Saturday, July 16, 2011

Confused Noodle Broth - Japanese? Thai?

First up let me confess that my knowledge of Japanese food is very limited. I know there is Sushi. And Sashimi. And… that’s it. I did eat out at this Japanese restaurant called Wagamama in London when I was there on work, but just cannot remember what I had! I vaguely remember rice. And chicken. And clearly remember my friend and then-boss NamC expertly wielding a pair of chopsticks to eat her rice and even her soup! I think it’s the chopsticks. She dazzled me with them and I, with my mouth open, just watched her and forgot what I ate! Don't blame me... NamC is that super cool, super stylish, super boss who can teach you a thing or two about everything! :D

Now my friend SM (read about her here and here) and I have been planning to go out for a Sushi dinner for only about a year or two. But something or the other always comes up. A few months ago, SM bought me a tube of Wasabi paste from Crawford Market. Since our Japanese eating out plan was not materializing, we thought we might as well use Japanese Wasabi and feel happy about it! Now I know Wasabi is essentially Japanese… so if you are wondering why this dish is confused, it’s because I just went ahead adding ingredients as per my whim instead of following any recipe. So I really don’t know what to call the end-product. But fear not, it was hot, aromatic, spicy, delicious and filling! A complete one-pot meal.
Egg noodles – 1 pkt (You can use any noodles of your choice - Udon, Rice, Flat, anything)
Ginger – ½ inch piece
Garlic – 4 to 5 cloves
Green Chillies - 2
Carrot – 1
Babycorns – 4 to 5
Cucumbers – 1 small
Spring onions – 1 bunch
Vegetable stock or Water
Dark Soy sauce
Light Soy sauce
Balsamic Vinegar
Wasabi Paste
Brown Sugar – 1 tsp
Olive Oil
Sesame or Groundnut oil – 1 tbsp

Finely chop the carrots. Deseed and slice cucumbers. Cut the baby corns into bite sized pieces. Clean and cut the spring onions. Slit the green chillies, julienne the ginger and lightly crush the garlic cloves with the back of a ladle.
Bring a large vessel of water to boil. Drop in the noodles and cook as per instructions on the pack. A regular pack of Ching’s Egg Noodles takes about 8-10min. Drain the noodles, wash them in cold water and add a little olive oil so that they do not stick to each other. Lay out on a plate.
In a wok or large non-stick kadhai, take a teaspoon of sesame or groundnut oil and when it starts smoking, add the ginger and lightly crushed garlic cloves. When they start to brown lightly, add all the prepared vegetables except the spring onions and toss. Cook for just 2min. Pour in a dash of light and dark soy, balsamic vinegar and half a teaspoon of Wasabi paste. Sprinkle a teaspoon of brown sugar, salt to taste, and toss well. Add the vegetable stock or water, cover and cook for a few minutes. Make sure you do not overcook the vegetables otherwise they will become soggy and mushy.
Now add the cooked noodles and let them absorb the aromatic broth. Check seasoning and add salt, pepper or soy as desired. Add the spring onion greens right at the end and toss one last time.
Serve immediately in a large bowl.
The way I like it:
This is a great one pot meal that has to be slurped up hot and steaming. I personally like my broth spicy, so had added 1 whole tsp of Wasabi. But the poor husband had fumes coming out of his ears! So have reduced it to half a teaspoon here. You can use just about any vegetables or meat for this fragrant noodle broth - beans, mushrooms, chicken, prawns... You can also add a dash of lemon juice and some coriander for extra zing.