Red Curry Noodles with Crispy Tofu

If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we adore a good noodle recipe that incorporates lots of spicy Asian flavors. We love eating traditional Thai curry, but now that the weather is getting warmer, the idea of a big bowl of soupy curry isn’t quite as welcome as it is in the winter. To get all of those same flavors without the soup, we created this red curry noodle bowl that has all of the flavors of our favorite curry recipes but with a texture and consistency that is more similar to a stir fry. The noodles are sticky and exploding with flavor. The key to making this a one pan recipe is to find noodles that are pre-cooked (or instant) in the Asian aisles of your grocery store. They soak up the curry and thicken as they heat in the sauce for the perfect slurping consistency.

Red Curry Noodles with Crispy Tofu

  • Servings: 4
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  We love the combination of the spicy red curry, creamy coconut milk, and crispy tofu in this dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 package extra firm tofu
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 tbs fresh garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbs fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 16 oz of your favorite precooked rice noodles- we prefer more of a ramen/stir fry noodle for this recipe
  • 1 cup snap peas, ends trimmed and cut into small bite sized pieces
  • chili oil, for garnish
  • fresh basil leaves, for garnish
  • fresh cilantro, for garnish

Directions

  1. Drain the tofu of any liquid in the packaging. Use a kitchen towel or paper towels to press as much of the water out of the tofu as possible without destroying its shape. Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces and again, gently press the water out of the tofu.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan with vegetable oil. Add the tofu to the pan and season the tofu with salt. Cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, rotating the tofu half way through, or when it is starting to brown. Remove the tofu from the pan, leaving behind any oil that is left in the pan after cooking.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan. If there is no oil left from the tofu, add a tablespoon of the fat from the coconut milk to the pan. Cook the garlic and ginger for 2-3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the red curry paste to the pan and cook another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the soy sauce and coconut milk to the pan. Stir well so that everything is combined and let the coconut mixture simmer for about 3 minutes, or until it reduces by about 25%. Add the noodles and snap peas to the red curry mixture and toss well to coat. Cook for a few minutes, or until the noodles are cooked through. Add the tofu back into the pan and again toss to coat.
  5. Serve the noodles and tofu into large bowls for serving. Garnish the noodles with fresh basil and cilantro, and a drizzle of chili oil, if desired.


Crispy Sesame Chicken Noodle Bowls

We love Asian food of all kinds (seriously, we are pretty obsessed) and for those lunches and dinners where we want to cook in, we jump at the opportunity to cook with some of the Asian flavors we like most. These crispy sesame chicken bowls are the perfect recipe for an easy and flavorful family dinner that everyone will be looking forward to. We have put a lot of love into creating a crispy sesame chicken that is sweet, spicy and savory. The chicken is combined with mushrooms, edamame and carrots – but really you can use almost any vegetable you have on hand – and tossed with a sesame flavored noodles. The results are simply to die for. Our audience for this meal was aged 1.5 to 65 and everyone was equally pleased and satisfied.

Crispy Sesame Chicken Noodle Bowls

  • Servings: 4
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An Asian inspired noodle bowl that comes together in under 30 minutes.

Chicken Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 tbs hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs sambel oelek (garlic chili paste)
  • 1/2 orange, juiced

Noodle Bowl Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cups fresh ramen noodles (if you can’t find fresh, dry noodles work just fine)
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 1 lb white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup shelled edamame (defrost in advance if you purchase frozen)

Directions

  1. Prepare the chicken. In a medium bowl, combine the chicken and cornstarch. Use your hand or a spoon to toss the chicken in the corn starch until the chicken pieces are thoroughly coated. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sambal oelek and orange juice.
  2. Cook the chicken. In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 tbs of the sesame oil. Add the chicken and sauté for 5 minutes until the chicken is crisped and browned on all sides. Add the sauce mixture and continue sautéing for an additional five minutes. The sauce will thicken and the chicken will be dark and sticky.
  3. Prepare the sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil and ginger. Set aside.
  4. Cook the noodles according to package directions.
  5. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the vegetables. Using the same sauté pan as the chicken (you don’t need to bother rinsing it out), heat the remaining sesame oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger and carrots and sauté for 5 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and cooked through. Add the edamame and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Bring it all together. Add the noodles and sauce to the vegetables and toss together so that all of the ingredients are combined and warmed through. Serve immediately in a bowl and top with the chicken.


Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

We love mac & cheese more than most things in life. It’s our favorite accompaniment for any bbq menu and most family gatherings. In the spirit of keeping ourselves “bikini ready” this summer, we wanted to create our version of a healthier mac & cheese recipe. Our goal was to create an alternative that is healthier than most recipes without sacrificing taste. 

To do this we used cauliflower as the base of our cheese sauce! It might sound like an odd choice, but steamed cauliflower is a delicious, mostly neutral, creamy base and often used for similar vegan recipes. Our mac is hardly vegan, and to help cut having a strong cauliflower taste, we used sharp white cheddar and gruyere to cheese up our macaroni. We chose to steam the cauliflower to preserve most of the vegetable’s nutrients, but you can save some time by boiling the cauliflower or buying frozen cauliflower florets. As long as the cauliflower is fork-tender, it is ready to be made into sauce. The results are pretty darn excellent and we don’t feel bad about digging in all summer long! 

Cauliflower Mac & Cheese 
Makes: 8 servings 
Prep Time: 40 minutes     Total Time: 60 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb pasta 
  • 1 large head cauliflower 
  • 12 oz milk or vegetable stock 
  • 2 tbs butter 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp ground mustard 
  • 6 oz block sharp white cheddar cheese, grated 
  • 6 oz block Gruyere cheese, grated 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Remove the leaves and excess stem from the cauliflower. Chop the cauliflower into medium-sized florets. Fill a large steamer pot with about 2 inches of water and heat on high. Put the cauliflower florets into the steamer basket, cover, and cook the cauliflower for 20-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower can easily be pierced with a fork. 
  3. While the cauliflower is steaming, heat a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions, about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside. 
  4. When the cauliflower is fork-tender, remove it from the steamer and place it directly into a large food processor or blender. Pulse the cauliflower so that it starts to break down. Add the liquid- the milk or vegetable stock- to the blender 1/4 cup at a time, until the cauliflower forms a thick and smooth sauce. Reserve any extra liquid that you did not use in case you need to thin the sauce after adding the cheese. 
  5. Heat the pot you used to cook the pasta over medium heat. Add the butter to the pot and give it a quick stir until it is melted. Add the cauliflower puree, garlic powder, and ground mustard to the pot and stir. Add about 3/4 of each of the cheeses to the cauliflower and continue to stir until the cheese is completely melted. If at any point you think the sauce is too thick, add more of the liquid to the sauce. When the sauce is completely melted and has a thick but smooth texture, give it a taste and season it with salt and pepper. 
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir thoroughly to combine. Spray a large pyrex baking dish with cooking spray and transfer the mac and cheese from the pasta pot to the pyrex. Use a spatula to spread the mac and cheese into an even layer in the dish and top with the remaining cheeses. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly, before serving. 

Momofuku Inspired Chilled Spicy Noodles

If it isn’t abundantly clear, we love ourselves a good noodle bowl. It was love at first bite when we first tried Momofuku in New York and have made it a point every time we go to the city to stop by for noodles, steamed buns, and any and everything else on the menu. One summer we tried their Chilled Ramen Bowl and Tate’s Dad couldn’t get enough. We have since been recreating this dish at our homes so we can enjoy it year round. This dish is the perfect combo of spicy, sweet and crunchy. We used spinach in this recipe but you can substitute for any green vegetable that you have on hand. Because it is served cold, you can make extras that will hold up extremely well in your fridge so you can have this all week long.

