Sure, I like the quesadillas fine, for breakfast lunch or dinner. That is no reason to forget about ramen noodles. “Ramen Noodles”-is that phrase redundant? I suppose it depends on where the stress is. As far as I know all ramen are noodles. Ramen might even translate to “noodles” but I don’t think so. “We’re having noodles, ramen noodles.” That seems a legit construction, eh?
Anyway, Mrs J is taking a couple of the critters to the vet for their annual rabies boosters and I’m taking her temporary absence as a good time to stink up the kitchen with hot peppers. I set some dried mushrooms and some dried red peppers to simmering in a little water to hydrate them quickly, sliced some boneless chicken and onions. Got out the mortar and pestle and ground a tablespoon of Szechuan peppercorns. I marinated the chicken in rice vinegar, a teaspoon each of garlic chili paste and garlic black bean sauce, a sprinkling of the peppercorns, and a splash of hot chili oil.
Time to boil the ramen, I used the water from the mushrooms and dried chilies. Heating a pan, I added hot chili oil and started the sliced onions, then added the chicken and the rest of the ground peppercorns, the mushrooms,sliced, and the soaked red peppers. Drain the noodles and add them to the pan and stir to coat. I used pre-cooked shrimp, so all I needed to do was thaw them and then add them in time enough to warm them through. Mmm…my lips are still numb from the peppercorns. Love that stuff.
I just love this stuff. It cooks quickly, the dishes are colorful, I can make them spicy to my heart’s content. I usually whip this dish up when Mrs J is off to the shelter. I don’t have to worry about not feeding her, or rather, fixing a spicy dish that she would refuse to eat.
This time I have some broccoli, a nice bit of those sweet Vidalia onions, some shredded carrot, the last of my dried shiitake mushrooms (note to self: get more), shrimp, and some dried red chilies to go with the noodles.
While the noodles boil, stir fry the veggies and the peppers in hot chili oil, toss in some ground szechuan peppercorns for a little extra kick. I made a quick sauce of chicken stock, corn starch, chili paste, ginger paste, and some minced garlic, leaving out the soy sauce this time. Add the shrimp to warm, drain the noodles and dump them in and stir about to coat everything.
Had these late last night, Mrs J had made a meal of some meatloaf but I passed on that and satisfied my craving for spicy ramen and shrimp. She is not a fan of spicy food, and I am. I seized this opportunity to do it my way. Contains ground szechuan peppercorns, red pepper flakes, and a generous scoop or two of chili/garlic paste. Not to mention the hot chili oil I cooked everything in.
The packets of ramen that claim to be spicy usually include a small foil packet of seasoning powder, I made sure to add that to the mix. Also in the dish were chopped ribs of bok choi and some julienned carrots, a few onions rounded it out. I tossed in a few packets of the dried soup seasonings while I had some out, there were a few discs of dried carrot and some dried greens of some sort. Can’t hurt to toss that stuff in.
Whoa! Needed something fast because I was starving, having worked until dark hauling rock to a culvert project. I’m a sucker for these ramen noodles, just about anything will go well with them, even nothing much at all is OK, you can eat them with just a broth.
I thawed a few beef nuggets, and set some noodles to boil. Chopped some mushrooms, some green onions, ground some szechuan peppercorns in my new mortar (make a great gadget post!), sliced some garlic. This was going to be bare bones. Started the beef and the garlic with the peppercorns in some oil, tossed in the mushrooms and some red pepper flakes. Added some sliced red onions and half the green onions. Added some beef broth with some corn starch, a squirt of hoisin sauce, and a squirt of oyster sauce. Thought about adding some of that garlic/chili paste and then did so. Drained the noodles, plated them, and spooned the beef/mushroom mixture atop them, adding the rest of the green onions for a garnish.
Some pictures from today:
I threw together a nice spicy noodle dish for lunch today. Didn’t have to worry about Mrs J’s aversion to heat because she was off doing woman stuff. Hair appointment or some such. Wasn’t really thinking about posting this (it was fixed before the new part I needed came today) until I got a comment on the picture of it I posted to my Flickr stream:
The guy in comments asked for a recipe, so I left him some directions in a reply. Seems only fair to post them here.
I sliced some pork and marinated it in soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, Hoisin sauce, and a couple of heaping spoonfuls of garlic/chili paste.
While that was working I “peeled” some ramens and set them to boil. Dug some red bell pepper strips out of the freezer, julienned some carrot, chopped some onion, crushed some Szechuan peppercorns, and minced some garlic and ginger. When the noodles are done drain them and add some chili oil to keep them from sticking together, set them aside.
Mix about a half cup of chicken soup base with corn starch an some more hoisin sauce for thickening later.
Heat some chili oil in a wok, when it gets hot, toss in the garlic, ginger, and the peppercorns. Give them about a minute then add the onions. When the onions soften after another minute or two, toss in the pork with the marinade. When the pork is nearly done, add half the carrots, all the bell peppers, and the corn starch mixture. As it thickens add the drained noodles. Toss to coat.
Garnish with the remaining carrots and some green onion slices.
This dish is like a bolt out of the blue! Where have you been all my life?!? I was puttering about in an online chat when a fellow mentioned he had had shrimp pasta for dinner yesterday. That sounded pretty easy so I thought “me too” and went to the cupboard to sort through the pasta we had on hand. I reached down a bag I had bought a few weeks ago. I’ve had some pasta from the same outfit before-I think it was mushroom flavored but the style escapes me. I was reading the back and looked at a recipe they had on there and it struck me that it sounded pretty good, and I had all the stuff I needed, mostly.
I set to work assembling the sauce: Some olive oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, a bit of Splenda in lieu of cane sugar, some sesame oil, and some ginger went into a bowl. Not content with those I crushed some Szechuan peppercorns, and minced several cloves of garlic, and drizzled in several tablespoons of chili oil. I decided to make the sauce double as a marinade so in went the peeled shrimp.
I opted not to put in the broccoli the recipe called for. It would have worked well. After eating the dish I had several other ingredient ideas that will be in the next batch of this I make.
Prep was fast and easy. I fired a large skillet and cooked the shrimp in the sauce, took just a few minutes while the pasta was boiling next burner over. Drained, the pasta went right atop the shrimp along with a good handful of red bell pepper slices. This stuff was great! Can’t wait for the next batch with the improvements I have in mind!
I was reading through my usual blogs and news orgs this morning and got to Ezra Klein at the WaPo. The usual wonky stuff, but he is a sorta foodie so he has links to recipes and such like. A link I followed led to the food guy at the NT Times in a video on how to make hot pepper infused oil. Piqued my interest because 1) I like chili oil and 2) chili oil is expensive. I din’t have all the stuff on hand that he mentions in the video, but I did have the basic stuff. I used some slices of ginger, and tossed in a few allspice berries, a few cloves, a sprinkle of coriander and cinnamon. And the red pepper flakes, and the szechuan peppercorns. Fun was had.
Warm the oil (I used peanut oil.) over a low flame, you don’t want it to get too hot or the peppers will burn. 230-240 degrees is about tops. Conversely, too cool and the flavors won’t infuse. Anyway, warm the oil and dump in the peppers and the other spices, then let the oil return to heat. Shut off the burner and set the pot aside to let it steep. Longer is better although you can use it right away. Strain the solids and maybe filter the oil through cheesecloth. I did but it isn’t required.