Archive for the ‘Asian’ Category

Asian Chicken Noodle Bowl

April 21, 2013

Spring seems to be on hold in Central Virginia, in the temperature department if not in the pollen department.  There’s enough chill in the air to warrant making soup and I had leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge.  A match made in heaven.  The varieties of chicken soup are endless and a promising recipe popped up in the May issue of Cooking Light.  Dinner done.

Asian Noodle Bowl

I mostly followed the recipe tonight except that for a few changes made in the interest of making things as easy as possible.  In that vein I used leftover rotisserie chicken; I bought pre-sliced mushrooms; I used jarred minced ginger; I added the sauteed aromatics to the soup instead of discarding them; and I cooked the pasta in the stock rather than bothering with a separate pot.  I recommend using all the short cuts you can.  The soup doesn’t suffer at all from them.

The flavors here are pretty complex for a soup.  It’s earthy and green and hot and sweet and salty.  The recipe calls it “kid-friendly,” but I’m not sure that’s the case.  There’s enough red pepper that the heat might be a problem for a lot of kids.  And I don’t know how your kids feel about mushrooms, but I don’t recall being excited about them until I was well beyond kid-hood.

This soup has taken the edge off of the chilly evening and taken chicken noodle soup to a whole new level.  I enjoyed every slurpy bite and drank the last of the broth right out of the bowl!

Good?  Very good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Good for comfort, not company
Special shopping? Nope.

Asian Chicken Noodle Bowl


4 ounces uncooked linguine
2 C chopped cooked chicken
1 t oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger, divided
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
1 cup water
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 1/4 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup sugar snap peas, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces (about 4 ounces)
6 green onions, cut diagonally
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


Heat chicken stock in a soup pot.

Heat pan to medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon garlic, and red pepper; cook 4 minutes. Add 1/2 C water; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add to stock pot. Bring to a boil.

Add pasta to stock and cook to nearly al dente.

While the pasta cooks heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sesame oil; swirl to coat. Add mushrooms; cook 6 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon ginger and 1 tablespoon garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add mushroom mixture, chicken, soy sauce, and sugar to stock mixture; bring to a simmer.

Stir in sugar snap peas; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in green onions and salt.


Pork Chops with Shiitake Mushrooms

July 19, 2012

I bet you thought I’d given up cooking.  Not so!  True, my kitchen time has been a little bit limited lately, but not nearly as limited as my time for writing about cooking.  So, I’m going to start with tonight’s dinner and then work my way back.  This is the world’s quickest dinner.  It takes about 3 minutes of chopping; six minutes on the pork chops; and five more to cook the shiitakes and the side of zucchini.  That makes it 15 minutes from the time you hit the kitchen to the time you pick up your fork to eat.  Not bad at all.

I have to thank the Ault’s for the pork chop; Steve Haas for the lovely mushrooms and Victory Farms for the green onions.  I get to pat myself on the back too because the zucchini came from my garden about three minutes before it went into the pan.  Yum!  I cheated a little on the sauce.  I put a little store bought ginger and soy dressing on the mushrooms and green onions and added just a little honey.  For the zucchini I deglazed the pork chop pan with a little water, added the squash and a little plain soy sauce.  Done.  Shiitakes and green onions are one of my favorite flavor and texture combinations:  chewy with crunchy, earthy with green.  So good.

Overall this was a perfectly good 15 minute, use what’s in the fridge meal.  My neighbor calls this “kitchen cooking.”  You just use whatever’s in the kitchen.  It’s a good way to use up what you have and if you know you can do it in 15 minutes it’s likely to keep you out of the drive through line too.

Good? Good.  Not spectacular, but absolutely good.
Easy? Beyond easy.
Good for company? Not so much, but if someone stops by unexpectedly it would work fine.
Special shopping? Nope. It’s kitchen cooking.

Pork Chops with Shiitake Mushrooms

9 ounces pork loin chop, cut into 3 servings
salt and pepper
1-2 cups fresh shiitakes, stemmed and sliced
3 green onions, sliced
2 tbsp ginger/soy dressing
1 tsp honey

1/4 water
1 zucchini diced
1 tsp soy sauce


Heat a heavy skillet. Salt and pepper both sides of the pork chop.
When the pan begins to smoke add the pork chop. Cook 3 minutes on each side. Remove from pan. Set aside to rest.

Add water to pan and stir. Add zucchini and soy sauce. Cook 3-5 minutes until zucchini is crisp tender.

