At the beginning of summer, which now seems was like eons ago; I picked up a weakling of a lemon grass plant from a garden sale. No aspirations were harbored about brewing pots of flavored soup, liberally distributing bundles of the herb to my friends, freezing some to survive the winter or even selling some lemon grass to get rich fast ! All we wanted was to see if the plant will fare in our back yard, may be setting forth a leaf or two on the go, which will be put to good use in a soup. But as life will have it, we were able to do everything I have listed above except for the getting rich part, for which it turns out that we will have to wait!!
The plant is still going strong despite the weather getting colder. If it fails to come back next spring it will still be alright with us, the plant has served us enormously well already, I will be buying one again next year.
This season brings steamy hot noodle bowls to our table once again, with a plentiful supply of lemon grass at hand; we have been making this favorite yellow curry noodle dish very often.
Yellow curry noodles recipe
*You can cook the noodles and make the sauce ahead of time and keep it refrigerated. Before serving, keep the noodles in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain. Heat up the sauce in a microwave oven. Then serve with freshly stir fried vegetables and meat
Rice noodles (any width) - 8 oz
Sliced mixed vegetables - 3 cups
Quick yellow curry paste - made using the recipe given below
Thinly sliced boneless chicken pieces - 1 cup
Chopped Thai basil - 4 tbsp + for garnishing
Chopped green onion - 2 tbsp + for garnishing
Chopped cilantro - for garnishing
Corn flour - 1 tbsp
Coconut milk - 2 1/2 cups
Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Lemon grass leaves - 3 leaves made into a knot
(or chopped stalk – 2 tbsp)
Yellow curry paste
Cumin - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - ½ tbsp
Ginger - 4 tbsp
Lemon zest (optional) - ½ tsp
Fish sauce - 1 ½ tsp
Brown sugar - 1 tsp
Chopped cilantro - ¼ cup
Turmeric - ¼ tsp
Cinnamon powder - a pinch
Lemon grass stalk chopped - 2 tbsp
White pepper - 1/2 tsp
Green onion chopped - 2 tbsp
Grind all ingredients together in a blender adding just enough water to make a smooth paste. You will need to use the entire recipe of the paste for this noodle dish, but you can easily scale up the recipe and freeze it for future use. Spread the paste in half inch thickness on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 2 hours. Peel the parchment backing off; break the frozen paste into pieces and store frozen in a zip lock bag. When you need it you can simply take out the required number of pieces.
Preparing the noodle bowl
Boil 5 cups of water in a sauce pan. Add the dry rice noodles, cover with a lid and turn off the heat. After 20 minutes, drain the water, spread the noodles on a plate, and keep covered.
Heat ½ tsp oil in a pan, add the curry paste and corn flour, fry the paste for a minute with stirring, add 2 cups of water, stir very well to break apart clumps, add a bundle of lemon grass leaves (or chopped stalk) and cook till the mixture starts to thicken. Then add 2 1/2 cups of coconut milk. Taste the sauce and adjust salt. Turn of the heat. Add 2tbsp of chopped green onions, and 2 tbsp of chopped Thai basil. Before serving, reheat the sauce if needed and discard the knot of lemon grass leaves if using.
Thinly slice vegetables and keep aside (carrots, broccoli, choy, bell pepper, zucchini etc.) Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Add ½ tsp sugar, when the color turns to golden brown add chicken pieces and stir fry at high heat at for 4 minutes. Now toss the pieces with soy sauce. Add vegetables, ½ tsp of crushed ginger, 2 tbsp of chopped basil and stir fry for 5 minutes or till the vegetables are just about tender. Taste and adjust the salt.
To serve, arrange some noodles on a bowl, ladle ¾ cup of sauce over, and top with stir fried vegetables. Sprinkle with some chopped green onions, cilantro, and Thai basil.Serve hot.