07-03-27_0921_noodles.jpgA chef and recipe researcher such as Nava Atlas reminds us that there’s no reason for us not to cook. She exemplifies the ease and deliciousness of cooking and eating with each vegan recipe she produces. This one is from her March 2007 In a Vegetarian Kitchen newsletter (recipe follows).

4 servings

Characteristic of some Southeast Asian cuisines is the overlapping of Asian and Indian influences. This is true here in this tasty and pleasantly offbeat noodle dish that is seasoned with both soy sauce and curry.

• One 16-oz. tub extra- firm tofu

• 1/4 cup soy sauce
• 1 tsp. sugar
• 1 to 2 tsp. curry powder
• 1 to 2 tsp. grated fresh ginger, to taste
• 1/4 cup vegetable stock, dry white wine, or water

• 8 oz. rice-stick noodles
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 tsp. dark sesame oil
• 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 large carrot, cut into thick, 2-inch-long matchsticks
• 1 red bell pepper, cut into narrow, 2-inch-long strips
• 1 green bell pepper, cut to match red pepper
• 1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Cut the tofu into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Blot between clean tea towels or several layers of paper towel to remove excess moisture. Cut into narrow strips and set aside.

Combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl, stir together, then set aside until needed.

In a large saucepan or heatproof dish, cover the rice noodles with very hot water. Cover the dish and let the noodles soak for 15 to 20 minutes or until al dente, then drain. Cut the noodles in several directions to shorten (kitchen shears work well for this).

Meanwhile, heat the two oils in a wok or stir-fry pan. Add the onion, garlic, and carrot and stir-fry over medium-high heat for 4 minutes. Add the bell peppers and tofu strips and stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes longer.

Add the cooked noodles to the pan along with the peas and sauce. Toss quickly and stir-fry just until everything is well-heated through. Serve at once.

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The wonderful combined scents of curry and ginger and garlic on the stove will always entice your dining audience. These smells promise fun and merriment at the table. We all loved eating this (and the leftovers were great too).

The “soaking” method of cooking the rice noodles reminds me of the way we often cook couscous: off the stovetop, in hot water. It’s a nice change, compared to boiling other noodles.

RECIPE: unintimidating; not too much chopping
you needn’t be too particular about cutting the tofu and vegetables into “matchsticks“
fresh (vegetables), silky (noodles)

Next time, I want to evoke the homey happiness that meatloaf legendarily provides, by cooking the “Chicken and Bulgur Loaf,” (recipe follows) from America’s Everyday Diabetes Cookbook, by Katherine Younker. See what happens, when you come back to this site on Monday, May 21.

Yield: 6 servings

3/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
1/2 cup bulgur
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
1 cup chopped onions
12 oz. ground chicken
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 8x4-inch loaf pan with vegetable spray.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring stock to a boil. Add bulgur; remove from heat. Let stand, covered, for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and grain is tender. Set aside to cool.

In a nonstick frying pan sprayed with vegetable spray, cook red peppers and onions over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or until golden and tender; set aside to cool.

In a bowl combine bulgur, ground chicken, egg, egg white, ketchup, bread crumbs, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. On a piece of waxed paper, pat mixture into an 8-inch square. Spread cooled red peppers and onions over surface. Using waxed paper as an aid, roll up mixture from bottom.

Lifting waxed paper, gently drop loaf seam-side down into prepared loaf pan. Spread barbecue sauce over top. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.