Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Sasha's Kitchen: Thai Coconut Beef Udon

I ate quite a bit of ramen noodles during my days as a college student at Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia.  Ramen is one of the staples of a college student and in those days only required a plug-in “hot pot.” Other college “cooking” experiments in those days included peanut butter and jelly, microwave cocktails, quite a bit of amateur bartending and of course jello. I did do a little cooking the summer I spent in the apartments at Haverford after sophomore year, and had plans to help my roommate cook a pot roast that she had brought from home, except that someone entered our apartment when we were gone to steal the pot roast from the freezer and a half-used tub of Crisco (seriously, some 10 years later we have no other explanation for this, as nothing else was disturbed).  Consider below a Thai take on the college classic for a quick grownup meal.

Udon noodles, in my opinion, are the grown up version of ramen noodles. This may not be what they are intended to resemble, but they always remind me of those college instant ramen days. Udon is actually Japanese wheat-flour noodle that can be served hot or cold. It can be combined with tofu for a vegetarian soup or with beef or chicken.

Tonight I attempted to create a udon noodle dish using my extensive collection of thai spices (some of which my mom brought back from her trip to Thailand) and a coconut broth. For some reason I couldn’t find a udon recipe using a coconut broth, which I thought would be the perfect combination with udon, so I created my own.

Here are the ingredients I used. Note that I feel I used too much ginger in my broth that I made tonight (it was fine, but a little heavy on the ginger) so I am making the adjustment accordingly in the recipe I am sharing here.

1 lb flank steak (you can substitute grilled tofu if you prefer to make a vegetarian dish)
4 cloves minced garlic
½ tsp powdered ginger
8 oz udon noodles
2 cups lowfat chicken stock
1 tsp dried lemongrass
¼ tsp saffron
3 small pieces dried galanga
1 can lowfat coconut milk
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

Season and grill the tofu or steak as you wish. In a pot with 1 tsp salt, bring the noodles to boil to cook for about 10 minutes, as per the package instructions. In a saut√© pan, add the garlic, ginger, galanga, lemongrass and saffron to the chicken stock and lowfat coconut milk. Bring to a boil, and allow to simmer for a bit until the right consistency. Add the noodles and the steak and/or tofu. Garnish with the scallions, mint and a bit of pepper and serve hot as a soup.

I am very excited to report that my purse and shoe cookie cutters and professional grade food colorings arrived today. I plan to bake some lovely and trendy purse and shoe cookies, as well as some upcoming cake projects exploring the use of fondant as a decorative meeting.  In addition, we are planning quite the New Years Eve dinner to bring in a better 2010, so stay tuned for that too.  My menu for NYE, which will be the subject future posts, will include my take on a tiramisu truffle and how to prepare a perfect rack of lamb.

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