Momofuku Inspired Chilled Spicy Noodles
Makes: 6 servings 
Prep Time: 20 minutes    Total Time: 35 minutes 

Ingredients for The Candied Cashews**:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs water 

Ingredients For the Noodles: 

  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, grated 
  • 4 dried thai chiles, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 6 cups spinach
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs fish sauce
  • 2 tbs sesame oil 
  • 1 lb fresh wonton noodles (any fresh soup noodle will work) 
  • scallions, for garnish 
  • salt and pepper to taste. 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make the cashews by combining the cashews, sugar, and water in a small bowl- stir to combine. Pour the mixture into a medium skillet over medium heat. Let the liquid and sugar start to bubble. When it starts to caramelize pour the cashews onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the cashews are golden brown and crunchy. 
  2. While the cashews are cooking, start the pork. Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork, ginger, thai chiles, and garlic to the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook until the pork is cooked through. Add the spinach, reduce the heat, and cook until the spinach is cooked through. Drain most of the fat from the pan, reserving 1/4 cup for the noodles, and turn the heat off the pan. 
  3. Cook the noodles. Heat a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain the noodles when they have finished cooking and rinse with cold water to cool. Toss the noodles with the soy sauce, fish sauce, and sesame oil; season with salt to taste. If they need a little extra liquid, use a bit of the reserved fat from the pork to give them a flavorful coating. 
  4. Create the noodle bowls by layering the noodles on the bottom of the bowl. Top with the ground pork and spinach mix and finish with the candied cashews. Garnish with chopped scallions if desired. 

** You can skip this step and buy a number of candied cashew varieties at the grocery store and skip this step! We often use Trader Joe’s Sesame Candied Cashews as a quick replacement.


Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup

One of our favorite local restaurants for Chinese food is Shanghai Kitchen. For the untrained, Shanghai Kitchen is a good, standard Chinese restaurant. However, what most people don’t know is that Shanghai Kitchen actually has two different menus – one being filled with authentic Shanghainese cuisine. Throughout the years we have made friends with the restaurant staff and they have exposed us to new, amazing dishes. One of those dishes is the beef in chili oil. Our obsession with this dish inspired us to figure out how we can make new dishes within that same flavor profile. After experimenting a bit, we have come up with this spicy chicken noodle soup. Full of flavor and heat, this soup will warm you up on any cold night. We recommend making it in big batches as one bowl simply won’t be enough.

Spicy Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 large chicken thighs
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups chili oil
  • 1 lb noodles (we used shells for this recipe but prefer udon)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • scallions for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil to the pan along with the onion, carrots, and celery. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are starting to caramelize. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
  2. Season the chicken thighs well with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, creating room in the pan so that they have direct contact with the bottom of the pan. Cook for 4 minutes per side so that the chicken starts to brown and retains its juices.
  3. Add the chili oil and chicken stock to the pot. Bring the liquids up to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken thighs from the pot. Shred them with a fork or dice them with a knife and return the chicken back to the soup. Cook another 10 minutes covered and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. While the soup is in it’s final 10 minutes of cooking, bring a second pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles of your choice and cook according to package directions. Drain the noodles and add them to the soup. If you aren’t planning to eat the soup in one sitting, add the drained noodles to each serving of soup and top with chicken and broth. This will prevent the noodles from getting soggy if you eat the soup over the course of a few days. Top with chopped scallions before serving, if desired.

Chilled Sesame Noodles

We love a good Asian-inspired noodle dish about as much as we love anything in this world. No matter what type of restaurant we are dining at, if noodles are on the menu, we will always partake. One of the problems with dishes like drunken noodles or pad thai is that they do not typically reheat well and creating these types of recipes for a crowd can be a struggle to cook everything at the exact right time so that it comes out tasting fresh and texturally correct. Our solution to this problem is to serve the noodles we cook for more than a few people chilled. This allows for a more relaxed preparation and on a day we are having friends over, we can actually enjoy the company and the food.

