Friday, October 29, 2010

Rajma Rice

Beans are a godsend when one is trying to cut carbohydrates from the diet. When rice is a major part of the diet and the bulk of cooking involves making dishes to be eaten with rice, cutting out rice is not an easy task. Reducing the quantity of rice is a bad idea, after a while hunger strikes and gorging on something from the pantry is even worse.

Beans offers a good way out in reducing simple carbohydrates like rice. Increasing protein in the diet in the form of beans and lentils seem to do the trick. Soaking beans a couple of nights a week has become a habit now. They get added to vegetables, rice and sometimes even sambhar. To counteract the flatulence problem I use ginger liberally. Another important thing to note is to not use the soaked water and to rinse the beans at least a couple of times after soaking. I usually discard the water in which the beans were cooked as well.

A few days ago I soaked Red Kidney Beans as I have been having Rajma dreams. The traffic in the evening had other things on mind. Backup on the roads for no apparent reason and I was late,tired and frustrated with half a mind to store away the soaked beans for a later date. It was doable if I switched Rajma and rice to e Rajma rice. Thus was born a one pot meal which made the whole family happy.

Rajma Rice
1. 1 1/2 Cups of Red Kidney beans soaked overnight rinsed and set aside
2. 1 1/2 Cups of Basmati rice (or any rice of choice)
3. 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
4. 4-5 garlic cloves sliced
6. 1/2 cup tomatoes chopped fine
6. 2 tbsp grated ginger (don't skimp on the ginger folks!)
7. 2 tsp of cumin powder + 1 tsp turmeric powder
8. 1/2 tbsp of red chili powder (substitute with sliced green chilies)
9. a handful of coriander leaves chopped
10. seasonings: cumin seeds and curry leaves
11. salt to taste
12. 1-2 tsp of oil

1. In a sauce pan add the beans and cover them with water and let it cook for 8-10 minutes, for enough time till they are ready to be added to the rice. The intent is to cook them partially so they finish cooking with the rice
2. In a pressure cooker heat oil and add the seasonings let them be for a few seconds
3. Add the onions and saute till they are translucent, add in the ginger and garlic and saute till the onions start to brown
4. Add in the chili,cumin powders and turmeric powders and mix it in
5. Now add the tomatoes and cook till they are mushy and soft, add in the coriander leaves
6. Add in the rice to the onion mixture, and also drain the beans and set it aside
7. Set the water for the rice to boil on the side (this is not a required step just speeds up the cooking process)
7. Saute the rice, add salt and the required amount of (boiling) water and when the mixture comes to a boil, close the cooker lid and let it cook in medium heat for 8 minutes.
8.Let the cooker cool completely and fluff up the rice

Serve with raita of choice.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Corn and Rice spiced with dal powder(Podi rice) - perfect lunch box dish

Evenings are always busy but somedays are worse than others. With no mood to eat outside, being able to whip something quick is just the thing needed. Having idli/dosai batter ready is a blessing on such days. A minmal work tomato mashers or a quick sambhar and dinner is ready.

This solves the dinner problem but opens up a lunch problem. Not being fond of eating out and the time wasted in driving to get lunch means not able to leave on time and the snowballing effect is no fun. Like lemon rice, this flavored rice with idli podi is a nice one to have up your sleeve. Adding corn, green peas or some cooked black channa are all ways to make this a perfect one pot meal.
Make sure you cook the rice the previous day just before going to bed for a quick finish in the morning.

Moreover this is a dish that the whole family enjoys. The kids like anything with Podi. So 4 happy lunch boxes are ready in 15 minutes tops.

Corn and Rice Spiced with dal powder
1. 1 1/2 Cups of Basmati rice - cooked so that each grain is separate (add a few drops of oil to the water
2. 1 cup of frozen corn
3. 1/2 cup of chopped onions
4. 1 tsp of red chili powder or pepper powder
5. seasoning 2 tsp of split urad dal, mustard seeds and curry leaves
6. 2-3 heaped tbsp of Idli Podi
7. salt to taste
8. 3/4 - 1 tbsp of sesame oil
9. 1-2 tbsp of roasted unsalted peanuts

1. Cook and cool the Basmati rice
2. In a wide mouthed pan heat 1-2 tsp of oil, add the urad dal and when it starts to brown add the mustard seeds and when it pops add the curry leaves
3. Add the onions and saute till they are translucent and starting to brown
4. Add the corn, chili powder and salt, cover with a lid and cook for about 3-4 minutes till the corn is cooked and the water has completed evaporated
5.Add the rice and mix it in well
6.Now sprinkle the idli powder and drizzle in the sesame oil. Mix well so all the rice is well coated. Add salt after tasting
7.Sprinkle in the peanuts if using

Along with some potato chips a scrumptious lunch is ready.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Green Beans with besan

Gossip! What is the instant reaction when you hear the word? Over the years my opinion about gossip has undergone several iterations and as of now the predominant feeling about it is one of well being.

