Posted in Asian Food, International vegan cuisine, Noodles, Plant Based, Vegan

Fiery Vegan Udon Noodles

It’s no secret how much I LOVE noodles. I make at least one Asian dish a week…okay I make at least three but that’s all right because between me and the husband we cook pretty much every day of the week.

One of the things I appreciate about our Tokyo Midnight Diner meals is that I get to see my husband’s take on some of my favorite dishes or on other recipes I’ve been wanting to try but haven’t gotten around to for whatever reason. This fiery udon noodles was one such dish. I asked for Dan Dan noodles, which became a new favorite of mine in 2019 when I decided to kick up my Asian cuisine knowledge to about a thousand. Anyway, I asked for Dan Dan noodles and this was his interpretation of the dish.

What’s great about this dish and most Asian or Asian style dishes is that they don’t need a ton of ingredients to give you a ton of flavor. The ingredient list on fiery vegan udon noodles is pretty simple: scallions, red peppers (bell & capsicum), ginger, garlic, lemongrass, chili flakes, soy sauce, tomato paste and Sriracha. Oh, and udon noodles.

That’s it. Oil is optional as is the Sriracha but we all know how much I love spicy foods!

If you’ve ever made any type of stir-fry then you’re ready to re-create Dan Dan noodles. What that means is that you should prep EVERYTHING before you heat any oil or any skillet. Make sure it’s all ready to go because this dish cooks fast and high. Fast and high, people.

Oil and ginger first and then peppers and scallions. He added the dried soya granules–already re-hydrated–early in the cooking process to make sure they were infused with all the great Asian flavors. When everything is cooked to satisfaction, add soy sauce (or mirin, or tamari), brown sugar (optional and I usually skip it), chili flakes and Sriracha. Make sure to taste it for flavor and as soon as the udon noodles are done, mix well and plate.

A quick tip I learned from Marion’s Kitchen about cooking udon noodles: drop them and mix them on a semi-regular basis but don’t jostle them heavily. Let them separate organically and quickly. It’s a learning process but she does a much better job explaining than I can so hop on over so you don’t mess up your next noodle night!

You can also add toasted sesamee seeds or chopped peanuts as garnish to this dish. I’m still limiting my calories thanks to weight loss so I usually skip these in favor of scallions or chili peppers, but they are delicious and really do add a nice flavor.

We’ve also been experimenting with Chinese black vinegar and Xioaxing wine, so if you have’em feel free to try them and let me know how they turn out!

Posted in Asian Food, Grains, International vegan cuisine, Plant Based, Vegan

Plant Based Pad Thai

Noodles are one of the greatest culinary treasures around in my humble opinion. They cook fast, are incredibly versatile and if you choose the right one you can actually help your diet, health or weight loss goals.

Of course I won’t pretend that my love of noodles is all about health because it’s mostly about…carbs. And the fact that I am a sucker for an Asian flavored dish with noodles. The town we live in has just one real Asian restaurant and honestly, it’s fast food Asian and only good if you’re in a bind or feeling extra lazy. So if I want some delicious vegan Pad Thai, I have to make it myself.

This is a fairly easy dish to make and if you take care of your prep early (as in prepare it) the time will fly by even quicker.

I did a little something different with this one, adding scrambled tofu to the mix to give it another depth of flavor.

Grab your favorite vegetables to get started. I used:

Napa cabbage
Bell pepper (red & green)
Onions
Scallions
Firm tofu
Garlic
Ginger
Flat whole wheat noodles
Soy Sauce

First you want to take the tofu and crumble it up with your fingers or a fork, usually a combination of both works well together. It will look like scrambled eggs in texture and once you add turmeric, garlic granules, salt & black pepper it’ll look exactly like that. Cook it in a dry skillet that is nonstick or has been seasoned properly. Don’t start moving the tofu around right away, let the sizzle start and then push it around the pan. If it cooks too quickly add a teaspoon or two of almond milk (unsweetened) and keep going until it looks like the above photo and set aside.

Then move on to the Thai peanut sauce!

The base is scallions, chopped peanuts and red pepper flakes. Then I added soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and a pinch of brown sugar because I added about a tablespoon of Sriracha. This is optional but I promise you’ll love it drizzled over the top of your vegan Pad Thai.

Cook the veggies, starting with those that have the longest cook time down to the shortest cook time, which means adding the Napa cabbage last because it only needs a few minutes and you want it to retain that delicious crunch!

Cook the noodles according to the instructions, toss and enjoy!

Posted in Asian Food, Curry, Grains, Herbs, Pasta, Plant Based, Vegan

Spicy Broccoli & Tofu Noodles

One of my favorite things is noodles. Asian style noodles. I love them all from the delicious buckwheat taste of soba noodles to rice noodles (thick or thin) and of course, ramen. But I also adore Udon noodles, glass noodles, wok noodles and all the undiscovered noodles out there waiting for me. I. Love. Them.

And most of all, I keep a good stock in my pantry so that when I’m at a loss for what to make for lunch or dinner, or if I don’t feel like having what’s on the menu, I hunt down veggies and pantry staples, grab a pack of noodles and I’m good to go. That’s pretty much how this dish came to be.

The best part is that, despite how complicated the dish seems, it’s really simple to make. For the ramen, all you need is boiling water but be sure to read the instructions carefully because sometimes you boil them for a few minutes and others you let them sit in the water for about five minutes. These were the simple boil for three minutes and they’re done, but I really loved that these particular noodles had only three ingredients: rice flour, turmeric and water.

Turmeric! An amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant that also provides increased brain function and helps stave off brain diseases.

I just used what i had on hand which was a half floret of broccoli, half a brick of tofu, onion, red bell pepper, garlic and ginger. I topped it with sliced scallions and these amazing purple sprouts that were beet sprouts which I found surprisingly delicious considering that beets are one of about three vegetables that my taste buds don’t like.

For this recipe I did use oil, cold pressed olive oil BUT just a half tablespoon which I heated and mixed with the ginger, garlic and two types of curry. As soon as that hearty aromatic scent hit the air, add the vegetables. You can add the tofu last but I cooked it separately in a small skillet so brown it around the edges.

TIP: Give your tofu extra flavor by cutting and marinating it. For this recipe I used soy sauce, garlic powder and curry. I did it first so it sat getting flavorful while I chopped and did everything else.

This is yet another thing I love about Asian cuisine, you can fancy it up or enjoy a quick and rustic style meal. And if you’re a picky vegetable eater you’re not beholden to anyone’s recipe, just use what you already have on hand.

I’m sure you’re wondering where the ‘spicy’ in this recipe came from and the answer is mostly the pinch of red curry and the half Thai chili pepper I used but I removed the seeds because I LOVE it spicy but the hubs…doesn’t. So in the spirit of compromise I just decorated my plate with a bit of Sriracha. Okay, more than a bit.

Sue me, I like it spicy!

Let me know your favorite noodle dish and I just might make it!