Pasta is versatile. Be it a soup or a salad or an entrée, it lends hand to a cook who has to bring dinner to the table with limited resources. Though called under different names like , or , wheat noodles can get boring sometimes. At those times, I jump to the oriental camp and cook with or noodles. If you are once again bored, then try rice noodles. You will be surprised.
I always have rice noodles in my pantry. Instant idiyappam, as they are called, my mom prepares them as you would prepare any mixed rice. Lemon, coconut, tamarind and tomato are the common flavours. But when I want to get my vegetable fix of the day, I do what I normally do – stir fry. And then serve it with rice noodles.
One of the things I do when I am grocery shopping is stock my freezer with frozen vegetables. Apart from the usual peas, corn, broccoli, I also buy various blends of mixed vegetables. All you have to do for a quick meal is thaw and sauté the vegetables. With a little creativity and few flavoursome sauce ideas, dinner time is something to look forward to.IngredientsRice noodles – ½ packet
Onion – 1
Garlic – 2 cloves
Lemongrass – 1 stalk, minced (optional)
Carrot – 2, cut into thin slices
Baby corn – 1 can, drained and rinsed
Bean sprouts – 1 cup
Tomato puree (canned tomato sauce) – 1 cup
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Soy sauce – 1 tbsp
Chilli powder or red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
Place noodles in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand until it is cooked, according to package instructions. Drain and keep warm.
In a skillet, heat oil, add onion, garlic and lemongrass and sauté until soft. Add carrots, baby corn, tomato puree, coriander powder, soy sauce, chilli powder and salt. Stir to combine. Allow the sauce to bubble and the vegetables to get partially cooked, yet remain crunchy. Add bean sprouts, adjust seasoning and liquid, if necessary. The vegetable mixture has to be soupy to soak the rice noodles.
Spoon the cooked noodles onto a bowl and top with the vegetable mixture with sauce. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
Other vegetables that can go into this bowl are bell peppers, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots etc. You can even add a can of beans of your choice. My favourite way is to sprinkle some toasted peanuts on top.