So. It’s January. Which means we’ve all just spent the last couple of months spending a shit ton of money shopping for things people don’t really need, attending weird office holiday parties with “cash bars” (my least favorite phrase) and yet even more money on appropriately form-fitting this-old-thing? attire for said weird office holiday party to impress somebody who’s probably already married anyway. Or maybe you’re like me and you work your tail off all year only to piss it away somewhere in Hawaii on mai-tais, ahi tuna 50 different ways to soak up those mai-tais, and one pair of very expensive sweatpants made from hemp with a mermaid on the ass bought while very hungover from mai-tais. Okay, two pairs. And a tank top. We’re all feeling a little spent, and tired, and a teensy bit guilty. Even me.
Problem is, I still have all of the same old cravings for my favorite restaurants, which I will not deny myself of completely, because denial is a river in Egypt. Also, I am not a professional writer of comedy. Anyway, I thought now was as good of a time as any to start a series of blogs trying to recreate the dishes I love from restaurants all over the world right here at home. Save a little coin, control the ingredients, and curb those cravings until I feel like putting my mermaid pants on and venturing outdoors. And what better place to start than my favorite take-out on a hungover/cold-ridden/in dire need of some comfort food weeknight spot, The Noodle Box?
(I should probably note that I love all things Thai, and have a long list of places around town I would happily order from, but Dr. Fox, whom you met here, is so Noodle Box-obsessed he would literally eat there every day. Actually, I’m pretty sure he does– anybody who says they’re going to the gym and then leaves without their gym bag and returns an hour later smelling like plum sauce is most likely not running on a treadmill at a Kikkoman factory. Also, our favorite Noodle Box location in Yaletown has the sweetest, friendliest die-hard Firefly fans for employees with the cutest little “Serenity”-related tattoos. What? Guys, I can’t help it if I’m cool.)
So here I go in recreating exactly the type of meal we would order from The Noodle Box on any given day. Just as satisfying and delicious, and crazy easy. Thai it, you’ll like it! I don’t know what’s wrong with me.
Thai Beef Noodles and Asian Coleslaw
1 package of shredded assorted cabbage, or half a head of both green and purple cabbage, shredded
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
1 tbsp miso paste
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
juice of 1 lime
a few dashes of hot sauce
salt and pepper
2 6 oz sirloin steaks
1/2 lb baby bok choy, trimmed of tough ends and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced and halved to form two-inch pieces
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
8 to 10 shiitake mushrooms, trimmed of tough stems and sliced
1 i-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated (about a tablespoon)
1 package or box of rice noodles
half a can of unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (if you want to be all 2013, try using coconut oil in place of olive oil. I promise it doesn’t taste like coconut, and it works just as well and is a little better for you. All good either way.)
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce (any brand, pick your fave)
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp tamarind sauce or paste (you can usually find this in a jar in the Asian section of the grocery store)
1 tsp sambal sauce
a few sprinkles of sesame seeds
salt and pepper
Start the coleslaw. Mix the cabbage, carrots, and peanuts together until combined. Make your dressing. Whisk the miso paste with warm water until it’s dissolved and smooth. Mix in the yogurt, rice wine vinegar, hot sauce, and lime juice, and pour over the veggies. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Refrigerate and let it hang out while you work on your noodles.
Slice the steak against the grain super thin, into around 1/4 inch strips. Heat a large deep skillet over high heat with a tbsp olive oil or coconut oil until smoking. Season the steak with lots of salt and pepper and sauté on high heat for five minutes until browned. Set aside and lower the heat to medium-high.
Add another tbsp of oil to the pan. Saute the peppers and onion and garlic for a few minutes, seasoning with a little salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms and saute another five minutes. Add the bok choy and let it wilt for another 5 minutes, then add the ginger, hitting it again with a little more salt and pepper. Add the beef back in and pour in the coconut milk, and turn the heat down to a simmer.
Boil the rice noodles in a pot for 5 minutes, reserving a ladle of the pasta water in a mixing bowl. To the mixing bowl with the hot water, stir in the sweet chili, hoisin, tamarind, and sambal, and give it a good stir until incorporated. Add that to the beef and veggies. Drain the noodles and toss it all together. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds on top just before serving with the coleslaw on the side. Stupid good.