Monday, January 07, 2013

Peanut Sichuan Wholegrain Noodles

     I had a packet of dehydrated whole grain noodles sitting around in the kitchen cupboard for around 3 weeks and finally found the time to do something about it. 

     It's best to use minimally processed organic wholegrain noodles within a  month or two from the date of manufacture since they can become rancid. I've observed this with both Econut's and Aurovilles' noodles. 

     I just put together everything for the sichuan sauce on a whim, grinding the ingredients together.....wouldn't you know the flavour just clicked. The peanuts added depth to the entire dish.


The perfect bowl of steaming healthy noodles

Whole grain noodles (ragi / whole wheat) - 3 cups, dehydrated

Cabbage, chopped - 1/2, medium sized 
Capsicum, thick julienned - 2, medium sized
Carrot, thick julienned - 2, medium sized
French beans, thick julienned - approx 15 nos., medium length
Peas, green, shelled - 1/2 cup
Onion, julienned - 1, medium sized
Salt - to taste (about a full tsp)
Oil - 2 tsp
Water - 3 to 4 cups

For Peanut Sichuan Sauce

Peanuts 3 - 4 tbsp

Tomato - 1 small
Onion - 1/2 small
Red chillies - 5 nos.
Ginger - 1 inch cube piece
Jeera - 1 tsp
Pepper Corns - 1/2 tsp
Coriander - 2 to 4 tbsp
Zest of 2 small lemons
Water - to make a fine paste.
Garlic - 1 to 3 cloves (optional)
Apple Cider (or any natural) vinegar - 1 tsp (optional)

Method: This recipe calls for a lot of multitasking........

1] Get all your ingredients cleaned and chopped first (my Mother-in-law helped with this part). Segregate the ingredients for the sauce and the main pot. This saves a lot of time. Soak the red chillies (for the sauce) along with the jeera and pepper corns in the vinegar and around 3 tbsp of water.

2] Boil drinking water to cook the noodles (around 3 - 4 cups) - just enough to submerge the lot. Once the water starts to boil (or you see small bubbles), add the dehydrated noodles and cover with a lid - turn the flame to simmer. Leave for as long as the instructions say or test every 3 mins - bite into a noodle to see if it's cooked the whole way through.

3] On another low flame, heat the oil (preferably groundnut oil) in a kadai. Add the chopped onions first and fry till pink and aromatic. Then add in the rest of the chopped veggies and give it a good stir. Close with a lid and let it cook for 5 - 8 mins.

4] So you have time now to prepare the sauce. Roast the peanuts lightly till they start popping. Add these and all the rest of the ingredients for the sauce into the blender (you had already soaked the red chillies right?). The water that was used for soaking should be just enough to get the right consistency. If not, add more. Grind into a fine paste.

5] Check on your noodles to see if they're done - you need an al dente texture so as soon as they're cooked, take the vessel off the flame and drain your noodles in a colander. Run cold drinking water over this and allow to drain. This ensures they won't clump together.

6] In the midst of step 5 (don't ask how frenzied I was), also check on your veggies and give them a good stir - the greens and orange should still be bright and the cabbage just about cooked. 

7] Add the Peanut Sichuan sauce paste into the stir fried veggies and fold well. Add salt at this point, mix and then blend in the al dente noodles. Fold yet again. Just a word of warning, if you add in extra water (like I did) you might get a mushy product though it still tastes great. 

Serve steaming hot with a salad and enjoy :) 

Preparation Time: 30 - 45 mins      Cooking Time: 20 mins     Serves: 4


- To add in more protein, add a cup of sprouts to the veggies or include tofu. 
- Use the sauce recipe for other types of dishes as well.

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