It's been almost a month since Mum and I got back from visiting my sister in Singapore, and I still feel like I'm only just coming out of holiday mode (read: finally put my suitcase away). I have all my blog prop purchases still sitting out on the window sill, and every now and then, when I pass by, I stop to think about how weird it is that I'm now into plates and bowls. An unforeseen consequence of food blogging, I suppose.
If you haven't been to Singapore, it's a city where the sun is always out- until it pours- and then it's out blazing again; the people are always speed walking somewhere- I like to think to their next meal; and all the windows have endorphin releasing-ly bright, wooden shutters. Like most people though, I think it's the food that makes this city so special. The local cuisine borrows heavily from Chinese, Malay, Indonesian and Indian traditions and is an intoxicating amalgam of the best of these cuisines. One such reinvention that mum and I love is the Roti Prata which is the ever-popular Malabar paratha given a make-over: flakier, and more buttery than it's Indian counter-part, (and with the added option of getting your prata with a stuffing of meat and an egg wash) this Malay-Singaporean adaptation is all the better for this cross cultural facelift.
We also ate our way through several bowls of noodles that included laksa, pho, and a delish chili and beef stir fried noodle made by my sister Sadia. I'm proud to tell you that I am now able to tell the difference between rice and egg noodles, something I was tragically inept at before the holiday. Mum and I came home with a resolve to increase our noodle recipe repertoire and while there's been a lot of hits and misses, we've found a red curry noodle that we have since tweaked to perfection. Unlike a lot of Thai dishes, it doesn't require a lot of ingredients, and still has complex flavors that is so characteristic of Thai cooking. It's spicy and sour, rounded off by just the right amount of sweetness. I think what's really nice about these noodles is that it lends itself well to various substitutions. Although we've used this recipe with chicken, i bet it would taste delicious with shrimp, or even just mung bean sprouts and some greens. Whatever you choose to add to the noodles though, i highly recommend you top it with a piece (or two!) of boiled egg. A little unauthentic, but very delicious.
Have a good weekend, everyone.
PS: If you're admiring the pretty plates in the picture above, they were a gift from my sister, Sadia. Aren't sisters the best?
Red Curry Noodles with Chicken
Loosely adapted from Betty Saw's Best Noodle Recipes
150 g dried egg noodles
125 g boneless chicken, cut into 1 in squares (we used meat from the thighs)
1 cup chicken or veg stock
1 tbs red curry paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (Sriracha will do nicely)
½ tsp sugar
2 leaves kaffir lime
2 tbsp roasted peanuts, crushed
2 tbsp cooking oil
½ tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
1 hard boiled egg, sliced (optional)
Sauce to coat the noodles:
1 tbs oyster sauce
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tbs sesame oil*
Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the back and drain.
Heat the cooking oil in a wok (or any large rounded pan), and add the red curry paste to it. Stir fry until for a few minutes, until the paste is fragrant. Add the chicken (or shrimp) and sautee for a few minutes, until it changes colour.
Pour in the stock, stir to make sure the paste is dissolved in the liquid. If using vegetables, this is the time to add them. Bring it to a boil. Add the sugar, fish sauce, hot sauce and kaffir lime leaves. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile mix the ingredients for the sauce and pour into the noodles. Stir until the noodles are nicely coated with the sauce.
Pour the noodles into the wok with the red curry and mix well.
Divide the noodles into individual bowls and top with crushed peanuts, cilantro and egg. Serve hot.
* Sesame oil has a very strong and distinct flavor. If it’s a flavor that you’re unsure about, substitute with vegetable oil.