Will I make 200 bentos before the holidays? With my track record, the answer is probably no…
Small box: woked veggies, cashews and noodles in oyster sauce.
Big box: Inarizushi, brussel sprouts, cherry tomatoes.
When it comes to fast food, Westerners may have invented the term but there’s no beating the East. Making Ramen in any street stand takes less time from raw ingredients to product than it takes us to grill and slap together a burger from prefabricated stuff. Sometime, I’ll have to learn how to do that.
For now, I use instant ramen.
There is one thing about Asian cooking when compared to Western cooking: I’m used to preparing my ingredients on the go, making use of how they cook at different rates to use my time economically. When woking, everything goes so fast that this is not possible! You have to have all veggies pre-cut, otherwise you’re still cutting the peppers when the onions are burning – and the mushrooms still waiting to be cut!
It’s a learning process… but I’m trying. Anyone who’s actually Asian need not read on, this is just a writeup of the order I do my stuff in so that it gets right.
I’ll also be posting it to this week’s Presto Pasta Nights roundup because I haven’t posted any pictures of my pasta dishes recently and it’s making me a sad rabbit.
For this wok, I retain some of the veggies until the end so that they won’t be cooked as thoroughly – I like a crunch to my carrots.
I start with the noodles: Pour boiling salt water over them in a pot (spice pack is optional) and drain after 2 minutes. Rinse with cold water so that they retain no heat. They should still be a bit tough so that they won’t get too soft later on.
Cut chili, garlic and an onion/spring onions (I used both) into thin strips. Put in a heap with peeled, unsalted cashews.
Cut a bell pepper, mushrooms, carrots, Thai basil and whatever else you find in your fridge that needs cooking (I had some frozen broccoli, for instance) into thin strips in a different heap.
Heat peanut and sesame oil in a wok and scatter the garlic, chili, cashews and onion in. (I use an oil spray because I’m weird about using too much oil).
When they seem cooked, toss the rest in and wok. (If you have marinated meat or meat replacement, add it before you add the veggies. If you want scrambled egg in it, I would reommend to push the chili and garlic to the side and scramble it before you put in the veggies as well, otherwise it’ll just stick to the noodles.)
Add the noodles and sauce on top. There are no limits to your imagination with the sauce. I had none yesterday so I put in oyster sauce, some mirin and soy. A sauce I really like is sweet chili sauce and some sake or sherry. Or try a Thai style with some Tamari, ginger and soy.
Add any veggies you retained on top. I added the carrots and thai basil last. Cook for another minute, tossing so that everything is mixed and heated up.