I don’t know what it is. We had no holiday plans at all this year, just the two of us, the cat, some presents (all gifts purchased early, wrapped, and shipped), and some movies. But for some reason, I soaked up holiday stress like a sponge! I had absolutely nothing to be panicked about, yet I was completely on edge. Perhaps it was the mad rush of cars and people that suddenly descended on our little ski town (many of whom seemed bound and determined to run this little pedestrian over), or maybe it was the flood of sale and deal emails that crowded my inbox right up until Christmas day … whatever it was, I feel like I need a vacation from my actually non-stressful vacation! Did anyone else feel a little high strung this year?
When I’m stressed, I usually tell my husband I want to go to the Vietnamese place for dinner, Asian Noodles. That little restaurant feels like an extension of my kitchen, except that they have the best darn Pho (like I’m going to try making authentic Pho broth in my kitchen!) and noodle dishes I have ever tasted. And, they are cheap. Even so, last week when I had hit my limit and was ready to inform him of our dinner plans, I realized, we have noodles, we have vegetables, why don’t I just make us a noodle dish here? Yes, even cheaper, but still delicious.
Now, I have a confession to make. I often don’t post the recipes that I make for dinner because I’m not a camera addict, I’m a food addict. I cook, we eat. There is rarely any set-up time for pictures. To be honest I don’t even think about it most nights. And, I haven’t felt comfortable in posting recipes without a photo. But here goes …
Let me know, do you want recipes even if I don’t have a photo of the actual recipe? Here’s a picture of the rice noodles I used (Rice Sticks from TJ’s), does that help?
I know, feable attempt. Maybe you will like the shot of my little noodle bowls below.
Alisa’s Almost Asian Noodles
You can easily make this dish vegan / vegetarian with the notes I have included in the recipe and by omitting the meat (and accompanying ingredients) altogether. This dish really doesn’t need the meat per say (it’s pretty flavorful) … you can actually leave it out entirely or substitute it with some more veggies (red bell peppers and broccoli would be nice) or with your favorite meat substitute (tofu, tempeh, etc.).
This recipe is Dairy-Free and optionally Vegan, Gluten-Free, and/or Nut-Free – depending on the ingredients you use.
Meat (simply omit this entire section of ingredients for vegan/vegetarian or use your favorite meat alternative):
- 1/2 lb Pork or Chicken, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
- 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1/2 Tablespoon Mirin (sweet rice cooking wine)
- 2 Tablespoons Oyster Sauce (try Lee Kum Kee Green Label for Gluten-Free or Weitai Vegetarian for Vegan)
- 1 Tablespoon Mirin
- 1 Teaspoon Soy Sauce or Wheat-Free Tamari (for gluten-free) (heck, they even make soy-free soy sauce now)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Honey (or sweetener of your choice)
- 1/2 Teaspoon Chili Oil
- 4 Ounces Rice Noodles
- 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil (or cooking oil of your choice), divided
- 1/2 Large Onion, cut into slivers
- 1/2 Medium Cabbage, sliced (I cut ribbons that were about 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long)
- 1 to 2 Garlic Cloves
- Optional: 2 Green Onions (green parts only) for garnish, sliced
Combine the meat (or meat alternative), cornstarch, mirin, salt, and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to coat the meat or meat alternative (ie tofu) as thoroughly as possible. Set aside. (If you are adding in a pre-cooked meat analogue, the you can skip this step altogether and simply add it at the end with the rice noodles. Skip this step entirely if you are just using vegetables.)
Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl (I whisk with a fork – I’m lazy that way). Set aside.
Set the rice noodles onto cook according to the package directions.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or large pan over med-high heat. Once hot, add the meat and stir fry until it is lightly browned and cooked through (about 6 to 7 minutes). Remove the meat from the wok and add the other tablespoon of oil. Add the onions and stir-fry for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cabbage (rinsed, with some water is fine) and stir fry the two for 5 or 6 minutes, or until soft (if they begin to stick, feel free to add a little water, which will also help steam the cabbage, to avoid sticking).
Reduce the heat to medium, add the garlic and cook for just 1 minute. Add the sauce and meat that you set aside and stir to combine. Cook just a minute more, remove from heat and stir in the rice noodles and green onions, if using. Stir to coat the noodles (they will soak up the sauce nicely.
Makes 2 dinners
How have the holidays treated you all? Are you ready for the New Year?!