Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Meatless Mondays: Fried Noodles (Vietnamese Meets Balinese)

More noodles. Are you shocked?

Listen. When I travel, I basically eat rice or noodles every single day and embrace it. Not only do I embrace it, I crave more! It might be a slight addiction, but if I'm health-ifying it as much as possible, then why not? Koreans eat rice every single day - sometimes three times a day - and their diet is much healthier than that of the typical North American! Spice + Rice + noodles. There has to be some benefit there for your body.

Prior to really learning how to cook, J used to do most of the cooking. I've mentioned this before. Well, his specialty is bringing in a mix of flavours from our travels. We, of course, love Thai food (who doesn't?), but we truly love Laotian, Vietnamese and Balinese food. His meals would typically fall mostly into the Vietnamese category. As I've been trying to do most of the cooking as of late, we've been lacking in this area. Last night I was craving a little bit of mie goreng and a little bit of fried Vietnamese noodles.

When we were in Bali (both times), we spent a lot of our time trying out the various versions of mie goreng and nasi goreng. The "mie" stands for noodles and the "nasi" stands for rice. Each restaurant or street stand served it slightly different, but all were filled with finely chopped veggies and egg (and meat, too - depending on what you fancied). The spiciness of the dish varied quite a bit and you could always add more once it was served.

When I think back to my week in Ho Chi Ming and Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, I think about noodles. Pho (noodle soup). Fried noodles. Regular noodles. From a restaurant. From a street vendor. All served with a side of extra fish sauce - my first real introduction to the sauce that would later lead to being a star of many, many of our meals. It was heaven.

Top: Fried Noodles in Phu Quoc, Vietnam + Hammocks & Dinner Tables (Not a bad place to relax & eat!)
Bottom: Sukawati, Bali, Our honeymoon balcony overlooking rice paddies + A typical Mie Goreng
Can you see why I'd crave both again - or often? I was torn, though, on which to choose so I tried a make-shift meet-in-the-middle creation of my own.

A Taste of Vietnam and Bali in Fried Noodles
From Allie's Kitchen

What I Used:
5 pieces of bok choy (not baby bok choy), stalks + leaves, cut small
1 cup of eggplant, diced small
3 scallions, diced
1 cup of bean sprouts (mung bean)
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 eggs
1 tbsp basil (I have basil tubes that stay in the fridge - it equals 1 tbsp of fresh)
1 tbsp of lemon grass (same as above)
3 tbsp of fish sauce
2 tbsp of sriricha chili sauce
Chow mein noodles

What I Did:
1. Have everything chopped and ready to go. Have water boiling for noodles.
2. In a wok, add garlic and shallot. Cook on high for a few minutes.
3. Add eggplant, bok choy, basil, lemon grass, 2 tbsp of fish sauce and 1 tbsp of sriricha. At same time, add noodles to boiling water. Cook on high for 3 minutes.
4. Drain noodles and let sit. Add the bean sprouts and scallions to the pan. Push everything to the side and add both eggs. Keep stirring eggs so that it scrambles and remains in little pieces as it cooks.
5. Once the eggs are almost cooked, mix everything together. Add noodles along with remaining fish sauce and sriricha.

Serve warm and top with more bean spouts, fish sauce, sriricha or lime juice - your choice! This would also be great with ground peanuts on top or fresh cilantro. I didn't have these at home.

NOTE: So I made this Meatless Monday meal, all excited to share it as it's my own creation. Then I thought: CRAP. I added fish sauce. Fish sauce is not at all vegetarian. Sigh. So: There is no actual meat added to this, but this meal is still not 100% vegetarian or 100% vegan. I added fish sauce because I love the taste of it, but you could add tamarind or soy sauce (negating my soy-free label) to fully make this veggie-friendly. If you're vegan, you could also add tofu instead of egg. As much as that sounds lovely, the soy-free me has to have mine minus tofu and soy sauce - so forgive me! I promise you this will be just as good with these alterations.

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Enjoy! I actually hope you try this one out because I want you to experience this taste! Soooo good. I served us each a boatload of this and we both ate it all...probably could have (and should have) served 4! Delish. Delish. Going into my Go-To list for sure. Have you had Vietnamese or Balinese food? Have a favorite?

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  1. i went to Bali for spring break when i studied abroad in Australia. it was amazing!!!

    1. Where in Bali did you go? FUN...also didn't know you were in Australia.. a continent we did NOT get to (*tear)!

    2. PS - thanks for commenting! i feel so special when I'm notified...:P