If I mapped my life in flavors, I think I would name as “savory” all of those activities that we do because they are good for us, only to find that they are among the most pleasurable activities in life. Activities like yoga, or running, or making headway on a to-do list, or reading a book for school… maybe even “work” itself. I almost never want to go for a run, or do yoga, but when I do, I always feel happier for the going. Now, it might be a bit of an exaggeration to say that is exactly the way I feel about eating or cooking savory foods… but, I do have quite a sweet tooth, and I am far more likely to get excited about dessert than I am about dinner, and I do always feel better when I eat something healthy for dinner instead of diving into the brownies and ice cream. So here I am today, to pass along to you a winning savory dish. These noodles are flavorful and different, sort of a play on the classic pad thai, but infused with fresh flavors. Just like pad thai, they would be great with a wide variety of proteins (chicken, shrimp, tofu, egg). I replaced some of the cilantro with Thai basil, because they have similar flavors, except Thai basil has what I can only describe as licorice undertones. It is very flavorful, so if you do go with the Thai basil, you might want to cut back a little on quantities.
Thai rice noodles with cilantro – ginger sauce (from Entertaining for a Veggie Planet)
12 ounces dried rice noodles (preferably fettucine-width), use fresh if you can get them
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1-2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
1-2 tablespoons ginger (depending on how much of a ginger lover you are, the original recipe calls for 2, but I might cut back next time)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or 1 teaspoon kosher salt)
1/4 cup crushed peanuts for garnish (optional)
1. In a large bowl of hot water, soak the rice noodles for 10-20 minutes, you want your noodles to be al dente.. so probably closer to 10 minutes is better here. Drain well. Set aside. If you have fresh rice noodles, skip this step.
2. In a large well-seasoned skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and caramelized, approximately 10 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes, jalapeños, ginger, and cumin, and saute for 2 more minutes.
4. Add the noodles, sugar, and 1/2 cup water. Cook stirring often until your noodles soften, about 3 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and the lime juice, cilantro, and fish sauce or salt to taste. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.