Saturday, January 17, 2009

nice to wheat you

Last night, after a particularly long and grueling day, I stopped off at my favorite locally owned health food store, Golden Market to pick up a few things for dinner. I had worked late and was so hungry I could barely think, so I sort of blindly wandered up and down the aisles, attempting to reach for the items I knew I wanted. Somehow, when I reached the check-out counter, my basket contained a bell pepper, seitan jerky, half-and-half, vegan apple-sage sausages, and fresh Chinese wheat noodles (gan mein). The noodles caught my distracted eye as the cashier rang them up--did I actually want those? But I was too tired to put them back and besides, they were only $1.25 for a whole pound--I would figure something out.

After temporarily easing my hunger with a strip of seitan jerky (try it--you'll be surprised by how good it is), I set about figuring out my dinner. I ended up tossing together the noodles, fresh spinach, tofu, bell peppers and carrots with a quick peanut sauce and topping it all with fresh mint, green onions and cilantro. Sort of a spinach-praram-meets-pad-thai-meets-chow-mein. I could not get over how ridiculously good it was.

Pad Praram Mein
1/2 lb fresh gan mein, boiled until al dente and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 cup tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 carrot, julienned
2 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, sliced thinly (i like to use kitchen scissors for this)
2 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil

Heat the oil over high heat in a large skillet. Add the tofu and cook 2-3 minutes on one side. Move the tofu around with a spatula and cook on another side for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes until translucent. Add the bell pepper and carrots and cook for another minute.

While the veggies cook, quickly whisk together the peanut butter, hoisin, sriracha, and rice vinegar. Taste and adjust flavors as necessary. Set aside.

Add the noodles and toss with the vegetables. Toss with the peanut sauce, making sure all the noodles and veggies are well-coated.

Gradually add the spinach, allowing it to wilt as it combines with the hot noodles and vegetables. Divide into bowls or plates and top with green onions, cilantro and mint.

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