Welcome to With Thorough Foodiness, my Saturday cooking feature. Here on WTF I like to present cooking in an easy-to-follow, interesting format. The most important thing for me is that when you make these recipes, you will know that you are not alone: we all screwed it up too. Not to worry! Dinner will happen anyway! And anyone who complains can go make it themselves.
This week’s recipe is another ‘almost vegetarian’ food. As in, it appears vegetarian, but isn’t. Sounds useless, I know, but for those of us who aren’t vegetarians but would like to be a bit more healthy or frugal, it totally counts as meat-free.
Yes, that’s right; after eating this meal, you too can proudly proclaim: “I ate a vegetarian meal today by my standards.”
I will admit, I made this recipe up. However, it is fantastic, and anyway, I’ve made them all up so far so I don’t see why I should stop now; nobody’s complained yet. May I present: Almost Vegetarian Asian Noodles.
(Don’t worry, there’s a billion steps, but it’s one of those “chop fifty things and assemble” recipes. It goes fast.)
- 1 Red pepper
- Lots of Fresh Cilantro
- Scallions (aka green onions)
- 1 Avocado
- Sugar snap pea pods
- Mai Fun (rice thread noodles, or cellophane noodles)
- Soy Sauce
- Chicken Bullion Powder
- Rice Vinegar
- A dried chili
- Firm Tofu
Makes food for four
- Thinly slice red pepper into long strips. Lay them out on a tray and pop them in your toaster oven to broil. This will take 18-20 minutes, and they are finished when they are small and withered. This makes them very sweet, so even if you’re not usually much for peppers, they’re good.
- Pick the leaves off the cilantro. How much? You can never have too much. Handful is a good place to start, go up from there. Rinse leaves, then snip them into pieces with scissors. Make them about the size of your index finger-tip, maybe 1cm square. Set aside.
- Peel avocado and remove pit. I use the whack-it-with-a-knife method, but whatever works for you. Slice into inch-square pieces and set aside.
- Slice scallions, discarding the very dark green bits, only keeping the tender light green and white parts. I like to go small, like, confetti small, so I can get them in every bite. If someone is picky, leave them big so they can avoid them.
- Steam sugar snap peas until they are tender and bright green. Test them with a fork to check. If it easily breaks through the skin, they are done, take those suckers off the heat.
- Make the Mai Fun according to the directions on the package. No, I’m not repeating them here, just read the package. If you can’t follow the package directions, probably nothing I’m saying will change the realities of your kitchen.
- TIME TO MAKE SAUCE. Alrighty. Put on about two cups of water to boil. Add: 1 Tablespoon of chicken bullion powder (the tablespoon is the large one, DO NOT just use a large spoon from your cutlery drawer, good grief people, do not even). 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar. Taste. Adjust ingredients to taste.* Bring to a boil. Toss in your dried chili. Boil for five minutes and then turn off.
- You are almost done. Time to cut the tofu. Slice open the package over a sink so you don’t get tofu-water everywhere, and drain it. Then slice the tofu into large cubes, about an inch cubed in size. If they are still all wet, set them on a paper towel. No, they won’t stick, just be careful lifting them up again. Trust me on this.
- Cut the lime into quarters for squeezing.
- Assemble your bowls! First place noodles**, then arrange the other ingredients on top, except for broth and lime. After everything is prettily arranged, pour the broth over. Squeeze lime to taste (now that you know how). It will be a) gorgeous and b) super impressive looking. And filling. And delicious.
- Consume with the smug look of someone who almost ate a vegetarian meal. You are free to fib on social media and say it was fully vegetarian, I don’t mind.***
*You adjust ingredients to taste by sticking a spoon in whatever you are making and go, “Is it good enough?” If the answer is, “No,” think of the ingredients you have available. Are they salty? Sweet? Sour? Will they go with whatever you are making? Add accordingly.
**If your bowls are not as big as you thought they were, you can serve your noodles on the side, like I did, and dip them in the sauce. Bonus points for pretty bowls.
***However, if you tell real vegetarian people that it is vegetarian and then break the news only after they eat, I will laugh as they hunt you down with a juicer, because you will deserve it.
Well, there you have it, another great recipe from WTF. Next week, tune in for With Thorough Foodiness Week 4: Microwave Cotton Candy Made Easy. Thank you for reading, and do enjoy your delicious dinners!