The key to any chilled dish is seasoning the heck out of the ingredients. A recipe served chilled tastes significantly less seasoned than the exact same dish served hot. For that reason our dressing packs a punch. If you are making these for a particular meal we suggest serving them at room temperature right after cooking the noodles. If you want to make them for meal-prep and have this as a weekday lunch, chill the noodles completely before adding the other ingredients. This will help the vegetables stay fresh for a day or two before eating.


Chilled Sesame Noodles
Makes: 4 entree servings
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients for the Noodles:

  • 1 lb noodles- we used pad thai noodles but soba are a great choice too
  • 2 cups frozen edamame beans
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced in half horizontally and then into thin matchsticks
  • fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

For the Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs+ Sriracha or other chili paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs fresh ginger, minced
  • salt to taste

Directions:

  • Heat a large pot of water on the stove top. Bring to a boil and cook the edamame, from frozen, according to package directions (approximately 4-5 minutes). Use a slotted spoon to remove the beans from the pot and set aside.
  • Cook the noodles according to package directions, about 6 minutes. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the dressing.
  • Mix the ingredients for the dressing (sesame oil – ginger) in a small mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine and season with salt. Set aside.
  • Drain the noodles from the boiling water. Run the noodles under cold water until they are luke warm to the touch if you are serving right away, until they are cold if you are making this to serve later.
  • Add the noodles and dressing to a large mixing bowl. Toss well to combine as the pad thai noodles can become sticky. Add the edamame, bell pepper, and carrots to the bowl and mix thoroughly. Season as needed and top with cilantro and sesame seeds for garnish, if desired.

Khao Soi (Northern Thai Chicken Curry)

Public Service Announcement: this recipe is no easy feat. It takes a run to your local Asian grocery store and the purchase of some unusual ingredients all before you even start your work in the kitchen. That being said, if you have traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, and had the gloriousness that is Khao Soi while you were there, you will find that the recipe is more than worth the effort. For those unfamiliar, Khao Soi is a chicken curry dish found exclusively in Northern Thailand. Most restaurants in the region have their version on a menu, and it is sold for about 30 baht ($1 USD) per bowl.

The components of Khao Soi are: soft egg noodles on the bottom, a coconut based red curry soup broth, dark meat chicken, and crispy egg noodles on top. The dish is served with accompaniments on the side including a wedge of lime, sliced shallots, and some sort of pickled green vegetable. Tuck’s mom learned how to make Khao Soi at a cooking class in Thailand and quickly replicated it for Tate’s mom, who has been craving this dish since her trip to Thailand in 2012.

Khao Soi (Northern Thai Chicken Curry)

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients for Khao Soy Curry Paste:

  • 4 tbs red curry paste
  • 4 tsp fresh ginger
  • 4 tsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 4  tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp coriander seed 
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seed

Ingredients for Khao Soi Curry :

  • 8 tbs khao soy curry paste (one full recipe above)
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 package chicken thighs (around 1.25 lbs)
  • 16 oz coconut milk *
  • 16 oz chicken stock
  • 4 tsp sugar 
  • 4 tbs fish sauce

Ingredients For Toppings and Base:

  • 2 lbs fresh egg noodles, separated **
  • thinly sliced shallot
  • 1 lime, segmented
  • chopped cilantro (not traditional but we prefer this over pickled vegetables)

Directions:

  1. Make the crispy noodles. Heat 1 cup of vegetable oil in a small sauce pot over medium high heat. Separate 1/4 of the egg noodles (.5 lbs) to be used for the crispy noodles on top of the curry. Fry the noodles in batches in the oil until the noodles are crispy. If you are using fresh noodles, this should only take about 1-2 minutes per batch of noodles. Set each batch onto paper towels to drain and season with a pinch of salt. When all of the .5 lbs of noodles have been cooked, turn the oil off the heat and set the noodles aside until ready to serve.
  2. Make the khao soi curry paste. Combine all of the khao soi curry paste ingredients in a small blender. Blend thoroughly so that the ingredients form a rough paste.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot. Add the khao soi curry paste to the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on medium heat so that the ingredients start to release their flavors. Add the chicken thighs to the pan, searing on each side for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the coconut milk and chicken stock to the pan. Cover with a lid and reduce the heat so that the liquid is at a constant simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the chicken thighs are cooked completely through.
  5. After 30 minutes, remove the chicken thighs onto a cutting board. Use two forks to pull the chicken into large, bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken back into the pot along with the fish sauce and sugar. Cover and keep on low heat until ready to serve.
  6. Cook the remaining egg noodles (1.5 lbs) in boiling water. If using fresh noodles, this will only take about 1 minute. Cook the noodles and drain immediately.
  7. Divide the noodles evenly into four bowls. Top with a generous portion of the chicken curry. Top with the crispy noodles you made in step 1 and serve with the shallots, cilantro, and wedge of lime.

Notes: * You can use whatever combination of chicken stock and coconut milk that you prefer, so long as the liquids total 32 oz. If you prefer a creamier, heartier curry use only coconut milk. If you prefer a lighter version of this dish use primarily chicken stock. ** The type of noodles that are traditionally served in this dish are similar to an egg noodle linguini. You should be able to find this type of noodle at an Asian grocery store.


Bucatini Carbonara

During a recent trip to Minneapolis, we had dinner at Martina and ate one of the most delicious dishes: Bucatini Carbonara. Bucatini has been a long time favorite pasta and having it Carbonara style was a first for us and a huge treat. For those unfamiliar, bucatini is a long, spaghetti-shaped pasta with a hole in the middle. Picture little spaghetti straws made to soak up all that saucy goodness. After having this dish in Minneapolis we knew we had to spend time trying to recreate it. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do! While this recipe has a small ingredient list, it is important that you do everything in the correct order and in a timely fashion to get great results. For that reason, the steps might seem out of order compared to a traditional carbonara recipe.

Bucatini Carbonara   
Serving Size: 4 entrees                                                                                                 
Prep Time: 20 minutes    Total Time: 25 minutes  

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Bucatini Pasta 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan shredded cheese (plus more for garnish, if desired) 
  • 4 oz pancetta, Guanciale, or bacon, diced 
  • 2 egg yolks, room temperature 
  • 2 whole eggs, room temperature 
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste 
  • parsley, for garnish  

Directions:  

  1. Whisk the egg yolks and whole eggs in a medium mixing bowl until they are completely blended. Add the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and whisk again to combine. It is best if this bowl stays at least room temperature while you cook the remainder of the ingredients. This will help temper the eggs (warm them slowly) so that they do not curdle when you add them to the pasta. To achieve this, we keep the bowl near the stove top to absorb indirect heat. Be sure to keep it close, but not close enough that it will cook the eggs! 
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta as directed by the package, cooking the lowest number of minutes suggested. You want the pasta to be al dente as it will continue to cook throughout the rest of the recipe preparation. 
  3. While the water is coming to a boil, heat a large pan on medium-high heat.  Add the pancetta to the pan and cook to render off the fat. You want the edges of the pancetta to be crispy but you don’t want it to shrink and be too firm. Remove the pancetta from the pan and turn off the heat from under the pan. 
  4. When the pasta has finished cooking, remove 1 1/2 cups of pasta water with a liquid measuring cup. Drain the remaining water from the pasta and put the pasta into the pancetta pan. Turn the heat back onto medium. Add 1/2 cup of the pasta water. 
  5. Turn the flame off on the pasta pan. Add the egg mixture and quickly mix to absorb the sauce among the pasta evenly. Continue to toss until the sauce appears cooked through- it should be creamy. If it looks too dry, continue to add the pasta water 1/4 – 1/2 cup at a time until it reaches your desired consistency. 
  6. Add the pancetta back into the pan, give it a quick toss, and top with parsley and more Parmesan, if desired. Serve immediately.