The dictionary meaning for the word,
gossip - idle talk or rumor about the private affair of others
gossip - light familiar talk or writing

It is the second meaning I am talking about here.

Don't jump to the conclusions that I am some sort of gossip queen in the mold of desperate house wives as in the first meaning. I am not just about to convince everybody that vicious, hurtful gossip is a good thing.

On other hand, harmless friendly gossip gives a sense of belonging and happiness. It is social networking the old fashioned way. In societies where socialization gets top billing (read Indian society) people are healthier and generally more happy and less prone to getting sick. I am not making this up, there is research to back it up. In the same vein people with extended families are less prone to depression and isolation.

I heard on the radio (where else but NPR) that touching decreases stress hormones and increases the hormone oxytocin which is supposed to calm people. And rightfully also called cuddle hormone.

I have rarely heard of people feeling depressed in India especially women compared to the West where everyone has feelings of depression in some form or the other. The loneliness is what gets people here in the West methinks. I might be completely wrong about the prevalence of depression in India due lack of mental health counseling and the reason perhaps why it is not obvious.

Seeing a friendly neighbor on the way to the door, stopping and chatting (or gossiping) about what is going on with folks - whose daughter or son is getting married, going off to college, who is expecting a child or grandchild. Talk that helps release yes you got it the cuddle hormone. It has definitely made me feel better. The happiness when your friend stops by for an impromptu chat? Is there anything better?

We all know of the well connected friend whom we call to get information about where to get the tastiest and the cheapest samosas for the upcoming party, the best dance teacher or the best voice coach or whatever. How do you think she gets her information?

What is your opinion about gossip? Do you think I am completely bonkers or there is some truth to it? Please do share, we are all ears :)

Now to the recipe,
Let me let you in on a gossip, keeping sambhar powder handy a tasty curry is never too far. If you do not have sambhar powder handy feel free to use red chili powder. Tomatoes give a slightly sour and moist feel to the curry you, leave it out if you do not want it.

Green beans with besan
1. 2 cups of green beans chopped
2. 1/2 cup of finely cut onions
3. 1 tbsp of grated ginger
4. 3 slightly tart tomatoes chopped (or + 1/2 tbsp amchur powder)
5. 1 tbsp sambhar powder
6. 2 tbsp besan
7. 1 tsp ajwain
8. seasonings: cumin seeds, curry leaves, mustard seeds
9. salt to taste

1. In a wide mouthed pan add a few drops of oil along with besan and roast till it becomes golden color, set aside to cool
2. I a pan heat oil and add the seasonings and ajwain, let the mustard seeds splutter
3. Add in the onions and let it turn translucent
4. Add the sambhar powder and saute for a second
5. Add the tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy
6. Now add in the beans and salt, saute for a few minutes and if required add a 1/4 cup of water, cover the lid and let it cook for 8-10 minutes till the beans are soft
[Here it depends on personal choice if you like the beans to be crunchy cook for a little less time if you like it softer cook for a bit longer)
6. Open the lid and let the water evaporate completely
7. Sprinkle in the roasted besan and let it coat the beans, add another tsp of oil at this stage and saute for 4-5 minutes till well roasted

Serve as a side for rice or chapathi.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Raw banana in yogurt coconut sauce

Weeknight dinners are the hardest when you are tired and especially towards the end of the week when the choice of vegetables is very lean. I had a couple of raw bananas or more accurately plantains and went looking for a recipe. I was searching for curry than a side dish though this raw banana stir fry is what I make most often and can be served either as a snack or a meal side but not what I wanted that day.

I found this Raw Banana Curry on Mane Adige and it was perfect for what I was looking for. Other than the blending the rest happens very quickly.

