Wok-tossed glass noodles with red beef curry: Better the second time ‘round
Every time I try a new recipe, I always follow the instructions word-for-word and only tweak it the second and third time around. Tonight I attempted a Luke Nguyen recipe from The Songs of Sapa and followed it exactly but was honestly a little disappointed.
When my mum used to have her friends over for dinner parties (read: karaoke parties), we would eat this kind of dish. I suppose it’s because it’s quick, easy and goes a long way.
When I cooked it for myself tonight, I wasn’t disappointed with the flavour – don’t get me wrong, it was a delicious as you’d expect! I was more disappointed in the lack of sauciness, especially because it’s served with rice.
I’ve made a few important changes to Luke’s recipe like adding chicken stock and increasing the amount of coconut milk. I also added fresh mushrooms and red onions because I had them leftover from the weekend but I think the dish needed that extra element of freshness and colour.
I’m going to try this recipe again with my changes and hopefully round two will be the delicious saucy creation I was hoping for tonight. If anyone else tries it before me, please let me know how it goes!
NB: I may be a perfectionist now, because Mikee wanted me to add in this post that he still loved it
Here’s the hopefully improved recipe:
50g dried bean thread (glass noodles)
Small handful of dried black fungus
Small tablespoon of red curry paste
¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon of chilli flakes
1 tablespoon of fish sauce
3-4 tablespoons of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of water
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of oil for frying
1 finely chopped garlic clove
½ a red onion (half finely chopped and half cut into wedges)
A handful of mushrooms (any kind will do)
1 lemongrass stem (white part only), finely chopped
180g entrecote steak (eye fillet) finely sliced
4-5 tablespoons of coconut milk (or more depending on your taste)
Small handful of roasted peanuts (I get raw peanuts and dry toast them in a frying pan till they’re slightly blackened. I then crush them in a mortar & pestle and stand on the balcony and blow the peanut skins out of the bowl!)
1 bunch of Vietnamese herbs like mint, basil, perilla or sawtooth herb (I only have access to mint and basil in Amsterdam but lucky people who live in Australia, Asia, USA, and France can get all the yummy authentic herbs I miss!)
1 bird’s eye chilli mixed with soy sauce for dipping
Put the dried fungus and noodles in separate bowls and soak in water for 20 minutes. When the noodles are soft enough, cut them with scissors so they’re about 10cm in length. Drain both bowls and slice the mushrooms into smaller pieces.
Combine the curry paste, turmeric and chilli flakes in a small bowl and set aside.
Combine the fish sauce, sugar, water and chicken stock in another small bowl and stir till the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Heat the wok and oil over medium heat.
Add the garlic, finely chopped onion and lemongrass and stir till fragrant.
Increase the heat to high and throw in the fresh mushrooms and beef. Stir-fry till the beef just browns.
Add the curry mixture and stir for a minute.
Add the noodles, onion wedges and fish sauce mixture.
Toss well and pour in enough coconut to taste. Mix through for another minute or so.
Garnish with peanuts and herbs and serve with a little rice. Enjoy with the soy sauce and chilli. I also like to serve with freshly sliced cucumber.
Serves 2 (with leftovers for my lunch!)