Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dress Up Ramen for Dinner in Minutes

This delicious noodle dish is one of my favorite "shortcut" recipes -- you can put it together quickly and it leaves you feeling satisfyingly full, but not stuffed. When you're pressed for time, it's surprisingly good even if you make just the main recipe and omit the peanut sambal. You can also dress it up by substituting soba noodles for the ramen...

Ramen Noodles with Peanut Sambal
4-6 servings

2 packages instant ramen noodles
1 tablespoon peanut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sweet corn
1 jalapeno, chopped with seeds and ribs removed
2 bok choy or 1 cup cabbage, cut into thin slices lengthwise
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced

1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add the noodles and boil until al dente, about three minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.

2. Heat the oil in a sauté pan. Add the garlic, corn, and jalapeno and sauté until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes, then add the bok choy and scallions and sauté another 2 minutes. Add the cooked noodles, soy sauce, and half of the reserved cooking liquid. Toss well.

3. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl. Top with iceberg lettuce and peanut sambal and serve.

Peanut Sambal
Makes 2 cups

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 cup roughly chopped peanuts
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice, or 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
1 chili pepper, ribs and seeds removed, finely chopped
4 basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

1. Heat the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, lime zest, and lemon zest and sauté until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes.

2. Add the soy sauce and stir well to combine. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the peanuts, onion, tomato, chili, basil, lime juice, lemon juice, and parsley. Serve warm, or store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

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