Hyacinth bean flowers

Raw banana in Yogurt coconut sauce
1. 2 raw banana or green plantains boiled and chopped into small dice (cut the banana in half with the peel and steam cook for 6-8 minutes, cool, peel and dice)
2. 2 tbsp grated fresh/frozen coconut
3. 5-6 green chilies + 1 dried red chili
4. 1 small piece of ginger (optional)
5. 1 tsp cumin seeds
6. 2 tsp coriander seeds
7. a small piece of asfoetida
8. 1 tsp mustard seeds
9. 2 cups of whisked slightly sour yogurt
11. salt to taste
12. 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder
13. 1 tsp of oil
43. seasoning: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves

1. Blend the coconut, chilies, cumin, coriander seeds and asfoetida to a slightly coarse paste
2. In the meantime powder the mustard seeds in a coffee grinder and add it to the coconut blend and give it one more spin and set aside
3. In a pan heat oil and add the seasonings
4. Add the cooked chopped raw banana pieces along with the turmeric powder and saute for a minute
5. Add the coconut paste a cup of water and let it cook till the raw smell leaves
6. Add salt, switch off the heat and let it cool a bit (this is to avoid the yogurt from curdling)
7. Add in the whisked yogurt mix it in as you are adding the yogurt

Serve with rice. They tasted great with chapatis too. Some of my colleagues had them like soup and loved it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Methi (Fenugreek) leaves Chutney - Vendaya keerai chutney

Methi leaves - What goes on in your mind when you see some fresh leaves in the store? Usually methi parathas or methi dal is what is dancing in my head. To tell you the truth methi leaves is almost a foreign product for me. I have only seen and tasted them after coming here to the US and assuming it was some sort of 'North Indian' green. Don't jump to conclusions regarding my 'green' credentials. I was familiar with amaranth leaves (thandu keerai), nightshade leaves (manathakkali keerai) the two most popular ones and several others like agathi keerai (SESBANIA GRANDIFLORA), murungai keerai (drumstick leaves) but methi leaves, nope never heard of them or tasted them.

So the last time we were my maternal grandmother's village I saw a bunch of methi leaves and was very curious to find out what my grandma was going to whip up. Nope it was not methi paratha :) We helped pluck the leaves from the stem and during lunch some really delicious chutney was served. Expecting to taste bitterness we were surprised with just a hint of bitterness which heightened the taste. Now it is one of my favorite ways to cook methi. Substitute any green for the recipe if you do not have methi leaves handy.

The measurements are approximate and just guideliness, using less of one ingredient or another is OK.

Methi leaves chutney - Vendaya keerai chutney
1. 1 cup (more or less) of methi leaves loosely packed(remove the leaves from the stems) and washed thoroughly
2. 1/2 tbsp of urad dal + 1/2 tbsp of channa dal
3. 2 tbsp of grated coconut (increase the onion and urad dal if you want skip coconut)
4. 1/4 cup of red onion or shallots or small onions
5. a small piece of tamarind
6. 3-4 red chilies
7. few coriander and cumin seeds (optional)
8. salt to taste
9. 1 tsp of oil

1. In a pan heat the oil add the urad dal followed by the coriander, cumin and red chilies and saute till the dal turns color, set aside
2. Add the onions and saute till they start to turn brown
3. Add the leaves and saute till they start to wilt
4. Towards the end add the grated coconut and salt and saute for a minute. Cool.
5. Blend adding as little water as possible (smooth or slightly coarse is upto you)

Mixed with rice and a side of some crispy vadagams(Indian style rice based chips) or potato chips

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blog Action Day - 2010

I heard on the radio the other day that the in the future the availability of drinking water is not the problem but the distribution.

One billion people with no access to drinking water, polluted rivers or loss of drinkable water due to rising sea levels is not what I am going to talk about but the biggest culprits of some of the severe environmental degradation. Big business and the exploitation and utter disregard for the planet through which they derive most of their profits is what gets my goat.

There are more environmental refugees today than war refugees. This number is steadily increasing as natural calamities are becoming more frequent and more severe. Natural disasters on one hand and man made greed induced disasters on the other hand. People driven out of their ancestral lands by businesses with support from politicians. (Source: The Refugees of the Blue Planet - An excellent documentary which we caught by chance on one of our local TV channels albeit a sad one as most documentaries of this nature tend to be)

People who were self sufficient living off their lands are made to eke out a living once their lands are acquired. Indiscriminate pesticide, chemical usage all further adversely affect an already exploited population.

We learn from an early age how water is essential for life. Many of us are also intimately familiar with the loss of a familiar way of life because of the lack of rainfall and more importantly water. What was once a prestigious way to make a living is considered a fool's errand today. Besides economic factors the most important reason for moving away from a family farm is the difficulty in getting water.

