Masala Rice Noodles and Vegetables

posted in: Indian, Main Dishes, Uncategorized | 9
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Have you figured out now how much I like spicy food? I think everything is better when it’s spicy. And although hot red pepper is one of my favorites, I don’t think spicy necessarily means hot. It can mean cooking with herbs like basil and thyme or sweet spices like coriander seed and nutmeg. How much better is chocolate with a pinch of cinnamon? Focaccia enhanced with rosemary?I’m a little suspicious when I see a savory recipe enhanced with nothing but salt and pepper. I understand that some people are nervous about cooking with spices. They didn’t grow up eating a lot of spicy food and they’re afraid they’ll make something inedible. To them, I say: Play with your food! Experiment: if you’ve heard that nutmeg is good with spinach (it is), but you’re afraid you won’t like it, set a little aside and try just a pinch of nutmeg. Or start with half the spices and add more to taste.

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 Vegetables
6-7 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.

Serves 3-4.*One quarter-teaspoon of cayenne pepper makes the noodles medium-hot. Adjust accordingl

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9 Responses

  1. I have been enjoying rice noodles too and looking for different ways to serve them – I find garam masala often quite sweet but would love to try this – I agree with you about just using salt and pepper for flavour – my favourite spice lately is smoked paprika – but I think you should warn people to only gently sniff cayenne – nothing like inhaling it!

  2. but I think you should warn people to only gently sniff cayenne

    Ha! Johanna, I didn’t think of that. You probably don’t want to inhale black pepper either.

    If you think garam masala might be too sweet, you could try some cumin and coriander.

  3. What an interesting way to use garam masala.. love it and can’t wait to try it. :)

  4. Love your masala noodles. I wish I had that plate with me right now :)

  5. This looks absolutely wonderful! I am the same way you are. Although I adore a truly hot and spicy dish, I like ALL my food to be well rounded and full of flavor. Salt and pepper is not enough for me. Thanks so much for sharing this with Presto Pasta Nights!

  6. Oh yes, hot and spicy! This looks to be an excellent dish to add that tempeh I bought, which is sitting in my fridge waiting for purpose in life.

  7. Claudia, I’ve never thought to put tempeh in an Asian noodle dish. I need to try that!

  8. Anonymous

    This was delicious! Thank you for the recipe. :)

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