Sunday, 24 June 2012

Indonesian? Thai? Japanese?

Actually all three. When the Bali vacation hangover refuses to leave you alone and when you stubbornly decide to appease it with Indonesian food, there is always the reality check of the local supermarket. All Asian ingredients on one rack (as if Indian is not Asian!) . Thai flat rice noodles it is. I set out making this with no concrete recipe in mind. Only the general direction of the flavour I wanted to get (East). The result was the pleasant surprise shown below. A fairly non-fussy meal to whip up even at the end of a tiring day at work.

You will need:
- Thai flat rice noodles (sticks)
- one Onion
- two medium Carrots
- two small Peppers of any colour (capsicum)
- one inch piece Ginger 
- four large leaves of Basil (yes.. it's from the back yard :))
- three cloves of Garlic
- eight Black Peppercorns (lesser for a milder taste)
- Red chilly flakes (can be left out for milder taste)
- one tablespoon crunchy Peanut butter
- two heaped teaspoons of Red miso paste
- Rock salt
- two tablespoons Sesame oil
- two fairly hungry or three mildly hungry people

Thinly slice the vegetables. Chop ginger fine, snip basil leaves and put them in a mortar along with the pepper corns, peeled garlic cloves, some rock salt and chilly flakes if using. Do not crush yet! Keep the miso paste and peanut butter our of the fridge. 
Now, here is a thing about peanut butter. You could either purchase the jar that the supermarket sells, of which you never checked the ingredients label or for literally a third of the price you could get peanut butter by running roasted peanuts with two teaspoon of any oil in your blender. Yes! This is all that peanut butter actually is.
Back to the noodles.

Start making:
Use a wide wok (kadai) as you have quite some tossing and stirring to do. Heat the oil and add onions, carrots and the peppers in that order at intervals of just half a minute. Plop in the peanut butter and the red miso paste and stir well to coat all the vegetables. Add a tablespoon or two of water to loosen the paste to better coat the veggies. You can adjust the water at this point. You don't want a very runny sauce. Reduce the flame to the least possible. In a separate pot, pour hot (not boiling) water on the rice noodles and let them cook. Rice noodles don't need to be cooked on flame. Crush your spices in the mortar with a pestle now. The veggies would be just done. Stir the spice mix into the sauce and adjust the salt to taste. Turn off the flame quickly. Drain the noodles and toss them with the sauce in the wok. Thai noodles in peanut and red miso sauce. Bon appetit! 

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