It’s Foodie Tuesday!
What’s your comfort food? I’m a total carb addict, so noodles are what I often turn to in order to soothe my soul. I usually whip up some pasta with tomato sauce or maybe gooey mac n’ cheese when I’m at home but when I crave something like pho or yakisoba, I head out to a restaurant.
I don’t know why I am hesitant to make these dishes; most large grocery stores stock both a wide variety of Asian noodles and the necessary condiments to recreate them at home. It’s not like I have to make the noodles by hand, which really is an art:
Video: Chef Danny Yip Makes Noodles
My favourite noodles are soba, thin strands of pasta made with buckwheat flour. Despite the delicate texture, they have a hearty taste and texture. Unfortunately, Japanese restaurants in North America rarely offer many soba dishes; one might find a cold salad of noodles tossed with vegetables or a hot soup of noodles in broth but that’s about it.
As much as I love the nutty flavour of soba, sometimes I miss the toothsome texture of a thicker noodle. This is when I turn to udon, another Japanese noodle. In addition to its larger size, udon is made with regular wheat flour and therefore has a much more neutral flavour profile. Like soba noodles, udon are traditionally served both cold and hot, and often in a broth. When I start to come down with a cold, I crave miso soup instead of chicken noodle. I will have to try New Asian Cuisine’s recipe for Udon Miso Noodle Soup the next time I start to feel poorly.
In China, rice noodles are more common and these have spread to several other parts of Asia. One dish that I have heard about from foodie traveler friends is Char Kway Teow (“Stir-fried Ricecake Strips”), which is popular in the night markets of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore.
Flat rice noodles are stir-fried with sausage, seafood, and egg; I think this would be the perfect street-snack after having a few drinks. Since we don’t have night markets in Louisville, I will have to try to make it at home. The Chinese sausage might be a challenge but MasterChef Australia contestant Poh Ling Yeow has a recipe that is otherwise fairly easy to put together in the home kitchen.
Rice noodles are also the star in Vietnamese pho, a soup made with either beef or chicken. The broth is fragrant with spices (including cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, and cloves) and brightened with fresh cilantro and mint. When you need a sensory pick-me-up, this dish is the one try. Steamy Kitchen’s recipe isn’t the easiest but I bet it produces a fantastic pho.
My other go-to comfort food? Chocolate. I’m not sure that I am ready to mix my two faves but if you are braver than I am, you can try Seattle Chocolate’s Ramen Noodle Bar, a mix of uncooked ramen and dark chocolate or the even bolder Savory Ramen, with onion, garlic, and soy sauce added to the mix.
Image: Simply Reem
This winter, when the going gets tough, this girl will be going for the noodles. Who’s with me?