Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Asparagus and Eggs

Asparagus Noodles, originally uploaded by mysterybridgers.

This gem of a recipe comes from our favorite recipe guy, Jack Bishop. The recipe is out of A Year in a Vegetarian Kitchen. This cookbook is a real winner and I don't think that we have had anything bad out of it.

The asparagus have been very good this year so we have been eating a lot of them and have been looking for interesting recipes to put them in. This recipe fit the bill.

This recipe is really made tasty by the tamarind pulp. Apparently the taste of tamarind pulp is very different from tamarind paste. We couldn't find any for the longest time and would use tamarind paste instead (although both are tasty, they are indeed very different in flavor). We finally found some tamarind pulp at a local Indian grocer. It subsequently sat in our kitchen cabinet for many months until I came across this recipe and remembered that we had the pulp in the cabinet. In order to use the pulp, you have to cut a chunk off of the sticky block and soak it in boiling water until it softens. The liquid then has to go through a mesh strainer to remove the fibers and the seeds. It doesn't sound so great, but it really adds a wonderful flavor. The eggs in this recipe sucked up the flavor and I bet just eggs with tamarind pulp would be a good breakfast.

Oh, the other secret to this recipe is the roasted peanut oil. This cookbook in particular uses a lot of the roasted peanut oil, but we had subbed a different kind of oil each time because the roasted peanut oil is a little pricey (about $6 for a medium sized bottle). One time when we had a discount coupon for our co-op, we bought a bottle and we will never look back. This oil adds so much flavor and you only need to use a little bit of it to get the flavor in there so I guess the price isn't too bad. If you have never tried roasted peanut oil, I highly recommend it. We get a brand that is simply labeled as peanut oil, but you can tell that it is roasted by the dark color (and the label on the side of the bottle that indicates that the peanuts are roasted).

Believe it or not I have another story related to this dish. The recipe called for linguine size rice noodles. We could not find this size rice noodles anywhere. The co-op normally has them, but they were out (which is funny because when I was looking for thin rice noodles all they had were fat ones). We went to several different places with no luck. Finally we went to Japantown and the 3rd grocer we went to had them. I would not have purchased anything else from this particular grocer however because they were selling out of date products at a discounted price--totally illegal, but what you gonna do? Report them?

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