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Eight Minute Lunch Box

Posted in asian, condiments, eggs, noodles, okra, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2013 by oskila

Tram to work leaves in half an hour, you forgot to pack lunch the night before and the takeaway opportunities at work are sketchy at best? Fear not. Do like this:

1. Put on kettle with just enough water to soften a block of noodles.

2. Heat a pan

3. Chop some garlic sprouts and put in pan with oil. Add some kind of spice that benefits from a bit of sizzling, like Sichuan pepper.

4. Toss some frozen okra in the same pan. Be careful, because the oil will not like this at all and end up everywhere.

5. When the kettle is boiling, pour water over noodles in bowl.

6. Keep stirring pan.

7. Drain noodles and add to pan. Season some more.

8. When the sear on the okra is satisfactory, scrape everything into a box.

9. Fry an egg and put in the box.

10. Finishing touches such as condiments.

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The lunch in all its glory. I got hold of some Taiwanese wheat noodles that are spinach flavored according to the label, but only contain flour, water, salt and food coloring E102 and E133. Those colorants happen to be Tartrazine and Brilliant Blue FCF, both of which are synthesized from petroleum and may be harmful to people with allergies or asthma (And therefore used to be forbidden in Sweden until the EU made a fuss) The two condiment dollops are ssamjang (top) and sambal oelek (bottom).

All of this can be done inside eight minutes. Remove the egg (and perhaps add more vegetables) and you’ll have a vegan lunch instead.

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More Noodly Frolicking: Soba

Posted in asian, cabbage, condiments, crossover, discount, eggs, japanese, korean, mushroom, noodles, preserve, side dish, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2013 by oskila

As said before, I got hold of a lot of interesting stuff at that Asian store recently. One of them was Soba noodles, which are made with buckwheat (perhaps something for gluten sensitives to look into?) In addition, the little supermarket on the way to work had dirt cheap button mushrooms. Like so often before, the resulting food is  some kind of general fusion of Japanese and Korean, interpreted by someone with limited actual experience of either.

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Frying up a considerable amount of sliced mushrooms, along with a bit of carrots, shallots, garlic sprouts and a little bit of celery

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Plop slightly undercooked noodles into pan. Season a bit, with for example light soy and Worcestershire sauce (sitting in for mirin. That stuff is really expensive)

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Served up with a fried egg and a knob of ssamjang. For a proper Korean meal one should have kimchi. I didn’t feel like doing a weekend of fermenting napa cabbage, so I cheated a bit and just pickled some white cabbage. Just mix up one part distilled vinegar with two parts sugar and three parts water. Add salt, chili and garlic to taste and chuck in cabbage, onions or whatever tickles your fancy. The resulting condiment could be regarded as something halfway between Korean kimchi and Japanese tsukemono.

Exploring Udon and Dashi

Posted in asian, condiments, crossover, japanese, lotus root, mushroom, noodles, peppers, soup, stock, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2013 by oskila

Raided the recently mentioned Asian grocery store again, and came home with five different kinds of noodles, frozen okra, some instant dashi granules and ssamjang. Since noodles obviously are one of my favorite kinds of food I thought I’d make some.

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Leek, dashi, mushrooms, red chili pepper, carrot, garlic sprouts, ssamjang, udon noodles and lotus roots. Since udon noodles are commonly served in soup that’s what I’m going to do. Ingredient-wise this dish has roots in Japan, Korea and probably China too, so I’m ending up with a general Asian concoction again. This doesn’t really bother me, since the main objective is to simply make tasty food.

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Noodles boiling away. I put them in a sauté pan only in order to be able to put them in whole. Most of my other pots except the really huge ones aren’t wide enough to do that. Save a pint or so of the water after the noodles are cooked, in order to save time and power when making the broth.

For some reason I forgot to take pictures of the broth, but on the other hand it wasn’t very visually enticing. Simply put the hot liquid back in the pan on the hob and sprinkle instant dashi in it to taste. Season with soy and vinegar (ideally rice vinegar, but I used white wine vinegar and a hint of sugar.)

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Meanwhile, the vegetables are jumbled together in another sauté pan. I only used a bit of the green part of the leek and sliced the carrot with the help of a vegetable peeler. Since the lotus root slices were still frozen I simply microwaved them along with a spoonful of water for some time instead and then chopped them up a bit.

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To assemble dish, simply scoop noodles into bowl with vegetables on top and then pour dashi broth over the whole thing. I topped with a dollop of ssamjang and black and white sesame seeds for additional tastiness.

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