Monday, September 28, 2009

Cashew Noodle Stir-fry

Since the exchange student we are hosting is vegetarian and my brain is needing some new ideas, I checked out The Clueless Vegetarian from our local library. I liked the book from the dietary needs chart for vegetarians to the recipes. My husband likes his meat even if it is for flavoring and until this past week, only liked one meatless dish. That was the Eggplant Parmesan I make. That makes things interesting (translated to make-things-harder-for-me-in-the-kitchen). I tried a new dish from the book I checked out. My husband loves cashews and Chinese so I hoped that this dish would make his list. I am an optimist.

Cashew Noodle Stir-fry made his list enough so that he called me (I was donating blood with my oldest at the time) to tell that the dish was a keeper even without meat. YES! I love it when I have a hit with the family (as all the family loved it except the kid who hates nuts and just about everything else). I had some tweaks (I always seem to cook that way) which I included after the original recipe below.


12 oz package thin pre-cooked Chinese Noodles OR
8 oz very thin pasta, vermicelli or capellini
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup cashew pieces
1 medium sweet green or red pepper, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 (14 oz) can baby corn cobs, drained and halved lengthwise
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
4 green onions, slivered
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Chinese chili paste (or less or none)

If you are using precooked Chinese noodles, open the package and place them in a strainer. Pour boiling water over them and fluff them up with a fork. That's all. They are now ready to use. If you are using regular pasta, cook it in plenty of boiling water until tender but not mushy, drain thoroughly, and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet. Add cashews, and stir-fry over high heat for 1 minute, until they are lightly golden. Now throw in the sliced green or red pepper, celery and baby corn, and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Add the bean sprouts and the green onions, and cook for just one minute more, until the sprouts are beginning to wilt. Now stir in the noodles, and toss to combine.

In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce and the shili paste (if using it), then add to the noodle mixure , tossing just until heated through. (If you're not using the chili paste, you may want to increase to amount of soy sauce.) Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

My changes:
I used vermicelli for my pasta as I already had that in my pantry. I used green and yellow pepper but not the baby corn (don't care for it). I couldn't find fresh sprouts at the stores I went to and did not want to drive all over for one item. I used canned sprouts, drained, for the recipe. Also I had doubled the recipe and just used one can. I sliced the green onions not slivered. I opted out of using the chili paste and did not increase the amount of soy sauce. I don't care for overly salty food.

I served the meal with egg drop soup and fresh fruit. As I said, it was a huge hit. I was lucky enough to have a little saved for me. I loved it as well. I like the bursts of color which make it a pretty dish to serve up.

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