Businesses take most blame for polluting ground water thereby putting the lives of many in jeopardy. As individuals we offer implicit support to many of these companies by buying their products. Coke and Pepsi are responsible for polluting underground water in many countries among communities with no wherewithal to fightback. How many of us think of the need to boycott products from such companies. Unfortunately very few.

The environmental crimes that Oil and Natural gas companies have committed is too many to keep track of. Would that stop us from driving our vehicles?

Unscrupulous businesses on one hand, 'evil' politicians on the other hand have joined hands to exploit people. Don't be mistaken evil regimes run by despots are not the only villains here, rich western democracies are no different when it comes to exploiting their people and land. Politicians in cahoots with big business have set the agenda for a long time in the US, so much so there are some politicians who go to great lengths to deny Climate Change. Conservative God Loving politicians!!!

Ground water is the first victim in any business development. There will be byproducts to dispose and mixing them into the river the easiest way to dispose of them.

As consumers we have been implicit in these crimes by big businesses by buying their products without giving second thought to the sacrifices someone had to make by giving over their land, having their water ways polluted or a way of life destroyed.

We can make a choice to make a difference by voting with our pocket books. Boycott companies that we know for sure pollute and exploit people in the farthest corner of the world.

"If everyone lived the way North Americans do we would need 5 planets!"
Not only Americans, people anywhere in the world who thoughtlessly spend without any thought to the sacrifices someone else had to make are all responsible.

Can we make a difference, of course we can. Stop patronizing businesses who are unscrupulous. In a small way we all tiny clogs in this planet can make a difference for a simpler better tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bottle gourd pudding/ kheer - sorakkai payasam|Start Petition

My first introduction to the ambiguous nature of poppy seeds was through a Seinfeld(a TV show) episode where Elaine (one of the characters) failed a drug test because of poppy seed muffins she ate for breakfast. It stuck in mind as something to remember as I also knew first hand that even small quantities did induce sleepiness. I don't much care for poppy seeds on top of muffins, bagels, cookies or whatever, ground into a paste and used in a chicken curry or this coconut curry is another matter altogether. The last time I went for a drug test (for a job), I made sure I did not go near poppy seeds the previous day - True story.

If there is a chance you could be a transit passenger through UAE(Dubai) poppy seeds might land you in serious trouble if you transport them.

When I heard the news it reminded me of another poppy seed story. A while ago, I saw a recipe using a fairly large quantity of poppy seeds in a very popular blog and left an innocuous, but seriously curious comment asking if it caused intoxication or drowsiness. The word intoxication was used in a humorous way. What exactly made me pose the question? My most favorite paal curry kuzhambu a constant in my grandma's house, it induces drowsiness a fact that everyone using poppy seeds in the kitchen seemed to be very aware of, and in my kitchen I relegate them to being a weekend treat. For the longest time I thought and I still do think that non-veg (chicken, mutton) are cooked mostly on the weekends because the usage of spices poppy seeds included cause drowsiness. A heavy meal followed by a satisfying nap used to be a Sunday ritual for a lot of us.

The blogger took exception to the question. The comment section became a battlefield. The humor missed its mark big time and the comment was misconstrued to be an insult. But it did teach an important lesson regarding blogging, tradition and recipes. One, people bloggers take this thing way too seriously, two what is tradition to me is not exactly tradition for the reader and lot of bloggers seem not to be able to differentiate humor from insult. Recipes and traditions vary from family to family. It is fair to expect respect from a commenter, it is my blog after all, but if a comment casts some doubts or questions about say my grandma's recipe, is it an insult to my grandmother or my tradition? Of course not.

With that I will put an end to poppy seed talk and move on to this really tasty recipe. Also want to clarify poppy seeds has been used in Indian cooking for a long time and drowsiness is perhaps its most serious side effect.

I just barely tolerate bottle gourds for the most part. The only recipe where they seem to fit nicely is a combination of black eyed peas and bottle gourd (replacing the brinjals with bottle gourd). Last week my neighbor gave me a bottle gourd in a shape that I have never seen before round and stocky, I was more familiar with the long one. I thought of making the above mentioned curry but decided instead to make the bottle gourd payasam, which I had tasted in another neighbor's house a while ago. A phone call later armed with the recipe I set out to make the payasam. My neighbor suggested using ricotta cheese (a substitute for paneer) but I did not have any and substituted with ground almonds. Poppy seeds would have given another level of richness and taste but I did not think of it then.

