Every month, the "Is My Blog Burning" (IMBB) event challenges food bloggers with a different theme. This month, Amy of "Cooking With Amy" (the first food blog I ever read!) has challenged us with the theme NOODLES!. Almost every cuisine in the world has its favorite noodles, and my personal favorites are the Italian spaghetti ( I love it in a tomato-cheese sauce, the way my mom made it), Chinese egg noodles (I love making huge messy stir-fries with all kinds of veggies and chunks of tofu or strands of fried eggs), and I confess, I routinely crave these ramen-like instant noodles called Maggi Noodles.
I can't resist sharing a couple of "Maggi" stories here...while I was growing up in a small town in India, there was almost no concept of instant foods. Everything was always cooked from scratch (people even bought whole grains and took them down to the local grain-mill to be ground into flour). One day when I was in primary school, some people showed up and gave away these small yellow packs to all the kids. That was the marketing launch by Nestle of its instant noodles, the first instant food to hit the shelves. Every single Indian my age is a life-long lover of Maggi noodles, so that was one successful marketing strategy. Their "bas do-minut" (only 2-minutes) ad jingle likewise is etched in my memory. Later on, when I was doing my post-grad in Bombay, there was a small "Maggi shack" on campus. It sold tea and coffee and well as Maggi noodles; and get this, "Maggi pakodas", fried snacks using cooked maggi noodles dunked in chickpea batter (instead of the usual veggies)! I know this sounds gross, but we consumed them in vast quantities. The things I ate in college...boy are those days gone forever!
But no, I am not making a batch of Maggi for this IMBB. India is not a big noodle place, I find. The only noodles commonly used are super-thin vermicelli ("seviyan") used to make a dessert or sometimes cooked into a savory dish ("upma"). In the local Indian store, I came upon these noodles in the frozen-foods section, called Idiappam. The name sounded vaguely familiar. I looked it up and found that these are nests of rice noodles made by extruding rice flour dough from a sieve-mold and steaming the resulting noodles. It seems to be a favorite breakfast dish in the coastal Southern Indian state of Kerala and in the neighboring island of Sri Lanka. The cuisines of Kerala and Sri Lanka are quite similar...both are spice and coconut-growing regions. The idiappam ( I bought the frozen ones and simply reheated them in the microwave) are traditionally served with a meat-and-potato stew. I made a stew using "Veat", a fake meat (I use fake-meat products rarely, but wanted to try this brand).
The result was a wonderful lunch...the soft bland noodles are delicious when dipped into the spicy flavorful curry! Thank you, Amy, for hosting this event. I loved trying these noodles for the first time! Recipe for the stew follows.
(serves 4-5, adapted from this recipe)
1 packet Veat gourmet bites
1 small onion, chopped
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp clove powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp vinegar
salt to taste
2 tbsp minced cilantro
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1. Saute onions in oil till slightly browned.
2. Add ginger-garlic paste and curry leaves and saute for a minute more.
3. Add all the spices and salt and saute for a few seconds.
4. Add the potato, coconut milk, vinegar and veat bites and simmer (without boiling) for about 10 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
5. Garnish with cilantro and serve hot.
Tagged with: IMBB # 22 + Noodle