It’s been one of those months. You know, where you wonder if you’re taking away the right lessons from the events that are placed before you. That things are happening so fast your head is spinning and you can’t seem to keep up with where the days are going? That you blinked and it was May!?
We’ll get to the Thai Ginger and Garlic Noodle Bowl in just a moment. But first, I want to share…. Megan, over at A Sweet Spoonful, recently posted on this very thing after reading I’ll Finish the Dishes When I’m Dead by Brigid Shulte from Time. Megan’s post showed up in my in box just when I needed a reality/perspective check. It’s funny how life presents what you need when you need it.
And then, too, my sister, Ma, cousin and I had just been talking about this very thing, about this state of overwhelm, that we never quite get everything we want to get done, done in any given day. A quote in Shulte’s piece that spoke to me is: “So much of our overwhelm comes from unrealistic expectations…. And when we don’t meet them, instead of questioning the expectations, we think that we’re doing something wrong.” Oh, how this can create inner turmoil!
Ok. But where are these expectations coming from? Self? Society? Employer? Family? All of the above? If it is from self then, this is a gentle reminder to be kind to ourselves. To allow time in each day for breathing room. Time outside the need to’s or have to’s. To somehow build that breathing room into our days. Make it a priority. If it’s coming from our employer and/or family, then why not question those unrealistic expectations? And from society? Well, I think that defaults to self.
The big question regarding expectations is, are these expectations real or assumed? Perhaps I just haven’t sat with this lesson long enough.
All this philosophical stuff makes me hungry. So today, I have prepared for you a delectable sweet yet spicy, garlic and ginger noodle bowl. The words noodle bowl make my mouth water. Yours too? The colors of this dish are inviting! See the beautiful snow peas? They’re blanched. Easy, right? Yet preparing rice noodles, stick noodles or bean thread noodles can be tricky. Do I soak them in hot or cold water? Follow directions on the package or go about my own method?
It took me several times to get my noodle technique down to my liking. For this dish, I opted for a cold soak, then a quick mix in the simmering sauce to heat and tenderize the noodles further.
I tried the hot soak method and I ended up with mush. Not because this isn’t an acceptable way to soak noodles. I just get easily distracted by the myriad of distractions while one is cooking and then I forget things like…. my noodles are soaking in hot water! Aaack! Noodle mush. Lesson here… set a timer! Or just use the cold soak method.
- 8 oz Rice Noodles or Bean Thread Noodles (see note)
- 2 Large Carrots Julianne
- ¼ of a Large Head of Cabbage, cut into 1/2' pieces
- 11 oz Snow peas, trimmed
- 5 oz Shiitake Mushrooms, stemmed and sliced thin
- 1 ½ Tbs Coconut Oil
- 1 tsp fresh Ginger, grated
- 3 Large Garlic Cloves, grated
- ½ C Vegetable Broth
- 1 Tbs Sesame Oil
- 2 Tbs Tamari
- 1 Tbs Coconut Sugar (or brown sugar)
- ½ tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- ½ tsp Himalayan Sea Salt
- Scallions, chopped
- Sesame Seeds
- Thai Basil
- Drizzle of Tamari and/or Sesame Oil
- Place noodles in a large bowl and cover with cold water. These can soak while you prepare the veggies and sauce.
- Wash all the veggies. Fill a stock pot ½ full of water and bring to a boil. While the water is heating, prepare the snow peas by trimming each end. To blanch the snow peas, carefully place them in the boiling water, turn the heat to low and blanch for for exactly two minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place back into the stock pot they were blanched in (with heat off). Prep the remaining veggies. Set aside. Peel the ginger and garlic. Using a microplane, grate the garlic and ginger. Set aside.
- Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In a large skillet or wok, melt and heat the coconut oil on medium high heat. Once melted and shimmering, toss in the grated ginger and garlic. Sizzle for about 30 seconds, then toss in the mushrooms, cabbage and carrots. Using two wooden spoons, stir fry until tender crisp, about 5-6 minutes or until tender-crisp. When ready, toss the stir-fried veggies into the pot with the snow peas (heat off).
- Check on the rice noodles. They should be tender, but not soft. Drain thoroughly. Set the noodles near the stove. In the same skillet or wok the veggies were stir fried in, pour in the sauce. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, gently toss in the noodles. Use a pair of tongs to twist and turn the noodles around in the sauce so that each noodle is covered. Turn the heat down continue turning, cooking for about 2 minutes. Test the noodles for taste and tenderness. If they seem tough, give them another minute to cook while turning the noodles. Remove from heat.
- Test the temperature of the stir-fried veggies and snow peas. They may need a bit more heat before serving. If so, turn the heat on for just a few minutes and give the veggies a stir.
- Noodles and veggies are served together, garnished with sesame seeds, thai basil, scallions and a drizzle of sesame oil and/or tamari.
Adapted from Real Vegetarian Thai
If you make this recipe, or any others on Vanilla And Bean, be sure to post it to Instagram, notify me @vanillaandbean and tag #VanillaAndBean! I’d love to see what you’ve made! Also, if you like my content, please consider sharing it with three friends and/or family. Thank you!