One of the traditions that the Chinese follow on Lunar New Year is to eat noodles because they symbolize longevity in life. I love a good superstitious tradition and will be consuming noodles within the next fifteen days in an attempt to prolong my life. You can too if you make this vegetarian side dish to serve during your Asian inspired feast. These noodles work great when paired with fish or as a small first course before a heartier beef and rice dish. Although it's not picnic season, I like to pack Asian noodle dishes to serve at my picnics. The noodles travel well, pair perfectly with a salmon salad sandwich, and are a pleasant surprise to your guests who will be expecting potato salad. Whether you make it today or save it for later, this recipe is worth adding to your collection so
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
3 large shallots, thinly sliced
3 Thai chiles, minced
3 stalks of fresh lemongrass, inner bulbs only, thinly sliced
1/4 cup minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup Asian fish sauce
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup snow peas
1 pound thin dried Chinese egg noodles or spaghettini
1 small red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
1 cup chopped napa cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrot
- In a large, deep skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic, shallots, chiles, lemongrass and ginger and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the aromatics are softened and golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add the brown sugar and coriander and cook until the sugar is melted, about 20 seconds.
- Add the coconut milk and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes.
- Transfer to a food processor and blend until pureed. Blend in the lime juice and fish sauce. Scrape the sauce into a glass measuring cup and season with salt and pepper. Leave the skillet on the stove.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the snow peas and blanch until bright green, about 40 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a plate to cool.
- Add the noodles to the pot and cook, stirring, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.
- Add 1 cup of the curry sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer over moderate heat.
- Add the noodles, snow peas, red pepper, cabbage and carrot and toss well to thoroughly coat the noodles with the sauce.
- Add some of the reserved cooking water if the noodles seem dry. Season with salt and pepper and serve right away.
Make ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.