In a smaller pan heat a little cooking spray. Add shiitakes and green onions. Add dressing and honey. Cook until mushrooms are soft.

Soy Honey Tuna Steaks

July 8, 2012

Another trip to the farmers’ market, another stop to see the guys at the Barham’s Seafood stand for tuna steaks.  I was actually hoping for some clams, but no such luck yesterday.  Still, the tuna was beautiful and they had some small steaks just right for a single portion.  A quick tour through and I came upon this recipe from Alton Brown.  Of course being Alton Brown it can’t be straightforward.  It has to require a chimney for cooking. Um, no.  I used the marinade and left the rest to serious grilling folk.

The marinade is unbelievable easy:  soy sauce, honey, wasabi.  I did use prepared wasabi because it was half the price of wasabi powder.  It’s clearly less potent in its prepared state.  I could have added quite a bit more to get some more kick out of it.  Still, the sweet/salty of the soy and honey was super good.  One caution, scrape as much marinade as possible off the tuna before you put it in the pan.  The honey will burn a little as the tuna sears.  If you have a lot of honey you’ll end up with a burned gummy mess and riun your beautiful tuna steaks.

The recipe recommends that you set some marinade aside for dipping sauce.  Unfortunately I forgot to do that.  It would have been yummy as a dipping sauce.  Instead I used the leftover marinade as a cooking sauce for a few vegetables.  I had some shiitakes, red pepper and green onions in the veggie drawer that were approaching the end of their little vegetable lives.  I sliced them and sauteed them in some sesame oil before adding some of the marinade.  I cooked them until the marinade was completely absorbed.  So good.  The shiitakes added a terrific earthiness to the salty/sweet of the marinade.

This is a marinade I would use again.  It would be great with shrimp, chicken or tofu.  With a little more wasabi and some seasonal vegetables its the makings of a wonderful stirfry.

Good? Quite good.
Easy? Definitely.
Good for company? Easy grilling for a small dinner party.
Special shopping? The fresher the tuna the better.

Soy Honey Tuna Steaks


1 pound fresh tuna steaks
1/4 C low sodium soy sauce
1/4 C honey
3 T wasabi


Mix soy, honey and wasabi in a bowl. Pour over tuna steaks. Marinate 1-8 hours.
Remove tuna from marinade and drain slightly.
Heat grill or heavy skillet.
Cook tuna 2 minutes on each side for rare.
Reserve the marinade to cook vegetables in if desired.

Panko Crusted Pork with Wasabi Ginger Soy Sauce

May 30, 2012

It’s been kind of a long day full of tedium.  I was in no mood to spend ages in the kitchen making dinner.  I thawed a couple of pork chops today so I knew I’d start with those.  My local farmers’ market is open on Wednesday evenings so I went by there and picked up what’s likely to be the last broccoli and brussels sprouts of the season.  It was starting to look like a stir fry night when I came across this recipe.  It’s a great alternative to stir fry and I was out of the kitchen in 20 minutes.  Success!

Panko, Japanese bread crumbs, makes a much lighter coating than regular bread crumbs.  With an egg white it was a nice light crust for the pork chops.   The key to a light, crispy crust is a little oil and a lot of heat.  Only a teaspoon of oil in the pan heated until it begins to smoke.  Having the pan that hot helps form the crust immediately.  If the pan isn’t hot enough the panko soaks up a lot of oil before the crust forms.  Just 4 minutes on each side.  One tip – turn the pork chops with tongs.  If you use a spatula you risk scraping all of the yummy coating off.

The sauce was light too.  No thickeners, just the bright flavor of the ginger with the salty soy sauce and a little heat from the wasabi. I didn’t have any green onions, which would have been really good.  Use the same pan that you used for the pork chops.  Let the sauce reduce just a little bit.  Done.  I served this with the broccoli and brussels sprouts, steamed and then sauteed in the half of the sauce that I didn’t pour over the pork chops.

Anything with a pan fried with a bread coating seems a little decadent.  This tastes a little decadent too. My only complaint is that I couldn’t really taste the wasabi. A little heat would have been nice. That’s easy enough to fix next time.  This recipe is quick, easy and versatile.  It would be just as good with chicken and maybe with tofu.  You could coat shrimp in the panko and serve the sauce on the side for appetizers.  You could do vegetables this way instead of in tempura batter.  Lots of possibilities.  Let me know what you come up with!

The good news is that there are just over 200 calories in one pork chop. Not much more in the broccoli and sprouts. You can have this for dinner and not feel the slightest bit guilty about having dessert too!

