Thursday, February 7, 2008

Singapore Curry Noodles with Green Peppers and Shrimp

I was feeling ambitious last week! I'm made another new recipe Thursday night - this one from The Curry Book. (btw- Singapore Curry Noodles is not a recipe actually found in Singapore, but is a dish created in the west. It probably got its name because it reminds people of the fusion of Chinese, Indian, and Malay cuisine found in Singapore.)

Singapore Curry Noodles with Green Peppers and Shrimp

1 package (6 oz) very thin dried rice noodles
1 green bell pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup finely chopped onion
About 3/4 cup chicken broth
1-2 tbsp curry powder, storebought or homemade
1 tsp salt

Place the noodles in a large bowl and add warm water to cover by at least 1 inch. Leave then to soften for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cut the green peppper in half lengthwise, pull out and discard the stem and seeds, and cut the pepper into slender strips about 2 inches long. Cut the rounded end sections into thin pieces as well. You will have about 1 1/2 cups. Prepare and measure out all the remaining ingredients and place them by the stove, along with a large serving platter to hold the finished dish.

When the noodles have softenend, drain them well and place them on a cutting board. You will have about 4 cups noodles, now weighing about 16 oz. Mound the noodles into a big log and cut through crosswise in 5 places to shorten the noodles, so they will be easier to stir-fry and coat with the ingredients. Using your fingers, gather the noodles into a pile and toss to separate into strands. Set aside near the stove.

Place a wok over high heat for about 15 seconds, then add 2 tbsp of the oil. Heat for about 30 seconds, until a big of garlic sizzles wildly as soon as it is dropped into the wok. Add the shrimp and cook, tossing often, until they firm up and turn pink, 1-2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to the serving platter, draining them over the wok to leave behind as much oil as possible.

Add the garlic and toss for about 30 seconds, until fragrant but not browned. Add the green pepper and onion and cook, tossing often, until the vegetables are shiny, softtened and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the serving platter, along with the shrimp.

Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil to the wok, swirl to coat the wok evenly and add the rice noodles. Toss well and add the broth, puring it in a circle around the sides of the wok. Cook about 2 minutes more, tossing the noodles often to expose them to the hot broth and heat them through.

Reduce the heat to medium and return the shrimp and onion mixture to the wok, including any juices. Add the curry powder and salt and toss well. Cook the noodles about 2 minutes more, tossing occasionally to combine the ingredients.

When the noddles are tender and evenly coated with the curry powder and have absorbed the broth, transfer them to the platter, pull a few shrimp and green peppers to the top, and serve hot or warm.

I made a veggie version with sliced mushrooms, and one with chicken. I have never prepared shrimp since I don't eat it, and my husband hasn't requested it yet. Also I've recently discovered that some shrimp nets are bad for the oceans and often kill dolphins and other marine animals, so I probably won't buy it anytime soon. (*see note at bottom for more info )

I also bought the wrong kind of rice noodles - mine were thick, not thin. But they turned out just fine anyway. I think the thin noodles will taste better though, so I'll try them next time.

I followed the recipe almost exactly - except for the shrimp section. In my version, I cut 3 chicken breasts into small pieces (next time I'll go smaller - per my husbands request), then sauteed them in olive oil and garlic. In a different pot I sauteed the mushrooms in olive oil and garlic too. Then I followed the recipe again - only divided in 2 pots. It was pretty easy - apart from cooking 2 different dishes at the sam time. And super tasty! I will definitely make this again!

Pics: the wrong rice noodles (but still tasty!); the sauteed chicken

Pics: the veggie version; the chicken version

*Note on shrimp:
I was reading my husband's latest issue of Outside magazine (the "Green" issue), and it had an article about environmental heroes, etc. One of the people featured, a marine biologist, mentioned his website I went to it, but didn't find too much info, other than "don't eat shrimp - it's bad". But from that website, I found another one called Seafood Watch, which has a lot more info on what seafood is a poor choice for preserving our oceans, and what seafood is okay to eat and still care about the environment! It was very informative, AND has a handy pocket guide you can download and print. I'll be checking out the guide before my next trip to the grocery store for seafood!

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