Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Luxurious and Deeply Aromatic Noodle Dish

This is my slightly adapted vegetarian version - the book features this recipe with crab-meat and prawns.

For the spice paste:
Chilies - 4 or 5 small, hot red ones
Garlic - 2 or 3 small cloves
Ginger - a small lump, about the size of a walnut in its shell
Lemon grass - 2 or 3 plump stalks
Coriander seeds - a few
Coriander leaves - a few (hs note: cilantro for all you non-brits)
Ground tumeric - a teaspoon
vegetable oil - a little

For the soup:
Stock - vegetable, 500 ml
Coconut milk - 400ml (lite is ok)
A lime - just the juice
Soy sauce
Mint - a small handful of leaves

To finish:
Noodles - I think I used about 1 lb....big, chubby, fresh asian egg ones.

Halve and seed the chilies. Peel the garlic. Peel and shred the ginger. Finely slice the tender, innermost leaves of the lemon grass. Grind the coriander seeds or crush them in a mortar. Blitz it all to a thick paste in a food processor with the coriander leaves and any well scrubbed roots, plus the tumeric. You may need a few tablespoons of vegetable oil to help it go round but add as little as you can.

Place a fairly deep pan over moderate heat, add half the spice paste (keep the other half in the fridge for tomorrow) and fry it, movingit round the pan, for a minute or so, then pour in the stock, coconut milk, and a splash of soy sauce -- let it come to the boil. Turn the heat down and let the soup simer for ten minutes. Meanwhile cook the noodles briefly in boiling water and drain them.

Divide the noodles between four large, deep bowls and ladle over hot soup. Sprinkle with mint leaves.

Serves about 4.