Bottle gourd pudding - sorakkai payasam
1. 2-3 cups of grated bottle gourd (discard the spongy insides and peel the skin)
2. 1/4 cups of almonds soaked in hot water and skin removed and blended to a paste (optional 1/2 tbsp of poppy seeds soaked and grounded to a paste)
3. 3 cups of milk
4. 1/2 - 3/4 cups of sugar
5. 2-3 tbsp of roasted pistachios and almonds roughly chopped
6. 2 cardamom pods powdered
7. 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese (optional, I used almond paste)

1. In a heavy bottomed pan add the grated bottle gourd and milk and set it to cook (alternatively use a pressure cooker to cook the bottle gourd) till the bottle gourds is completely cooked and the milk thickens (about 20-30 minutes)
2. When the bottle gourd is completely cooked add the ricotta cheese or the almond paste, sugar and cardamom powder
3. Cook for 3-4 more minutes
4. Sprinkle the nuts just before serving

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Green Tomato curry (relish)

It is always a learning experience in the lunch room at work these days. With not only Andhra but Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharastra all represented, it is quite a revelation to see how even dal is cooked differently in each region(of India) and with a very slight change in the spices added result in very different tasting dishes. Every ingredient takes on a nuance which is unique to that region.

In South India, a new vegetable most often than not tends to land in sambhar or its several different variations one way or the other. I have tended not to stray far and have used green tomatoes mostly in sambhar or pulikuzhambu.

Something clicked when at lunch one day I tasted green tomato curry without realizing it was green tomatoes. Slightly tart, sweet and heat from the chilies it was pleasure for the taste buds and I was sufficiently surprised to learn that they were green tomatoes.

I have never really looked at green tomatoes as different from their mature selves, the ripe red ones. At this time of year green tomatoes are abundant in most gardens as the sun is not sufficient to ripen them and most are harvested green. If you have a few green tomatoes to spare this is one side dish that you ought to try. I guarantee that you and your taste buds will be pleasantly surprised.

A perfect dish for a weeknight, cooks in a jiffy and disappears just as fast (obvious from my photos right?).

1. 2 Cups of sliced green tomatoes
2. 4 green chilies cut into small rounds
3. 1 tsp of cumin seeds
4. 1 tsp of sambhar powder (red chili powder)
5. a pinch of mustard seeds + a few curry leaves
6. salt to taste
7. 1 tsp of sugar (optional) + salt to taste
8. 1 tsp of oil

1. In a pan heat oil and add the cumin seeds, curry leaves and mustard seeds
2. Add in the chopped chilies and the sliced tomatoes. Let them cook for a few minutes
3. Add in the sambhar powder and salt, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes till the tomatoes are soft

Serve as a side for with chapatis.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Date Toffee Pudding

We celebrated an important milestone this year. It falls on the day after July 4th and with a holiday on hand we are usually free to plan at leisure. This year it was a meal at one of DC's popular Indian restaurants. The restaurant stood up to its reputation and the foods was quite good. The dessert especially their Date Toffee Pudding was what impressed us all and left us wanting more. I quickly made up my mind to give it a try but it took a good three months to bring it to fruition.

I am no baker, following directions is one of the hardest things for me to do. Guess I like to be creative! Apparently that is a wrong thing to be if you want good results in baking. With some self control I managed to pull off the pudding cake without disaster.

I had bookmarked Jamie Oliver's recipe but the conversion to cups from gms was no easy task. David Lebovitz's recipe to the rescue. I used a combination of both the recipes.

Date Toffee Pudding
1. 3/4 cup of loosely packed pitted dates + 1 1/2 cups of water
2. 1 1/4 cups of flour
3. 3/4 cups of granulated sugar
4. 2 Eggs
5. 2 tbsp Ovaltine
6. 4 tbsp butter
7. 2 tbsp yogurt whisked
8. 1 tsp baking powder
9. 1/2 tsp salt
10. 1 Cup of raspberries

For the toffee sauce
1. 1 1/4 cups of heavy cream
2. 1/2 cup of Turbinado sugar + 2 tbsp brown cane sugar or molasses (for the lovely dark color)
3. 1 tbsp butter

