Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thai Basil Noodles

I saw some thai basil in the chinese market the other day and bought it. Today was the day to cook it up, so I found this recipe. The original recipe involves dirtying a lot of pots and pans which isn't really necessary so I tried to consolidate the steps here so I will only dirty 1 big pot and 1 skillet next time I make it. I really liked the asian spin on pesto. I cut down the oil and butter a lot from the original recipe and it was still very excellent. Here are some modifications I would make next time:

Thai Basil Noodles

-- serves 2
  • 5 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3/8 cup (6 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 4 tablespoons white sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 block tofu, cut up into 1/2 inch squares
  • About 1/2 pound assorted vegetables: carrots, broccoli (stems are fine), bell peppers, etc., peeled and sliced thinly. (this time I used 1 carrot, 1/2 red bell pepper, 1 portabella mushroom, and 3 big stalks chinese brocolli, and I thought it could have used double the veggies)
  • 1/2 pound 1/4-inch-wide dried rice noodles, soaked in hot water until softened and drained
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • rooster sauce or other spicy asian sauce you like

1. Put 1 tablespoon oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally,until the garlic turns golden, about 10 minutes; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, combine the lime juice and sugar in a cup and microwave about a minute and stir until sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the basil and mint leaves in a metal strainer for easy removal. As soon as the leaves turn a dark green, pull the leaves out of the water. Drain and purée in a blender with the sesame seeds, cooked garlic, salt, and 1-2 Tablespoons oil (or more to get the consistency you want). (This herb paste will keep, refrigerated, for 2 days.) (ALT: can just make the herb paste like pesto using uncooked garlic and unblanched herbs, it is a little better if you cook it beforehand but not hugely)
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet, add tofu cubes and fry until brown on all sides. Salt and set aside. 
5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a skillet over high heat (can use same one in step 1). Add the vegetables and some salt and cook, tossing, just until brightly colored. Keep warm.
6. Cook the noodles in large pot of water (same one as step 3) until tender, 30 seconds. Drain and transfer to a large skillet set over high heat with the butter and lime syrup; add salt to taste and cook, tossing, until well mixed and creamy. Add in vegetables, tofu, and basil-mint sauce to taste and toss. Garnish with the sesame seeds and some rooster sauce, and serve.

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