Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Thai Vegetable Chow Mein

The usual Monday morning conversation centered around what to make for dinner. No surprise there for a couple of hardcore foodies. We had hung up with a baseline consensus around pho or other rice noodle soup. A few minutes later I get a text from Ann: "Can you do those noodles in a pancake?"

Of course, I thought, but didn't really get to thinking about what to do other than a basic chow mein until much later in the afternoon when I remembered that when I had been weeding in the garden very early in the morning and that I had noticed that we have lots and lots of Thai basil that needed to be used.

From there, it wasn't a big stretch to combine Thai flavors with Chinese technique.

Thai Chow Mein
I decided as long as was mixing metaphors that it wouldn't hurt too bad if the vegetables were a mish-mash too. After work as I was heading home, from the market I collected sugar snaps (ours got pulled out of the garden this past weekend, sadly), an orange pepper, grape tomatoes, a pineapple, a knob of galangal, cilantro, bamboo shoots, and a pound of fresh noodles. From the pantry, I got fish sauce, ground white pepper, and dry roasted peanuts. And from the garden, I got lots of fresh Thai basil and garlic (Chinese) chives.

Flavoring Paste Basics
I made a seasoning paste to flavor the dish with from cilantro stems, galangal (aka kha or Thai ginger), shallots, white pepper, and fish sauce. Fresh galangal is very assertive, much more so than ginger, so I only used a few slices, finely minced, in my seasoning paste.

I fried the noodle cake and removed it to a platter, then I fried the seasoning paste and added the vegetables. After everything was warmed through, I added a few more splashes of fish sauce and tossed in the basil and chives.

A bit of prep work, but easy to execute and delicious!

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