Noodles, noodles, noodles! - :

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  • Noodles, noodles, noodles! - :

    I'm so crazy about noodles I could eat them every day and never get bored. Even the family I livedwith in Italy was amazed at my capacity for eating pasta. And I love all kinds of pasta-Asian varietiesalong with Italian, being top of the list. Happily there are two books out at the moment that make avariety of Asian noodle recipes easily accessible to the home cook. Both have great photos andrecipes that will send you scurrying into the kitchen.

    First up isTakashi's Noodles. They say if you get just one great recipe from a cookbook, it is worth the price. Inthat case, let me tell you about Spicy Eggplant Ja-Ja-Men Udon. Chef Yakashi Takashi, owner ofTakashi's in Chicago describes this dish as a Japanese version of spaghetti and bolognese sauce. It'sbasically a spicy eggplant and ground pork sauce over noodles with peppers, spicy notes and acreamy sauce that is enriched with sesame paste. The recipe has 18 ingredients but I skipped a fewaltogether and used substitutions for a couple more and can't imagine it made any discernibledifference. I didn't bother with the 1/2 cup dashi, 1/3 cup canned bamboo shoots, teaspoon ofcornstarch or 3 Tablespoons of sake. I used Chinese chili garlic paste instead of a Japanese varietyand Chinese sesame paste instead of tahini. I had to buy exactly 2 ingredients to make the dish,green peppers and ground pork. I could eat this dish every week! It is so comforting and at the same

  • time exciting. The recipes vary in the number of ingredients but are generally not that difficult. Theyare all Asian or Asian-influenced but not all Japanese. You'll find crispy noodles, chilled ramen andcold soba, curry shrimp rice noodles even potato gnocchi with lemon butter sauce, scallops and seaurchin. These are restaurant dishes adapted for cooking at home.

    Meat Recipes

    Noodles Every Dayfeatures quick and easy recipes. For these recipes you will need the basics of an Asian pantry whichare explained in detail in an early chapter. All are available at an Asian grocery store or online.However a few recipes have some more exotic ingredients like garland chrysanthemum leaves orsilver pin noodles. All the recipes are titled descriptively so Pad Thai becomes Stir-Fried Rice Stickswith Tamarind Sauce, Dried Shrimp, Tofu, Sprouts, and Eggs. Over the years I've had very good luckwith author Corinne Trang's recipes and this book is no exception. Her Somen Noodles with ShrimpCurry and Peas uses less than 10 ingredients and is the perfect kind of one pot meal you'll likely beable to make with peas and shrimp in your freezer and without a trip to the store. The book isdivided into sections based on the type of noodle you are using-egg, rice, buckwheat, etc. and it alsohas a section on buns, dumplings and spring rolls.

    When I was in Hawaii I was on a mission to try as many top-rated ramen joints as I could. While I'mstill nowhere near satisfied with the ramen choices in San Francisco, I am pleased that on June 24th

  • from 6:30 - 8:30 pm there will be a special program at the San Francisco Ferry Building called Forthe Love of Ramen sponsored by the Asian Culinary Forum. Andy Raskin, author of The Ramen Kingand I, Eric Nakamura, publisher and co-editor of the Asian-American pop culture magazine, GiantRobot and George Solt, assistant professor of history, New York University will be talking aboutramen, a Japanese version of a Chinese noodle dish, with a history spanning the post World War IIperiod all the way till today and including the instant version that has become so ubiquitous. Therewill be refreshments of course, and great conversation. As a side note, I've been to every AsianCulinary Forum event and they have all been very well-organized, good fun and offered plenty offood for thought. I've already bought my ticket, hope to see you there!

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