Good? Very good.
Easy? Incredibly easy.
Good for company? Sure.
Special shopping? You should be able to find wasabi paste in the Asian section of most grocery stores.

Panko Crusted Pork with Wasabi Ginger Soy Sauce


2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon bottled ground fresh ginger
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons sake or dry sherry
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon wasabi paste


Place panko in a shallow dish. Place egg white in another shallow dish. Dip pork in egg white; dredge in panko.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; add pork. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan; sprinkle with salt.

Reduce heat to medium. Add ginger to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Combine broth and the next 4 ingredients (through wasabi) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Spoon sauce over pork.

Chicken and Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

May 13, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day all!  This year I hosted the 3 Ms for Mother’s Day lunch (Mom, Mac and Missy – Missy is the dog).  The weather is nice and everyone is trying to watch what they eat so I was looking for something light, but filling.  Mom requested, “that shrimp dish you left in the fridge when we came to pick up Bridgette.”  Of course I had no idea what that was so I decided to incorporate some shrimp in whatever I picked and figure that would cover me.  Lettuce wraps are light and filling and fun so I decided on those.  I offered two fillings and two sauces. Yum!

The May issue of Cooking Light had a yummy recipe in the ‘Enlightened Vegetarian’ section.  I substituted ground chicken for tofu and added some shiitake mushrooms, but pretty much followed the recipe otherwise.  I’m sure the tofu would have been just fine, though I do recommend adding the mushrooms.  I did lay off the Siracha as my mom is very sensitive to spicy food.  I used a little chili-garlic sauce instead.  Just a little.  Oh, and I left out the rice.  You just don’t need it.  And I halved the sugar.  So maybe I didn’t follow the recipe so closely, but more or less.  For option 2  I pan seared some shrimp and made a separate lime-cilantro sauce for that.  I used the same ‘matchstick’ carrots and cucumbers and chopped cilantro for both. 

This comes together pretty easily.  I recommend that you do all your chopping ahead of time.  Once you start cooking things go pretty quickly.  Use the julienne function on the food processor for the vegetables.  I chopped all mine by hand and that was a huge pain.  Make the sauce first and set it aside.  It will be better at room temperature anyway.  If I’d had time to put the shrimp on skewers I would have grilled them.  That would have added a very nice flavor.  The pan searing was fine, but a little plain.  It picked up a little of the spice from the chicken filling, but not a ton.  I didn’t want a lot of that flavor because it wouldn’t have paired well with the lime sauce, but a little more would have been good.

The sauces were very good.  I love peanut sauce and this one is terrific.  It’s done on the stove so it thickens nicely.  You can always whisk in a little extra water if you let it simmer too long.  The other sauce started out as a lime salad dressing on Friday.  It was a little on the tart side so I added some extra olive oil to mellow out the citrus and then threw in fresh cilantro and minced ginger.  I added about 1/4 tsp of sugar to provide some balance.  Next time I’d use honey or brown sugar instead for a little depth of flavor.  Still it was good.  I whipped it all together with the stick blender so it took less than a minute to pull together.

You can put pretty much anything you like in a lettuce wrap and these two options are a nice place to start.  Enjoy!

Good? Very good.
Easy? Pretty easy.
Good for company? My company seemed to enjoy it.
Special shopping? Nope.

Chicken and Shrimp Lettuce Wraps


Peanut Sauce:
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 tablespoon minced onion
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
4 teaspoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Lime-Cilantro Sauce:
1/3 C olive oil
juice of 2 limes
2 T fresh cilantro
1/2 t sugar

1 pound ground chicken
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
6 thinly sliced green onions
2/3 C sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 cup matchstick-cut cucumbers
1 cup matchstick-cut carrots
8 lettuce leaves


1. To prepare peanut sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add canola oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add shallot, and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 1/3 cup water and next 3 ingredients (through red pepper), and stir with a whisk. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice. Set aside.
2. To prepare lime cilantro sauce blender all ingredients together until fully combined and creamy.
3. To prepare filling cook chicken in heavy skillet. Remove and set aside.
4. Add sesame oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add green onions; sauté 1 minute. Add chicken and mushrooms, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tablespoons cilantro, soy sauce, ginger, sugar, and chili-garlic sauce; sauté 1 minute. Remove from pan and keep warm.
5. Saute shrimp in skillet, 1-2 minutes on each side.
6. Spoon 1/2 cup chicken mixture and/or shrimp into each lettuce leaf. Top with carrots and cucumbers. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve with sauces.