1. Boil 1 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pan and soak the dates for 1/2 hour, drain the water and puree the dates and set aside
2. Butter the ramekin cups or the baking dish you are planning to use and set aside. Preheat the oven to 325F
3. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt
4. Beat the butter and sugar together till fluffy. Add in the eggs and beat them together
5. Add flour and ovaltine to the butter mixture and mix well. Add in the whisked yogurt,pureed dates and mix.
6. Pour into the buttered baking dish and set in preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes. Check if it is cooked, insert a tooth pick or knife in the center and it should come back clean
7. While the pudding is baking prepare the sauce

8.Mix together cream,sugar and butter in a sauce pan. In low heat cook the sauce till it becomes dark and thick, about 30 minutes. The time depends on how thin or thick you want to sauce to be (if it sits too long in the heat it becomes toffee)

9. Once the pudding has cooled down, spoon the sauce over and serve

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Bean Curd noodles stir fry

I miss Dubya a lot these day. Dubya who? Our much hated 'loved' 43. There, now that I have said it I feel a lot better. We all know all too well the mess the country is in right now is because of his misadventures,so much so without him the current 44 would never have been elected. What I miss the most about him is his gungho optimism in the same mould as a few other Presidents that went before him. It was also a time when everyone in the US felt that anything is possible (even invading a foreign country under false pretenses). I know there are several shades to this kind of optimism but for now we will look at only bright side please. Shall we? From jumping onto the navy ship with the mission accomplished banner fluttering in the breeze behind him to taking a slipper to his face he was the epitome of what Americans love in their leaders - bravado - and a symbol of the never say die spirit.

Contrast that image to our current apologizer in chief who has extended his apology to the people in all continents on behalf of the US, his whiny spineless giving into the opposition in the name of bipartisanship. The country no doubt feeds off what the chief executive emanates from his bully pulpit. This one seems to emanate an utter hopelessness.

To tell you the truth 2 years ago I thought he was our last chance to bring some progressive thinking into a country for a long time run by a puppet of the evil genius. Sadly our pretender in chief seems to have lost his mojo. His message of hope has turned to despair. Today America seems a shade of its former self, lacking in confidence, tired, unable to aim for greatness which it once did with ease and above all given to self doubt. It is almost too painful to watch.

Whatever be the outcome of the mid-term election I want a President who looks, speaks and acts like one. Give the job of apologizing and whining to the minions and start talking about what the country is capable of instead of where it has gone wrong. I want the President to amplify what made this country great = its optimism, courage, creativity and above all heart. For everyone's sake it has to start from the top.

With the speech out of the way, lets move on to the recipe. This recipe is perfect for a quick weeknight meal when the veggies have all disappeared but a packet of noodles bean curd noodles to be exact picked on whim during a shopping visit is sitting solid in the pantry. DD2 has a fondness for chicken sausage and forced me to buy some during the most recent grocery shopping. Tofu, paneer or even mushrooms will make good substitutes for a veggie version.

What exactly is a Bean Curd noodle? Bean curd noodles are made from mung bean and acquire a transparent shiny look when soaked in water. They are also called cellophane noodles. I realized they were the same vermicelli noodles in fish curry sauce or chicken curry sauce that we usually enjoyed in Vietnamese restaurants. Having no taste on theri own they acquire the taste of the sauce or spices they are cooked in.

Bean Curd Noodles stir fry
1. 5 bundles of noodles from the package (makes about 3-4 cups of soaked noodles)
2. a pack of spicy cilantro chicken sausage sliced into thin rounds
3. 1 onion sliced (1/2 cup)
4. 1 1/2 cups of sliced cabbage (feel free to add any vegetables of choice)
5. 1/2 tbsp of chili paste or chili flakes
6. 2 tsp of soy sauce
7. 2 cloves of garlic smashed and cut fine
8. 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
9. salt to taste
10. 2-3 tsp of oil
11. handful of chopped coriander leaves
12. 2 tbsp of chopped peanuts

1. In a wok heat the oil till smoking, add the onions and saute for 4-5 minutes
2. Add the chili paste, garlic and ginger and saute for a minute more
3. Add the cabbage and let them cook together till the onions are browned and cabbage is soft and cooked
4. Add the sausage and cook till it is browned all over and heated through completely
5. In the meantime heat a sauce pan full of water to boiling and cook the noodles for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and let sit for 5-6 minutes. Drain. Cut the noodles into smaller pieces
6. Add in the soy sauce and salt if required. Toss
7. Add the drained noodles and mix it into the sauce. Cook for 3-4 minutes
8. Add the chopped cilantro and mix it in. Turn off the heat

Serve with the chopped peanuts on top and extra soy sauce on the side