Whenever you’re going to add a spice, smell the contents of your spice jar first. This will tell you how fresh they are, keep you from adding the wrong spice accidentally, and help you figure out which ones you like best. Pick up a couple of jars and smell them together and try to decide if they’d work in the same dish. Thyme and allspice? They work together in my kitchen. Cumin and sage? Why not? You also might discover that there are a few spices you don’t like or find overwhelming. That’s fine – leave them out or replace them with something similar. I usually replace half the nutmeg in a recipe with allspice and half the dill with tarragon.
My love of spices is probably why I fell in love with this dish the first time I tasted it at a restaurant. It’s a fairly basic lo mein recipe, done Indian-style. To recreate it at home, I started with this lo mein recipe and added garam masala and cayenne pepper. The restaurant version I had uses wheat noodles, but I’ve been on a rice noodle kick lately, so I used them here. If you decide to make this with wheat noodles, undercook them slightly by cooking them for 2/3 of the time recommended on the package and finish cooking them in the sauce. We had this with a rich eggplant dish on the side, but if you wanted to make these noodles be a one-dish meal, I suggest adding some baked tofu triangles.
I’m sending these spicy noodles over to Presto Pasta Nights, created by Ruth of Once Upon a Feast. and hosted this week by Beth Anne of The Seventh Level of Boredom. Check Beth Anne’s site next Friday for the roundup!
Masala Rice Noodles and Vegetables6-7 ounces rice noodles (1/2 a package)
3/4 cup vegetable broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3/4 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper*
1 tablespoon canola oil
a few cremini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 stalk of celery, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2-inch piece of ginger, minced
4 ounces (2-1/2 cups) shredded cabbage
sliced green onion tops for garnish
Thirty minutes or more before you plan to stir-fry the vegetables, place the rice noodles in a bowl and cover with hot tap water. Set aside.
Whisk together the vegetable broth, soy sauce, sesame oil, garam masala, and cayenne pepper and set aside.
Heat canola oil in a large skillet or a wok.
Sauté mushrooms and bell pepper until tender, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and cabbage and continue cooking until cabbage has reduced in volume by about half, about 3 minutes. Drain noodles and add to the skillet. Pour sauce on top. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until sauce is absorbed.