Saturday, September 22, 2007

Thai Night (Vegan)

My friend Brian came over this evening. It was the first time I've "hosted" since I moved to San Francisco and I had a blast. I made edamame with sea salt, tom yum soup, and Orangette's peanut citrus noodles (a tweaked version, since I can never leave well enough alone). Tom yum soup is one of my favorite soups- equal parts tart and spicy- but it's not a quickly whipped-up meal, so if you don't enjoy chopping, better order take-out. The noodles were PERFECT- really creamy and peanut-y. I never thought about citrus in my peanut sauce, but the lime juice brightened up the flavor just right.

Tom Yum Goong

4 C vegetable broth
1/2 white onion, cut into crescents
4-5 shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (or if you can find them, the adorable little ones that danced around in Fantasia- I'm not sure what they're called but I always see them in Asian restaurants and never in the market)
about 1 C bean sprouts
1 bunch fresh cilantro
about 1 C cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4-5 limes, juiced, + 1 lime cut in wedges
the zest from 1 lime, about 1 T
2" piece of fresh ginger
1 stalk of lemongrass (or 1 T dried lemongrass)
1-2 t coriander
3 cloves garlic, minced
about 1-2 t hot red pepper flakes (or 1 t chili paste, or a whole or sliced red chili-- it really depends on your spice preference)


Cut the lemon grass and the peeled ginger into a few rough pieces. Hit them with a mallet to "bruise" them and release the flavor. You will fish these pieces out when the soup is ready, or you can tie them in a cheese cloth. I used a large tea infuser. Throw the lime zest, garlic, onion, coriander, and chili flakes/paste in the bottom of a soup pot with your lemongrass and garlic bundle and add the vegetable broth. Bring to a low boil and let simmer for 30-40 minutes. You can't really overcook it; it will just get more and more flavorful as you prepare the rest of the soup.

While the broth is cooking, juice the limes. You should have about 1/2 C of fresh lime juice. In the bottom of your soup bowls, nestle the sliced mushrooms, a handful of beans sprouts, a handful of halved grape tomatoes, and lots of fresh cilantro. Once the broth is ready, pull it off the heat and THEN add the lime juice. You don't want the acid of the lime to cook off, so make sure this is the last step. Pour the broth over the raw vegetables and serve garnished with cilantro, lime wedges, and hot chili flakes.

Peanut Citrus Soba Noodles, adapted from Orangette

8 oz. soba noodles
1/2 C natural peanut butter (I used crunchy)
1/2 C freshly squeezed lime juice
2 t dark sesame oil
1 t+ hot red chili flakes (to your spice preference)
2 t soy sauce
1 clove minced garlic
sesame seeds, for garnish
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 bunches bok choy, roughly chopped


Earlier in the day, mix your dark sesame oil and hot chili flakes in a ramekin and set aside. The longer you leave it the hotter it will get. I let it sit about 2 hours and if I had thought ahead I would have doubled that time.

Juice your limes first, because this process takes longer than the rest of the dish. In a large serving bowl, mix the lime juice, peanut butter, homemade chili-sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic. I used a fork to mash up the peanut butter chunks and then whisked it to a saucy consistency. Next, boil your soba noodles. They don't take very long, so make sure you don't overcook them. While the water is boiling, slice your veggies. Once the noodles are ready, drain and rinse them, and add them to the peanut sauce. Use tongs to mix well- toss in the raw veggies, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve!!

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