It's a good thing to have a look in the pantry once in awhile and realize that one has got way too much stuff in it. I'm not a terribly disorganized person, but my pantry habits are the exception—it's a place where the things I buy are shoved into dark corners and never heard from again. My kitchen curiosities are so erratic that I hardly cook the same thing twice, and I am lousy at using an ingredient that I've bought in new recipes.
After moving apartments last week, though, and schlepping an embarrassing number of boxes of foodstuffs, I vowed to get better. A surplus of rice noodles led me to this recipe, which Serious Eater kitchen caravan alerted me to in a comment on a previous recipe for Curried Pork Noodles. The result was a spicy and pungent red curry that was very quick to make. Though I couldn't find lemongrass, I substituted lemon zest and extra ginger and it worked. I'm looking forward to trying more recipes from the huge stockpile at Kitchen Caravan soon—many of them look very unique and exciting.
- 6 ounces dried rice noodles
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon lemon grass stalk, or replace with zest of one lemon and extra ginger
- 1/2 small onion, peeled and grated
- 3 tablespoons neutral oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut up into medium sized pieces
- To garnish: chopped scallions or cilantro
Cover the noodles with boiling water and set aside to soak until soft.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan or large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the grated ginger, garlic, onion, and lemongrass, and cook, stirring occassionally, until most of the moisture cooks away and the paste is beginning to gently brown.
Add the chili powder and turmeric, and combine well into the paste. Continue cooking for 1 minute to marry the spices. Add the chicken pieces, stirring to coat with the paste and spices, then add the fish sauce, tomato paste, and water. Cover and simmer gently until the chicken is just cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.
Using two forks, shred the chicken, doing so in a bowl if necessary to keep things clean. Return to the chicken to the sauce and add the noodles, tossing well. Continue cooking until the noodles are completely soft and the sauce is a nice consistency. Taste for seasoning, and add a bit of water if necessary.
Serve immediately with cilantro or scallions.