Drunken Noodles

Tonight when I asked Mark what he wanted for dinner and, gesturing toward the kitchen island covered in produce fresh from the farmer’s market, suggested basil should play a large role considering I had a bunch of it. I was surprised he promptly answered, “drunken noodles”. Surprised because not only is his standard answer “I don’t care,” but because I didn’t know Mark even realized drunken noodles contain basil. Sure, typically it would be Thai basil and I had Genovese, but I have ways around that. Drunken noodles are not a new dish to my repertoire, but I did make them completely differently than I usually do because I didn’t have the wide noodles I usually use, I didn’t have Thai basil, I didn’t have shallots, I didn’t have bean sprouts, and I did have vegetarian fish sauce. Oh, and I don’t usually sneak zucchini into it. It ended up okay, but I prefer my usual version so sooner or later I’ll have to put that one up. In the meantime, here’s what I did tonight, and it was hot enough to work its magic against hangovers (not that I had one) even if it wasn’t as great as usual.

Drunken Noodles

1/4 package wide rice noodles (I used long, thin-ish, Pad Thai-ish noodles, but I usually use short, wide noodles that are nearly square)
1/2 onion, sliced
1/4 tsp anise seed -> Thai basil has a somewhat anise flavor compared to European basil, so I use anise seed for flavor when I don’t have Thai basil. Add it only if you don’t have Thai basil, and use it sparingly.
1 zucchini, sliced into ribbons/noodles on spiral slicer (optional)
1 yellow (or other color) bell pepper, chopped
1/3 pint orange cherry tomatoes, halved
2-4 small Thai peppers (I used cayenne because that’s what I had on hand), sliced
1 cup basil, Thai if you can get it
3 Tbsp dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp thin (light) soy sauce
2 Tbsp vegan fish sauce (or extra soy sauce)
2 Tbsp sambel olek (or to taste)
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
zest of 1 lime
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, grated
2 drops stevia or 1 tsp sugar


The reason I decided to make zucchini “noodles” is really just that I have a lot of zucchini. I buy it by the ton at the farmer’s market so I can relate to the “way too much zucchini” problem that people who are actually capable of growing things have. Also, I’ve recently converted Mark into a zucchini fan. (Score!) If you don’t have a spiral slicer or you don’t have an abundance of zucchini or you aren’t married to Mark or you just think it’s weird to put zucchini in drunken noodles, well, just omit it. It is weird.

Cook or soak the noodles according to package instructions, then drain.

Chop the bell pepper and tomatoes; slice the onions and hot peppers. Grate/zest the ginger and lime.

In a small bowl, whisk together the “fish” sauce, soy sauces, ginger, lime, sambel olek, stevia or sugar, and sesame oil.

Heat a wok over medium high heat, then add some oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions, and if using, the anise seed.

After a minute or two, add the bell pepper and stir fry for another minute or two.

Add the tomatoes and stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the rice noodles …

… and, if using, the zucchini “noodles”.

Then stir in the sauce.

Finally stir in the basil and make sure everything is warmed through.

Drunken noodles are very fast to prepare! I’ve never actually tried them as a hangover cure, but they are tasty even when you are feeling fine!

(They’re even tastier when I’m using my normal recipe, however.)

In other, semi-related news, as someone who makes her own tempeh and tofu, I found this slideshow and article in The Atlantic pretty interesting. I’m slightly disturbed by the fact they used to use their feet to make tempeh – all the more so because the reason is feet are “very dirty” – but that’s apparently illegal now anyway.

In completely non-related news, but I bring it up because I mentioned the book in my last post, yesterday this article popped up in my feed reader and I found it completely bizarre. For one thing, it’s an opera about physics. For another thing, I’m currently reading the book its based upon. And it’s not like the book is new (it was published in 2005); I’ve had it on my shelf for a few years and just randomly started reading it last week. So the timing is weird. Not quite as weird – and a much happier coincidence – as the time David Foster Wallace committed suicide while I was reading Infinite Jest. The opera is moving to Barcelona after Paris, and I’d love to go see it there because I also just finished reading two books that take place in Barcelona, but considering I’ve already been to Australia this year, I think I’m going to have to catch it at the Guggenheim in NYC in January. (By the way, if you are at all interested in string theory, quantum mechanics, particle physics, extra dimensions, and all that fun stuff, in addition to Warped Passages, I highly recommend The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene – who happens to be vegan!) (Hey, look, I managed to make this paragraph somewhat relevant to a vegan blog!)

In cat news, is Brachtune not the utmost adorable thing in the world when she’s sleeping??? She lies with her face flat on the chair:

She’s such a cutie!

She always wakes up when I’m taking her picture though.

21 Comments »

  1. Lou Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 5:54 am

    Those pictures should come with a health warning. They’re so cute my insides are smiling too.

  2. Jes Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 9:49 am

    Aw, Brach is so cute with her sleep face! And now I’m currently craving Drunken noodles, love the addition of the zucchini “noodles!”

  3. Josiane Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 11:05 am

    If the original version of this recipe is even better, I’m really curious to see it, because this one already looks very good! It feels like I can’t stop craving vegetables these days, so I think the zucchini noodles are pure genius (and so is this spiral slicer!).

