Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chinese Buckwheat Noodles with Nutty Bead Molasses Sauce and Pickled Ginger








     Something Different!
     While cooking a recipe that required two hours of simmering time, hunger started setting in.  After working all day and eating very little on the job, cooking something that takes several hours to make is really not a good idea.  When the stomach growls and the mind feels weak, food is what the body needs immediately.
     Oddly enough, it seems like when a cook is hungry, a cook will think up plenty of new food ideas.  Hunger kind of inspires creativity.  Taking a creative approach does help when there are only a few ingredients left in the kitchen or when a weird food craving strikes.
     Instead of waiting a few hours for dinner to finish cooking, I set that project aside for the next day.  Cooking something quick took over as the dinner goal.  Chinese style food is about as quick as it gets, so the dinner plan went in that direction.
     The first item I saw in the cupboard was Chinese Buckwheat Noodles.  The thinking process branched out from there.  Buckwheat Pancakes taste good with dark molasses and this thought kept going through my mind while looking at the Buckwheat Noodles.  Once again, when an idea come to mind, it pays to just go with it!  I thought that a sauce made with Bead Molasses might be interesting with buckwheat noodles.  A mixture of nuts and ginger seemed like nice accompanying flavors.
     Today's noodle recipe turned out to be interesting.  This definitely is not an ordinary vegetarian recipe.  The sauce is not sweet at all.  Bead Molasses looks  like Blackstrap Molasses, but Bead Molasses is not sweet.  All of the sugar is extracted from Bead Molasses during the sugar making process.
     Bead Molasses is a byproduct of making refined sugar.  Bead Molasses is loaded with the calcium, vitamins and minerals that are left behind when processing raw sugar cane into the purest form of complex carbohydrate, sugar.  Basically, Bead Molasses has the nutrients and flavor of the sugar cane, while the sugar only has the sweetness.

     Chinese Buckwheat Vermicelli Noodles: 
     Boil 1 portion of Chinese Buckwheat Vermicelli Noodles in water over high heat.
     When the noodles are fully cooked and tender, drain the hot water off of the noodles.
     Cool the buckwheat noodles in a container of ice water, while stirring the noodles, so they gain a chewy texture.
     Drain the ice water off of the buckwheat noodles and set them aside.

     Chinese Buckwheat Noodles with Nutty Bead Molasses Sauce and Pickled Ginger:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Chinese Five Spice Powder does contain Szechuan Pepper.  Some food items, like today's recipe benefit from adding a little more Szechuan Pepper.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan or mini wok over medium low heat.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 1 teaspoon of sesame oil.
     Add 2 tablespoons of coarsely chopped walnuts.
     Add 2 tablespoons of sliced almonds.
     Briefly sauté the nuts, till they start to become aromatic.
     Step 2:  Add 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds.
     Add 1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds.
     Sauté till the nuts are toasted to a light golden color.
     Step 3:  Add 1/2 tablespoon of rice vinegar.
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 3 tablespoons of bead molasses.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of thin soy sauce.
     Add sea salt to taste.
     Add 1 pinch of Chinese Five Spice Powder.
     Add 2 pinches of ground Szechuan Pepper.
     Step 4:  Raise the temperature to medium heat.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 5:  Mix 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water to make a slurry.
     Add just enough of the slurry, while stirring, to thicken the sauce to a very thin sauce consistency.  (Save any extra slurry for another recipe.)
     Step 6:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add the reserved cooked buckwheat noodles to the sauce.
     Simmer the till the sauce and noodles are hot, while tossing the ingredients together.
     Remove the pan from the heat.

     Presentation:
     Step 1:  Use a long tine carving fork or chopsticks to coil the noodles.
     Place the coiled buckwheat noodles across a plate.
     Spoon a generous amount of the sauce over the noodles and onto the plate.  Be sure that plenty of the nuts are exposed on the noodles.
     Step 2:  Place about 2 tablespoons of thin sliced sushi style pickled ginger on a cutting board.
     Place about 8 cilantro leaves on the pickled ginger.
     Finely chop the two ingredients together.
     Sprinkle the chopped cilantro and pickled ginger over the buckwheat noodles and onto the plate.
     Step 3:  Garnish the noodles with cilantro leaves.
     Garnish the noodles with 1 thin bias sliced small green onion.

     For a spur of the moment idea, this buckwheat noodle entrée turned out to be quite tasty!

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