Thursday, March 3, 2016

Indo-Chinese Cooking: Kung Pao Noodles

Another gathering, another fabulous munch bunch and another recipe!!

My blog has two distinct genres recently, one about getting fit and the other about recipes... I guess its pretty evident why I need both.

Not such good jokes aside, recently my foodie buddies and we got together for a munch bunch: A gathering of like minded foodies who meet periodically on a pre-decided theme to attempt at cooking different cuisine, styles of cooking for the sole purpose of 'Eating it' and definitely hopefully learning something on the way

Theme this month: Chinese that ended up being Indo-Chinese!

Appetizers: Sweat Corn Soup, Chili Paneer
Main Course: Fried Rice with Schezuan gravy
                       Kung Pao Noodles
                       Schezuan Noodles
                      Gobhi Manchurian
                      Manchurian Style: Mushroom stuff with Potatoes
Dessert:         Mango Dofu
                      Strawberry Dofu
Drinks:          Lychee-Ginger
And of course my friends infamous homemade chili oil as a perfect complement to these dishes!!!

I massive spread, hell yeah :-)
We were left content and with a lot of left over which was happily gobbled up the next day by the kids and adults...

Before I share the recipe of the noodles, let me say: Cooking Indo-Chinese is a pain- Just so many vegetables to be julienned and then some to be finely minced and then some to be pureed, its annoying. But oh so worth it!!!

And yes: long Post Alert

Now here is the recipe of the Kung Pao Noodles very hastily devoured by the kids and adults alike!!

Quantity: A lot!! I made this proportion for 8 adults

Vegetables to be Sautee’ d (All Julienned)
1 Cup green cabbage
1/2 cup red cabbage
1/2 cup celery
1/2 cup Brussel sprouts
1 cup beans
1/2 cup red/green pepper
1 cup onions
1 cup carrots
2 tsp ginger- minced
2 tsp garlic- minced
3 tsp Oil
1 tsp Vinegar
2 tsp Soy Sauce

Kung Pao Tofu
1 package firm tofu
2 tsp oil
Ready To Eat: Kung Pao Sauce 1 tsp
1 tsp Soy Sauce

Kung Pao Sauce
2 tomato - blended to form a puree
1/2 cup onion, Garlic finely chopped (Minced)
3 tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp stoneground mustard
Ready Made Kung Pao Sauce: 3 tsp (Any brand works)

Any wheat noodles- this is the one I used this time, was super hit~~
Rice noodles tend to get really sticky, and hard to toss for me!

Toppings & Voila
Crushed Peanuts: 1 cup
Bean Sprouts: 1/2 cup
Shallots: 1/2 cup
Finely chopped cilantro: 1/2 cup
Sesame seeds: 2 tsp
Lemon Wedges

To Saute Vegetables
1. In a wok, heat oil and then add onion, garlic, ginger, and Saute till translucent
2. Add all julienne vegetables in no particular order
3. Keep stirring in the wok till all vegetables are slightly tender
4. Add the soy sauce and vinegar and take off the flame.
5. Add 1 tsp of salt/ chili

To make Kung Pao Tofu (Optional)
You are more than welcome to skip 'crisping' of tofu and use it as is, I like the flavored tofu more so went for it
1. Take the tofu out of packaging and leave on paper to dry for 4-5 minutes
2. Meanwhile in a flat pan, heat oil on a medium flame
3. Chop the tofu to desired size, i prefer cubes, and then add to the oil
4. Every 4-5 minutes keep moving the tofu so no side gets burned
5. In about 25-30 minutes, you will have the tofu crisp
Now you can definitely add more oil in the start and shallow fry the tofu to quicken the process, well I was trying to use less oil!
6. Now, in a separate bowl mix the kung pao and the soy sauce and add to tofu and coat evenly.
7. Take off the flame; however let it stay on pan to crispen further

1. Based on package instructions, cook noodles and allow to cool
2. Recommendation: Cook just a little over al dente!

Hey, i warned you, this process is long
Alternatives: Just use the readymade sauce and mix with water, soy sauce, vinegar, mustard!!!
The longer process
1. Heat oil, add the minced onion, garlic.
2. When slightly browned, add the tomato puree
3. On medium flame, let it cook (until the portion becomes half) and the sauce look deep red!
4. Now add the ready made sauce, soy sauce, mustard, salt per taste
5. And my secret ingredient: A little bit of black pepper
6. Let it cook, for another 5-10  minutes

All you have done so far, is cook your noodles, Sautee the vegetables and make the sauce... but for serving your noodles, you cant just mix them!!! You have to stir fry them all together to let it be one uniform taste!

Stir Fry of Noodles
1. In the wok, heat 1-2 tsp of oil, add noodles and toss!
2. I like personally to get my noodles slightly crisp here, but your choice!
3. Add the Sautee vegetables and the sauce
Note: My portions above are to feed a mini village, so I had to do this 7 times!! Yes, I made that much!!
4. Any ways, let is cook and simmer for 5-10 minutes

Dishing it out!!
1. Place warm noodles in the serving dish.
2. Sprinkle all the toppings & Voila!!!!

Your 'True Kung Pao' noodles are ready for consumption!

Yes the process above is long and tedious, but for everyday cooking feel free to follow this recipe or the simple 'cheat sheet' below
1. All vegetables can even just be chopped in your food processor/ alternatively use any of the readily available frozen stir fry mixes.
2. Tofu can be used as-is or just lightly toasted
3. Sauce can Just using the ready-made sauce and mix with water, soy sauce, vinegar, mustard!!
4. Assembling it all together and munching on it.

Yes, there is a difference in flavor, the long-ish process results in more flavors (Or at least I think so, since I spend 2 hours preparing them!). But on a school evening after a long day at work, I am completely fine with the 'simple' yet delicious noodles!

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