be used in a sandwich or wrap full of hummus and veggies...). And yes, using a cast-iron pan is instrumental in getting both the look and the taste (as explained here by Post Punk Kitchen), though I prefer to use tongs to flip the tofu pieces around instead of a spatula: I find it allows for more precision.

You could definitely use soba noodles instead of udon; just remember that they have a stronger, nutty buckwheat flavor than udon noodles. Also, feel free to use red grapefruit juice instead of orange if you prefer that tangy kick! I just happened to have an lonely orange and a lonely lime in my crisper... What can I say, I hate wasting!

The citrus has the added benefit of upping your vitamin C, the ginger will elevate your mood, the mushrooms will boost your immune system and the sugar snaps are very rich in fiber. Tastes good, AND it good for you! Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment