When I feel like I’ve been a little too hale and hearty (such as at this weekend’s food fiesta in Brooklyn, ahem), I like to do a reset with a few lighter dinners based on vegetables and legumes. Asian cuisine is the perfect inspiration for these meals; instead of the fattier ingredients we associate with Western dishes like vegan cheese, cream, butter, or processed meat alternatives, the assertive flavors of Asian food often comes from pungent garlic, scallions, chives, cilantro, soy sauce, and spices. This rice noodle dish feels as light and clean as Buddhist temple cuisine, but tastes absolutely delicious and satisfying, with the flavors of edamame and the mushrooms in perfect harmony.
Brown Rice Noodles with Shiitake Mushrooms and Edamame
5 oz dry brown rice noodles (or regular white rice noodles)
1/2 medium white onion, sliced thin
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup frozen edamame
6-7 medium white button mushrooms, sliced
6-7 shiitake mushrooms, sliced thin
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of gomashio or toasted sesame seeds (optional)
4 tbsp shredded red cabbage (optional)
1. Heat water in a medium sauce pan. When water is boiling, add the edamame and cook for a few minutes. Add the noodles and cook for another minute, or until the noodles are tender. Drain well.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large wok or a saute pan. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook for about three minutes, or until it starts to become translucent. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and star anise powder. Salt and pepper the mixture, and saute for another 4 minutes or until the mushrooms look done. If it looks a bit dry, you can add a tablespoon of water to the bottom of the wok.
3. Add the noodles to the wok, and combine well. Add the soy sauce and the sesame oil, combine well and cook for another 30 seconds, and then take off the heat. Garnish with gomashio and shredded purple cabbage, if desired. Bon appetit!
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Photo: Peaceful Dumpling