I know of some regular supermarkets that sell a small selection of necessary ingredients - hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, shiitake mushrooms,... I wanted to broaden my horizons and see what other delights the Asian stores may have.
Asian food stores are few and far between here in the South of this island in Tenerife, but I have always loved the experience of putting it as a priority on my day to push the boundaries, almost crippling myself trying to discover where I can find somewhere with an exact ingredient rather than lazily rely on an alternative. And of course, at the end of the day seeing the results on a plate with minimum fuss, maximum pleasure.
Thankfully I did find what I was looking for. Asian cooks' paradise is the best way I can describe it. Flowering chives, katsuo bushi, bean curd, pak choi,... poetic names almost. Oh, and the noodles - wheaty ones, rice ones, bucking ones. wrapping ones,... to name but a few. It gave me some inspiration in trying my hand at homemade noodles at a later date. Ok, the ones I had seen here are in the dried noodle format but I have to start Asian style cooking somewhere, right?
Noodling is fun on your own but I always prefer to share the experience. When cooking noodles for others I generally like to be neat and tidy for the sake of presentation. Eating alone or in more intimate company, I find that it is more fun not to be so tidy; it´s always nice to slurp now and then.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
100 g prawns
50 g dried rice noodles
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
pinch of dried chilli flakes
200 g minced pork
large handful of beansprouts
½ tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp mirin
small handful coriander leaves
1. Separate the rice noodles by pulling apart the various sections into manageable amounts. Using scissors, cut the rice noodles into 4-5 inch lengths. Now gently drop handfuls of noodles in the hot oil. The noodles puff up quickly so have a utensil at the ready to quickly extract them. The actual cooking time is only a few seconds. Set puffed noodles to drain on paper towels and shake over a little salt, if desired
2. Butterfly the prawns by cutting each of them lengthways almost right the way through and open the two halves. Remove the black intestinal tract from the prawn by scraping it out with the tip of a sharp knife
3. Place oil in a small to medium size frying pan (the smaller the pan, the less oil you will have to use). Heat oil over medium-high heat for a minimum of 1 minute.
4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a hot wok or heavy based frying pan and stir fry the shallots for 1 minute.
5. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and pork and continue to stir fry for a further 2 minutes or until the pork is almost cooked.
6. Add the prawns, beansprouts, sugar, fish sauce and mirin and continue stir frying for a further 2-3 minutes.
7. Add the cooked prawns and the coriander and toss so the prawns get some heat.
8. Serve the pork and prawn mixture on top of the rice noodles with the lime juice squeezed over the top.