Shrimp in Yellow Sauce

April 29, 2012

It’s been a day of cleaning closets, repairing stairs and generally trying to get things in order.  When I looked up it was 5:00 and I hadn’t thought one minute about dinner.  Clearly the plan was going to have to be something fast and easy.  I decided on some kind of shrimp dish with an Asian flair of some kind.  I took a quick look through and an equally quick trip to Kroger.  Shrimp in Yellow Sauce – it’s as easy to make as it sounds and twice as good.

I think only one substitution tonight.  I served it over rice noodles instead of brown rice.  I just love rice noodles and they take about a quarter the time of brown rice.  The recipe says that you combine the first several ingredients in a food processor to make a paste.  Two things about that.  First, this is a very small quantity of stuff so don’t get out your large food processor.  If you have a mini chopper use that.  It’s plenty big enough.  If you don’t have a little bitty food processor just chop everything as finely as you can (or grate it) and whisk it together in a small bowl.  Second, mine didn’t come out as a paste.  It’s much runnier than that.  It will reduce some when you simmer it before you add the coconut milk, but not a ton.  If you want to take the time you can always reduce it by half before you add the coconut milk, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Do use large shrimp. That will allow you a couple of extra minutes of cooking them in the sauce without ending up with rubbery shrimp.

This sauce is smooth as silk with a little salt, a little heat and a little citrus.  Throw in the sharpness of the ginger and the earthiness of the turmeric and you have a fantastic sauce that needs no extra salt or pepper.  It’s just right the way it is.  If you want more heat just use more of the chile paste.  The lite coconut milk is perfect in this.  Don’t bother adding the extra calories of the regular coconut milk.  I think that would make the sauce too thick.  The coconut milk gives the sauce a wonderful richness, but since it’s lite the sauce is light too.

One caution about serving this with rice noodles – there’s nothing elegant about eating it!  You might want a fork for eating the noodles, but you’ll also want a spoon for the sauce.  And if no one is looking you can always slurp up what’s left in the bottom of the bowl!

Good? Very good.  I could have eaten the whole pot.
Easy? Couldn’t be easier. This is a 15 minute dinner.
Good for company? As long as you’re okay having sauce on your chin in front of them!
Special shopping? Nope. Everything in your standard grocery store.

Shrimp in Yellow Sauce


Spice paste:
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 to 2 teaspoons sambal oelek (chile paste with garlic)
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 garlic cloves
2 shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Remaining ingredients:
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 cup light coconut milk
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Chopped cilantro (optional)


To prepare spice paste, combine first 9 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add spice paste to pan; sauté 1 minute or until fragrant. Add coconut milk and shrimp; simmer 4 minutes or until shrimp are done. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.
Serve with rice or rice noodles.

Brussels Sprouts with Sesame, Garlic and Ginger

April 12, 2012

The mission tonight was to use up the brussels sprouts, plain and simple.  I had leftover Butter Chicken for dinner so I was kind of shooting for something that would go with that.  I did use up the sprouts.  It didn’t really go with the Butter Chicken, but both were good so that’s close enough.

I made a substitution out of necessity that definitely detracted from the dish.  I didn’t have any sesame oil so I used sesame seeds instead.  It’s just not the same.  You don’t get the same flavor and you have little seeds all over your brussels sprouts.  It was ok, but next time I’d definitely do things differently.  One tip, if you’re using commercial chicken stock get the low sodium kind.  And low sodium soy sauce as well.  Otherwise this could get really salty. Oh, I left out the chopped onion too. After a day of cleaning and working in the yard I was just too tired to chop the onion.

These were good enough that I ate every last one of them tonight.  No leftovers.  Definitely worth trying again with the sesame oil.  You can never have enough different ways to cook brussels sprouts!

Good? Yes, good.  Not great, but good.
Easy? Definitely.
Good for company? Eh, maybe.
Special shopping? Nope.

Brussels Sprouts with Sesame, Garlic and Ginger


1 tablespoon oil
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1/4 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce


1. Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ginger, garlic, and onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add broth and Brussels sprouts; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer 6 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add green onions and soy sauce.

Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad

March 14, 2012

Another gorgeous day in Central Virginia – sunny and warm.  This is the kind of day that begs you to eat something light out on the patio for dinner.  I mostly managed the eating light thing, but by the time I got around to having dinner it was dark so no patio dinner for me.  I had two cups of roasted, diced chicken left from what I thawed to make the Chicken Tortilla Bake so the challenge was using that and not making soup!  This is an excellent twist on chicken salad.

