Meatless Monday: Indonesian-Style Noodles
I’ve since pulled another trick out of Gartenstein’s magic bag, a noodle-y thing with an Indonesian twist that is so good and so easy it will likely become a staple at Casa Appetite. Like me, Gartenstein is a meat eater who’s got a yen for taking a break from meat on a regular basis.
The must-make recipe in question comes from her book, “The Accidental Vegan” which has just been re-released (available in stores in March) into a handy, bendable 6x8 format.
Of the many reasons why I love this recipe, the vegan-yet-satisfying factor is close to the top of the list. You could serve this to your favorite pork-product buddy and get a thumbs up, thanks the savory mix of nuts that get sweet-talked by a sauce of molasses, soy sauce and sesame oil. Speaking of that molasses, Gartenstein has done a brilliant thing here, by using readily accessible ingredients to mimic authentic Indonesian ingredients. Essentially, what she’s made is a version of Indonesian sweet soy sauce (aka kecap manis). She’s also recognized that candlenuts, a staple of Indonesian cuisine, would be hard to find for American cooks, so she uses hazelnuts instead.
I also found the recipe very forgiving, allowing for adjustments and substitutions along the way. You could most certainly add sauteed chicken or beef tenders or a fried egg here, but I can almost guarantee you'll be plenty engaged as is.
Indonesian Nuts and Noodles
Adapted from “The Accident Vegan” by Devra Gartenstein
KOD notes in parentheses
1 pound Asian noodles or spaghetti
½ cup roasted cashews
½ cup roasted peanuts
½ cup roasted hazelnuts
(I used a mix of cashews, almonds and pecans, based on what was in the pantry)
1 tablespoon olive oil (I decided on using something more neutral-tasting, like safflower oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 ½ tablespoons grated ginger (About 1-inch hunk)
1 cup bean sprouts (I substituted equal amounts of kale, stemmed and chopped)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat, add the noodles and cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Drain noodles well. (For Asian noodles, it’s important to run under cold water to avoid gumminess.)
Meanwhile, place nuts in a food processor and pulse a few times to coarsely chop. Heat olive oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-low heat, add onion, garlic and ginger, and sauté 3-5 minutes, or until onion starts to soften.
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, molasses and sesame oil and pour into wok, with nuts and sprouts, and stir to combine. If using kale or other quick-cooking greens, add now and toss with tongs to combine and coat with the other ingredients. Add noodles and toss to combine. Mixture will be somewhat dry; this is okay.
Makes 3-5 servings.
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