  4. Lisa Goldstein Kieda Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    I always love reading your recipes/commentary – I enjoy all the connections. My husband is a physicist and actually help edit the Randall book (he was surprised to hear about it being the inspiration for an opera); I loved both the CL Zafon’s books; we are all cat crazy in our family; I’m vegetarian heavy vegan tendencies….

    Let me know if you’re ever planning a trip to Salt Lake City.

    Lisa Goldstein Kieda

  5. Lisa Goldstein Kieda Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

    I always love reading your recipes/commentary – I enjoy all the connections. My husband is a physicist and actually help edit the Randall book (he was surprised to hear about it being the inspiration for an opera); I loved both the CL Zafon’s books; we are all cat crazy in our family; I’m vegetarian heavy vegan tendencies….

    Let me know if you’re ever planning a trip to Salt Lake City.

    Lisa Goldstein Kieda

  6. Lisa Goldstein Kieda Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 2:13 pm

    I always love reading your recipes/commentary – I enjoy all the connections. My husband is a physicist and actually helped edit the Randall book (he was surprised to hear about it being the inspiration for an opera); I loved both the CL Zafon’s books; we are all cat crazy in our family; I’m vegetarian with heavy vegan tendencies….

    Let me know if you’re ever planning a trip to Salt Lake City.

    Lisa Goldstein Kieda

  7. Courtney Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 4:04 pm

    I love that you made Mark what he requested despite the fact that you didn’t have most of your usual ingredients on hand! It looks great, even with your substitutions :-)

    By the way, I LOVE that round/tall glass jar thingy with the vegetables in it in your second photo (do you have ANY idea what I am referring to?! I have been sitting here for quite a while trying to figure out how to describe it and I seem to be overthinking it and blanking on words here…). Where did you find it?

    Courtney

  8. renae Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

    Lisa, wow, that’s really neat! I’m having a crazy week of coincidences! (Also, I might have lots of questions for your husband!)

    Courtney, haha, seeing only a portion of that object would kind of leave you at a loss for words, I imagine. It’s a large and oddly-shaped bottle of vinegar, believe it or not. My in-laws gave it to me several years ago; I have no idea where they got it, though I can ask my mother-in-law if she remembers.

  9. renae Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

    Lisa, wow, that’s really neat! I’m having a crazy week of coincidences! (Also, I might have lots of questions for your husband!)

    Courtney, haha, seeing only a portion of that object would kind of leave you at a loss for words, I imagine. It’s a large and oddly-shaped bottle of vinegar, believe it or not. My in-laws gave it to me several years ago; I have no idea where they got it, though I can ask my mother-in-law if she remembers.

  10. trinity Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

    You should read the short story “Chance Traveler” by Haruki Murakami if you can get your hands on it. It will go well with your week of coincidences.

  11. renae Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

    Trinity, I love Murakami (I’ve renamed the cat my friend is long-term cat sitting (and whom I plan to steal) Nakata after the character in Kafka on the Shore) but I’ve never read that, so thanks for bringing it to my attention: I definitely will! And I even found it online!

  12. renae Said,

    August 13, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

    Trinity, I love Murakami (I’ve renamed the cat my friend is long-term cat sitting (and whom I plan to steal) Nakata after the character in Kafka on the Shore) but I’ve never read that, so thanks for bringing it to my attention: I definitely will! And I even found it online!

  13. kibbles Said,

    August 14, 2009 @ 4:03 pm

    Is this a record for number of ingredients in your recipes? Looks like it, hah!
    I really need a spirilizer, there are so many delicious looking recipes that use vegetable noodles.
    Bachtune is looking lovely as always, if not a little thinner? I hope she’s okay!

  14. Maka Said,

    August 15, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

    I am thinking about making this for dinner tonight. What is sambel olek? What can I use as a substitution? I always love pics of your kitty!

  15. renae Said,

    August 15, 2009 @ 4:55 pm

    Kibbles, ugh, yes I think Brachtune is losing weight again. She’s getting really picky about eating again. :(

  16. renae Said,

    August 15, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

    Maka, sambal olek is a hot chili paste. Substitute any other chili paste, or really add heat to the dish any way you want. It’s a pretty fiery dish.

  17. renae Said,

    August 15, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

    Maka, sambal olek is a hot chili paste. Substitute any other chili paste, or really add heat to the dish any way you want. It’s a pretty fiery dish.

  18. kibbles Said,

    August 16, 2009 @ 9:38 am

    I’m sorry Renae. I’ve heard other cats like nutritional yeast, and maybe if you sprinkle it on her food she might be enticed to eat more? That is, if she likes it. One of my cats likes it more than cat nip, the other, nah.
    All my good thoughts go out to Bachtune!

  19. Erin Said,

    August 19, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

    Well even if they weren’t your usual drunken noodles, they do look amazing! Brachtune is super cute. My cat has been squishing his face into the couch to sleep lately, it’s very funny.

  20. Erin Said,

    August 19, 2009 @ 1:54 pm

    Well even if they weren’t your usual drunken noodles, they do look amazing! Brachtune is super cute. My cat has been squishing his face into the couch to sleep lately, it’s very funny.

  21. Mo Said,

    August 25, 2009 @ 10:27 pm

    My mouth is watering over here! It looks so delicious.

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