I promised a drunken noodle recipe, and I am not one to disappoint (hopefully). One of my most dear grad student friends, Indi, is a Thai implant to the US. Indi is a nickname given to her by someone when she arrived in the US (almost two decades ago), and she stuck with it, convinced that none of us could pronounce her real name (which is probably true). A compact woman with an unmistakably Thai attitude, she is one hell of a spitfire. I don't think I can explain what a great friend she was to me in her last year or two here at UT. She and I were going through some very similar relationship ... erm ... issues, and having her around gave me a lot more perspective on the situation than I would have otherwise had.
|* The prettiest little Thai bride ever! *|
She graduated well before I did, and stuck around UT (much like I'm doing) for a year or so while she looked for a different job. She finally found something in Orlando, but she was willing to give out a few Thai cooking lessons before she left. We learned some very good Thai stir frying basics and how to make Drunken Noodle. This recipe is a slight adaptation of hers, which includes more traditional things like eggs and some non-vegan sauces.
Indi's Vegan Drunken Noodle
Serves 4 (or more, if you're not all going for seconds)
1/3 c soy sauce
1/3 c teriyaki sauce
1/4 c rice cooking wine
1/3 c vegan oyster sauce
1/2 tbsp Maggi Seasoning
2 tbsp sesame oil
5 cloves garlic, pressed
hot chilis, such as thai chilis or habeneros (use these to taste, but be bold! Drunken Noodle is best when it's spicy)
1/2 of a large onion, cut in a large dice
1 green bell pepper, cut in a large dice
1/2 c broccoli florets
1 carrot, sliced into thin coins
Additional assorted vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes
1 block of extra firm tofu, pressed, cubed, and fried
~1/4 c sugar
4 - 8 oz rice noodles (for dry noodles. Should cook to about 3 cups)
1 c basil leaves (thai basil is best, but any basil seems to work)
Mix together soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, rice wine, oyster sauce, and seasoning in a bowl, and set aside.
You can use cubed pre-fried tofu, but I prefer to press, cube, and fry the tofu myself. Make sure you have this all done before you start cooking.
Get all of your vegetables cut up and ready to go. Once you start stir frying, you really won't have time to do anything else. A great thing about Drunken Noodle is the variety of vegetables you can put in. For this dish, we used garlic, habenero peppers, zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, and green tomatoes. I've also used green beans, yellow squash, red tomatoes, cabbage, bok choy, etc. It can really be a clean-out-the-fridge sort of meal.
Finally, cook your rice noodles. I've used fresh rice noodles and dried, and they are honestly about the same. Dried noodles are easier to find (and keep on hand), but if you have fresh, then you're good to go.
Now, the cooking finally begins. Heat your wok and add the sesame oil. Add the garlic, hot peppers, and onions and stir fry until translucent and fragrant. At this point, you probably want to turn on your stove's exhaust fan. The cooking hot peppers will release a lot of oils into the air which make some people (some weenie people) sneeze and cough a lot. Consider this fair warning.
Add your vegetables in an order that makes sense, from things that cook the longest to things that cook quickly. I usually do things like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots; then squash and bell peppers; finally green beans and asparagus, with a few minutes of stir frying between each group. Add about half of the sauce mix, half the sugar, and the tofu, and let everything cook for a few minutes. Keep things moving by stirring occasionally. If it starts to look dry, add in more sauce.
Once the vegetables and tofu are well cooked and the sauce has boiled down some, add in the noodles. It's okay if they are stuck together a little because they'll loosen up as you stir them. Check your sauce level and add more if it's starting to get dry. You may not use all the sauce you mixed up; it really just depends on how much your vegetables soak up as they are cooking. Taste as you go, adding in more sauce and sugar if you want it. If it isn't as spicy as you like, I recommend adding in some chili paste, like sambal oelek sauce. When the dish is done cooking, you shouldn't have much liquid in the bottom, although a little is okay.
About three minutes before you finish cooking, add in the tomatoes and basil. The tomatoes should cook slightly and the basil should wilt.
Plate it up and enjoy!
|* Drunken Noodle, Spring Rolls, and Spinach Tofu soup *|
This seemed to be a success, because with only four people, we annihilated the entire wok-full.
|* So much for leftovers ... *|