Of course I didn’t follow the recipe exactly.  I left out the celery because I didn’t have any.  I left out the apples because I don’t like apples in savory dishes.  I added some cucumber to replace the apples.  I meant to add some diced red bell pepper, but I forgot.  Of course, when you’re making a salad the key is pretty much always the dressing.  This is a nice light one.  It has enough substance to stand up to the chunky chicken without being so heavy that it buries everything.  I used both peanut butter and tahini.  I substituted green onions for chives because that’s what I had.  I added some fresh ginger for a little bite.  I didn’t have any sesame oil or peanuts.  I think both would have been nice additions.  Oh, and I added some rice noodles – just because I love them.  So, I guess in the end this salad only kind of resembled the dish I started out to make, but I’m very pleased with the results.

I made the recommended amount of dressing, but used an extra 1/2 C chicken and added about 2 oz of rice noodles so my salad was more lightly dressed than the original recipe would be.  I think that’s a good thing.  It doesn’t really need more.  (Oddly enough the picture that accompanies the original recipe looks like they left off the dressing completely).  I think this can be a pretty versatile dish.  It’s intended to be chicken salad served on lettuce.  That would be good.  You could also stir fry the chicken, rice noodles and vegetables in the sauce.  That would be yummy.  I’d probably leave the cucumber out if I was serving it as a warm dish.  Without the rice noodles you could absolutely serve this in pita as a sandwich as well.  Lots of good things.

I give this a thumbs up.  And I better after it’s chilled overnight and the flavors have a chance to soak in it’ll get two thumbs up tomorrow!

Good? Very good.
Easy? Yep, if you leave out the rice noodles there’s no cooking at all.
Good for company? With the rice noodles it’s a little hard to eat with any grace at all, but without them it would make a lovely luncheon plate.
Special shopping? Nope. You can get everything in the Asian section of nearly any grocery store.

Crunchy Asian Chicken Salad


2 C diced cooked chicken
1 small can water chestnuts, chopped
1 C matchstick carrots
1 cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
2 green onions, chopped
2 oz rice noodles, cooked al dente

1/2 T peanut butter (I use Jif Natural)
1/2 T tahini
1 T rice vinegar
1 T low sodium soy sauce
1 1/2 T mayonnaise
1 t fresh ginger, minced


Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl. Mix.
In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad ingredients. Toss to coat.

Red Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Soup

January 27, 2012

And so we return to our regularly scheduled Soup Week!  The plan for tonight was to make Spicy Thai Coconut Chicken Soup from the Jan/Feb issue of Cooking Light.  A couple of things got in the way.  First, the crazy central Virginia weather has left me with a sinus headache that I cannot beat so I just wasn’t up to even a long-ish night in the kitchen. And more to the point, I went to the store to get coconut milk and fish sauce and came home with only coconut milk.  I blame it on the headache. I was already in an Asian soup kind of mood so I decided to wing it.

Here’s my shortcut tip for Asian soups that call for broth.  Go to your local Chinese take out place and get a quart of wonton soup, hold the wontons.  I often get wonton soup when I’m feeling kind of crummy so I just got an extra quart of broth today.  Genius.  Broth done.  Chicken done from earlier in the week.  Onions chopped earlier in the week.  Dinner came together in about 10 minutes.  My only complaint, just because I’m in no mood to clean the kitchen, is that it takes two pots to make it.  In one pot you make the coconut red curry sauce.  In the other you cook the rice noodles in the broth.  It gives the noodles a little flavor of their own.  Dump the contents of one pot into the other and voila!

This is really good soup. The coconut milk makes it creamy and a little sweet while the garlic, ginger and red curry paste give it a little bite and a little heat.  Some cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice at the end give it a bright and green finish.  Yum.  You know what my favorite thing about this soup is?  It’s comfort food without being ordinary.

Good? Yep.  the perfect thing for tonight.
Easy? About as easy as it comes.
Good for company? I almost never recommend noodle soups for company. There’s just no way to eat them with any elegance at all.
Special shopping? Everything should be in the Asian food section of any sizeable grocery store.

