NoodleFilter: Recipie Request
April 1, 2005 6:21 AM   Subscribe

NoodleFilter: I like noodles, spicy food and tasty, thick sauces. However, any time I cook noodles at home, they usually end up as noodle flavoured with a hint of nothing, never really the tasty noodle dish I'm aiming for. What are your favourite noodle recipies? What's your special hint for making a really tasty sauce to drown my noodles in?
posted by gaby to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Rather than any particular recipe, I think you want to consider how you prepare the ones you have been making. Did you short yourself on oil? That will tend to emphasize the noodle flavor over the sauce. You can try a sauce of peanuts, some peanut oil, asian peppers (lots of them) a little mirin and salt if you want a recipe. Adjust ingredient proportions to taste.
posted by caddis at 6:58 AM on April 1, 2005

I like boiling my noodles in water seasoned with fish powder. Then I add some Sambal Oelek, sesame oil and traditional brewed soy sauce. Simple, quick and very tasty.
posted by Otis at 7:02 AM on April 1, 2005

You could try making a thai style green paste - from memory (but I have a cook book I could dig up if you are interested), you take the following and crush them in a pestle and mortar: galangai (available from chinese supermarkets but not many other places), 4 or 5 shallots, a teaspoon of fresh ginger, similar amounts of garlic, as many chillis as you want, a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of sugar. Fry this up with your veggies or meat, add the noodles, then add some coconut cream to make it a bit more saucy.
posted by handee at 7:09 AM on April 1, 2005

Ooops - i forgot the lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves.
posted by handee at 7:10 AM on April 1, 2005

No matter the recipe, you want the noodles to absorb the flavour; you can't just put a sauce on them and think they won't taste like noodles. Get them going in the pan with the sauce for a little bit, and don't put oil on them first as that keeps them from absorbing anything.
posted by transient at 7:21 AM on April 1, 2005

My usual noodle method is to boil a kettle and fill a dish with the boiled water, then throw the noodles into that for 15 minutes, until they're all soft. Whilst they're cooking off I can assemble a sauce, or some veg, in a wok, cook that up then throw the noodles in when they're ready and serve piping hot.

handee: That thai green paste sounds delicious, but what is galangai? I've not heard of that... Also, I won't be able to meet you for a drink today, I may still be working... :)

transient, I normally avoid putting oil on noodles anyway, I try to cut down on the amount of oil I use these days.
posted by gaby at 7:38 AM on April 1, 2005

I'm sure handee's fresh recipe is better, but one can just buy a tub of Thai curry paste, enough to make many dozens of meals, for $3-4 at any asian grocery store. I like Mae Ploy brand and keep several varieties in my fridge.
posted by bradhill at 8:17 AM on April 1, 2005

Galanga (galangal/galangai) is a kind of ginger root. What I meant was that you could try taking the noodles out of the water when they're still a bit tough, and finish cooking them in the sauce.
posted by transient at 8:47 AM on April 1, 2005

transient is right... finish cooking the noodles in the sauce...
posted by HuronBob at 10:42 AM on April 1, 2005

Get some Cincinnati style chili.
posted by Dick Paris at 11:51 AM on April 1, 2005

I second Handee's suggestion of doing it yourself; homemade is, imho, usually far superior to MaePloy&tc which, unfortunately, always makes me think of cat food. I would suggest adding shrimp paste to the paste as this gives it the requisite salty/earthiness.
posted by docgonzo at 12:29 PM on April 1, 2005

I use this cookbook. I just love it.
posted by picklebird at 1:41 PM on April 1, 2005

How do you feel about peanut butter? There are lots of chinese variations of spicy peanut and sesame sauce on noodles. In the summer you have it cold.. the sauce is a little more runny. In the winter, there's nothing better than a bowl of hot noodles with thick gooey sauce all over.

You'll need:
peanut butter (i think crunchy is better)
sesame paste
soy sauce
chili (something you love. sambal oelek or sriracha works well)
vinegar (white distilled)
sesame oil

Start by mixing the peanut butter with some hot water to break it down. Then you just add all the other ingredients till you get the right consistency/flavor. There are tons of variations depending on the region in china. For cold noodles, it's great to mix with cold chopped cucumber strips and thinly shredded chicken.
posted by mileena at 1:56 PM on April 1, 2005

Good lord, I'm hungry now! Thanks for all the great suggestions!
posted by gaby at 2:20 PM on April 1, 2005

Re: peanut butter. I would think that natural (non-hydrogenated) would be best - it's most peanut-y.

I like red curry paste from a jar, cocunut milk, brown sugar, kaffir lime leaves, and possibly a little pineapple. Somehow the sweetness enhances the spiciness.

You can dress it up with ginger or galangai or peppers. It works over noodles, chicken, or tofu. Add some chili sauce or chili garlic sauce if you want.
posted by mai at 4:26 PM on April 1, 2005

If you go to a Chinese grocery, you'll find some very spicy ramen-noodle concoctions. I know this is really low-brow after the actual cookery presented above, but it is noodles.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:05 PM on April 1, 2005

As was already mentioned, don't start your noodles/pasta with oil. And in that same vein, add some salt to your noodles while they are cooking in water. That seems to help them capture the flavor of sauces and oils once they are combined.

Have you tried spighetti aglio olio? Just heat olive oil in a sauce pan add crushed garlic and quicky stir-fry the cooked spighetti. Add salt and pepper and it's absolutely fantastic. After that, you can do all kinds of things like adding sun dried tomatoes etc.
posted by snsranch at 5:14 PM on April 1, 2005

Dan Dan Mian. Yum yum eat'm up. mileena's peant butter one above would be good too, esp with crunchy pb.
posted by mono blanco at 5:53 PM on April 1, 2005

Try this with thin egg noodles (chow mein-style in Australia - no idea what they're called in the US):

Heat some peanut oil. Add a pound of ground pork, fry til just brown. Add some healthy sloshes of Thai sweet chilli sauce (I like the kind that's falvoured with ginger) and the same of fish sauce. Add the blanched noodles and stir til coated in the sauce - add more fish sauce and chilli sauce if there's not enough to make it just juicy. Stir through some finely chopped Asian greens, a bunch of cilantro, a couple of fresh chiles and a couple of handfuls of chopped salted peanuts.

Ken Hom's take on the Korean favourite japchae is pretty good - it tastes the same as what I get in my local Korean-run restaurant, anyway. I usually make it without beef, though. (Ignore that picture - they're not bean thread noodles.) The combination of sesame, mushrooms and pepper is fantastic.

And you can't go past chicken vermicelli. Those NT mob leave out the Chinese mushrooms, though - make sure you do it proper Murri style with lots of soaked sliced black fungus!
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:31 AM on April 2, 2005

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