Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Warm glass noodles with edamame

Life events have overtaken me lately and I've not been very inspired in the kitchen. In fact, I even lost my sense of taste for a while. Bad times, indeed. But like the gambling addict who always thinks his next big win is "just round the corner," I am determined to stay in the game!

Luckily for me, this Ottolenghi recipe from the Guardian caught my eye and I think I may have turned that corner at last.

Edamame, you say; from a Middle Eastern food specialist?! Well why not? The recipe is touted as Japanese-inspired on the Guardian site, but in reality, edamame, or young green soy beans, is the only Japanese influence. What really makes it is the blend of lip-smacking Southeast Asian flavours--galangal/ginger, tamarind and garlic--in the sauce. (You'll see from the photo above that I omitted the red chilli, but only out of respect for the Young Man's palate.)

This is a breeze to make, or rather it would be if you don't have to pod your edamame before you start. Here in Japan, edamame are a summertime treat served chilled in their pods after a light boiling and salting. Perfect with the big jugs of beer that are so popular here in the dog days of summer. Those days being far from nigh, I contented myself with frozen edamame, still in the pods. You'll want to defrost them in water before even attempting to extract the tasty green beans inside, so make sure to get them out of the freezer in good time (I'd pop them in the fridge in the morning before going to work next time). Having a YM in the house usually expedites such mundane but essential processes as podding, but in this case my YM was otherwise engaged with his studies.

I took Yotam Ottolenghi's advice about boosting this with some yaki dofu, or extra-firm tofu that's been grilled, giving it a lovely colour. This kind of tofu, if well drained (by placing a plate or other weight on top of it for about 10 minutes), stands up really well to stir-frying. You'll need to break it up a bit before you put it in the pan. I found that I didn't have enough sauce to really flavour the tofu (which really sucks up the flavours), and added some Thai fish sauce to compensate. Even making it more substantial with the tofu, you'll probably want another side dish or two to make this a meal.

Ottolenghi's warm glass noodles with edamame
Serves four

250g glass or cellophane noodles
1 pack firm tofu such as yaki dofu
2 tbsp sunflower oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
300g (net weight) cooked edamame beans, podded
3 spring onions, including the green parts, thinly sliced
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
3 tbsp coriander [cilantro] leaves, chopped, plus a few whole leaves for garnish
3 tbsp mint leaves, shredded
3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

For the sauce
2 tbsp grated galangal (or ginger)
4 limes, juiced
3 tbsp groundnut oil
2 tbsp palm sugar
2 tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp Tamari soy sauce
1 tsp fine sea salt

1 Soak the noodles in a bowl of hot water until soft - about five minutes. Be careful not to leave them in the water for too long because they can go soggy. Strain and leave to dry.

2 In a small bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients and set aside.

3 Heat the oil in a large frying pan or a wok and add the garlic (and drained tofu, if using). As it starts to turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and add the sauce and noodles. Gently mix together, add most of the edamame, the onions, chilli and fresh herbs. Stir while you return the pan to the heat for a few seconds, just to heat through, taste and add salt if you like.

4 Pile up the noodles on a large platter or in a shallow bowl, scatter over the reserved edamame and the sesame seeds, and garnish with the whole coriander leaves. You can also serve the dish at room temperature, in which case adjust the seasoning just before you do so.


1 comment:

Cynthia said...

I love these noodles as well as all rice noodles.