There is this amazing noodle shop a little bit too close to where I live. It serves a small menu of Asian-style soups and noodle bowls using local, high quality ingredients. I always go there with the intention of getting a warm, noodle-y soup, but always, without fail get the same exact thing, because I am totally addicted to it: the hazelnut noodle bowl.
It’s so good, I find it hard to keep up casual conversation until I can see the bottom of my bowl, and sharing is (obviously) out of the question. This bi-weekly good time is inspiring my dish today. It isn’t a direct re-creation, but a version of it, given a healthy, cancer-squashing bump.
Asian rice noodles are ok once in a while (or for every single meal if you happen to be traveling through delicious Vietnam) but not a good choice for those everyday moments when we want to have more blood sugar control and nutrient content.
Enter other noodle options: Zucchini noodles – texturally: a great sub. Nutritionally: a whole, raw vegetable. Maintenance-ally: close to the same amount of time and dishes as boiling noodles. Check out some tips for making them here. If you can find kelp noodles at your local health food/grocery store, they also make a great option that is closer to the real thing, although more expensive and fewer homemade feelings are involved.
The sauce is made from hazelnuts and some Thai-inspired aromatics including lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, anti-inflammatory buddies -ginger and turmeric, and cancer-crushing Allium cousins -garlic and shallots. Flavour city with just the right amount of muscle to scare the bad guys.
The hazelnuts in place of what would more traditionally be coconut milk, allow this dish to be more locally made (in the Pacific North West, where I’m from) and they also add a new, subtle richness of flavour that is pleasantly surprising and unexpected. We don’t toast them, so the flavour won’t be overwhelming (and the fats remain undamaged and ready to party) but we do soak them overnight to remove their enzyme inhibitors. They give the sauce more body than coconut milk would, once puréed, which gives the dish a heartier overall feel.
My version of this dish is both raw and cooked, which means that you get lots of live enzymes that help your body with digestion, as well as the warm toasties (that January wants so badly to rob us of), that come from cooked foods.
As delicious as this sauce is on veggie noodles, on day two it found itself heated up and spooned over a big platter of steamed bok choy. Not surprisingly, it totally worked and I think that even the bok choy was thrilled about it.
- 1 c Hazelnuts, soaked overnight in water with a splash of raw apple cider vinegar, drained and rinsed
- 1 tsp Extra Virgin Coconut oil
- 3 Garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Shallots, diced
- ½ Lemongrass, minced
- 3 Kaffir Lime Leaves, bashed up with the wrong side of your knife to release oils
- 2 Tbsp Ginger, chopped
- 2 Tbsp Fresh Turmeric, chopped (1 Tbsp if using dried)
- Several grinds of Black Pepper (to improve turmeric absorption)
- Sea(weed) Salt to taste
- 1½ c Water
- 1 tsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
- 2 Shallots, sliced
- 3 Garlic Cloves, sliced
- Any Green Veggies ie- bok choy, napa cabbage, mustard greens, gai lan (I used 2 cups of broccoli and a bunch of lacinato kale, chopped up)
- Water to thin if needed
- 2 c Fresh Watercress
- Lime wedges
- Zucchini or Kelp Noodles
- In a tsp of extra virgin coconut oil and a splash of water, on medium heat, sweat the shallot, garlic, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, and lime leaves until soft.
- Transfer to the blender with the hazelnuts and purée until as smooth as possible (it may take a few minutes if you don't have a high power blender). It will never get perfectly smooth, embrace that bit of texture.
- Meanwhile, on medium heat, in a large frying pan, in another tsp of extra virgin coconut oil and splash of water, sweat the sliced shallots and garlic until soft.
- Add the chopped up green veggies, another splash of water and a lid or cover on top for 20-30 seconds so that they steam.
- Remove the lid and add the hazelnut purée, turn the heat down a bit and stir the purée around until it is combined with the veggies and warmed through (you don't want it to boil).
- Adjust Seasoning
- Add some extra water if it is too thick.
- Serve on a bed of room temp or slightly warmed through zucchini noodles or kelp noodles (or even just a bed of steamed veggies...) and top with a twist of fresh watercress and a squeeze of lime.