I think this recipe was a little bit of a stretch for my boys. Tyler informed me that there will be no more Meatless Mondays on his watch. (I think I will find something a little bit more tame for next week.) Although I enjoyed this recipe, it did not have the depth of flavor that I was expecting. It was good, but I was just expecting more out of it than I received.

To the recipes defense, I did not use as many mushrooms as the recipe called for because I bought all that the grocery store had and it was only about 2 cups. I think the addition of the extra mushrooms would definitely have helped, but I thought the sauce was sort of flat (which I was not expecting since it calls for red curry paste.) If you have not used red curry paste before, you have to know that it is spicy.  I think an addition of more soy sauce helps with the flavors and maybe if I had added a splash or two more than the recipe called for while my sauce was simmering it may have added more depth to the flavor. I also may increase the vegetable broth next time and forgo the water. Regardless, I did enjoy the noodles and will probably have them on occasion, but will definitely be tweaking the recipe a bit. I also think if you want to make it non-vegetarian some sautéed chicken would be a nice addition but would defeat my attempts at eating more meatless meals. 🙂 (If you decide to try the recipe, I would love to hear what additions you add or how you feel about the dish.)

Although I wasn’t completely blown away with this recipe I did really enjoy working with some new items. I had never worked with lemon grass before and did really enjoy the flavor it added. (Be careful and be sure to discard the tough outer layer.) I also really enjoyed cooking with shitake mushrooms. They were delicious and as I mentioned above was slightly disappointed that my grocery store did not have enough in stock. The other new ingredient for me was udon noodles. I felt very adventurous and healthy cooking this meal. It was a stretch for my boys but I think it is good to have the kiddos try something out of their comfort zone. We have the one bite rule at our house. I think they even managed a couple of bites and I am ok with that. I just keep offering new things and they sometimes surprise me.

Curry-Spiced Noodles

8 ounces dry udon noodles (thick, round Japanese wheat noodles) you can substitute spaghetti
4 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
2 cups julienne-cut carrot
3 cups julienne-cut red pepper (or combination of colors)
4 cups thinly sliced shitake mushroom caps (about 8 ounces)
3 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon red curry paste
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted cashews

Cook noodles according to the package directions. Set aside; keep warm.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons peanut oil to the pan; swirling the pan to coat the bottom with the oil. Add carrot to pan and saute for 2 minutes. Add peppers and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Remove carrot and pepper from the pan.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in the pan. Add mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add lemongrass, ginger, red curry paste, cumin, turmeric, and garlic cooking for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, and salt. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thick. Add noodles, carrot mixture, and green onions; cook for 2 minutes; tossing to combine. Divide the noodle mixture into bowls and top with cilantro and chopped cashews.

Mushrooms sauteing in the pan.

The sauce simmering on the stove.

Combining the noodles, peppers, and carrots with the mushrooms and sauce.

Adapted from Cooking Light January 2011