Red Coconut Curry Chicken Noodle Soup


1 quart wonton soup broth with green onions
rice noodle sticks, enough for 2 servings

1 T vegetable oil
1/2 C chopped onion
1 t minced fresh ginger
1 t minced fresh garlic
1 T red curry paste
1/2 can coconut milk (lite if you prefer)
1/2 C shredded chicken
2 T chopped fresh cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime


In one pot bring the wonton broth to a boil. Add the rice noodle sticks. Cook to al dente.
While the noodles cook heat the oil in another pot. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, red curry paste. Saute 2-3 minutes. Make sure the curry paste is fully incorporated. Stir in the coconut milk. Add the chicken.
When the noodles are soft add the noodles and broth to the coconut milk mixture. Stir until combined.
Add cilantro and lime juice just before serving.
Makes 2 main dish servings.

Thai Coconut Curry with Shrimp and Crispy Tofu

November 17, 2011

Tofu Week in One Woman’s Kitchen has turned out to be ‘tofu couple of days,’ but I’m trying.  I had a bunch of ‘halves’ leftover from the Sweet Potato Korma from earlier in the week – half a package of tofu, half a can of coconut milk, half a bunch of cilantro.  Then I had half a package of rice noodles from some other time.  Time to use them up.  In this case four halves add up to a really good dinner for a cold and damp night.  Really yummy!

When I started thinking about adding tofu to a curry sauce I had this fear that tofu with coconut milk sauce on it would just be slimy.   Gross.  So I seared the tofu in a little oil first, making ‘crispy tofu.’  I added the shrimp for good measure in case the tofu was yucky.  I had a bag of frozen shrimp and this seemed like a perfectly good use for it.  The sauce is pretty standard:  onion, ginger, garlic, red curry paste and coconut milk.  Normally there would also be some fish sauce to add a briny element, but I didn’t have any so a significant amount of low sodium soy sauce had to suffice.  It worked out fine.  Finish with some green onions and cilantro and voila!  Dinner!

Turns out that crisping the tofu was a very good choice.  In the end the texture of the tofu wasn’t that far off of the texture of the shrimp so we’ll call that a success.  It’s a lite coconut milk so that flavor is subtle, but it makes the feel of the sauce really creamy.  Next time I’d want to be sure that I had the fish sauce.  It’s just a different kind of salty from the soy sauce.  Using the soy sauce was good, but it takes a fair amount to get enough salt to punch up the silky sauce.  And with the soy it would have been nice to have a little lime juice for some acidity.  I didn’t have that either.  Still, it was a dish worth making and worth making again.

My only complaint about this dish is that there were lots of dishes involved in the cooking of something that’s served as a one bowl meal.  Very annoying.  There’s one pot for the rice noodles; one pot for the shrimp; and one pot for the sauce.  If you use fresh shrimp you can eliminate the pot for boiling the frozen shrimp.  On the positive side this came together with pretty much no planning and using a bunch of leftover ingredients.  Speaking of leftovers, I think they’re going to be great.  A curry sauce like this is often better the second day. 

I wouldn’t normally serve a dish like this at a dinner party, but it’s a great choice for a weeknight get together.  Quick, easy, warm and yummy.  I might be getting the hang of this tofu thing!

Good? Yes, very good.
Easy? Let’s call it intermediate because of the multiple things going on at once.
Good for company? Not fancy company, but otherwise yes.
Special shopping? Nope. Maybe not stuff you keep in the house, but easy enough to get at any grocery store.

Thai Coconut Curry with Shrimp and Crispy Tofu


2 T vegetable oil
6-8 oz Crispy Tofu
6 oz. frozen medium shrimp
6-8 oz narrow rice noodles
1/2 t minced garlic
1/2 t minced ginger
1 C diced sweet onion
3/4 t red curry paste
7 oz. lite coconut milk
1/4 C low sodium soy sauce
3 T chopped green onions
3 T chopped fresh cilantro


Crispy Tofu

Slice extra firm tofu into 1/2 inch slices. Place slices between 2 layers of paper towels and place a weight on it to squeeze out excess liquid. (I used a cast iron skillet). Let sit 15-20 minutes. Dice the tofu into cubes.
Add vegetable oil to a deep saute pan and heat until it just begins to smoke. Add the tofu. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side, until tofu is golden brown. Remove from the pan.

Noodles and Shrimp
Cook noodles and shrimp in separate pots according to the package directions. Be careful not to overcook the noodles and shrimp while you are making the curry sauce.

Coconut Curry Sauce
Make the sauce while the noodles and shrimp are cooking.
Using the oil from crisping the tofu saute the onion, ginger and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the red curry paste. Stir until the paste is fully incorporated.
Add coconut milk and heat to a simmer. Stir in soy sauce.
Add in cooked noodles and shrimp.
Remove from heat. Add the green onions and cilantro.