I love instant noodles, from their curlicue shape and economical price to their adaptability and quiet, time-insensitive presence on the pantry shelf. I like how the square stack unravels and swells up in boiling water, turning from serious square to tempting tangle of chewy goodness. The not-so-great part is the soup packet enclosed, which is saltier than it needs to be and filled with too many unpronounceable ingredients.
The quick, simple, and delicious solution around here? Upgrade the noodle nest with a simple creamy soup/sauce made from Thai curry paste, coconut milk and quick-cooking protein and vegetable options. This makes one enormous meal-in-a-bowl or a creamy pasta centerpiece for the two of us to enjoy with a salad or stir-fried vegetable on the side. Here’s the plan: cooked noodles, red curry paste, frozen edamame beans or green peas or broccoli florets, a few frozen shrimp fish sauce and sugar for seasoning, and two green onions, chopped and ready for seasoning and garnish.
Mix Thai curry paste in to bubbling hot coconut milk and mash and stir to dissolve it well. Add frozen edamame beans, shrimp, and chopped white portions of green onions and stir well. Cook them in the curry just until tender and done. Season with fish sauce and sugar and that’s it!
If it’s just me, this is one generous meal in a bowl. If it’s two of us, we fill two standard soup bowls and enjoy this as part of a meal.
Spoon and fork….
Asian soup spoon and chopsticks… All good!
- 1 package instant noodles, any flavor
- 2 green onions
- 3/4 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (one 5 oz. can) or evaporated milk or soy milk
- 1 or 2 tablespoons Thai-style red curry paste
- 3/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup frozen edamame beans or petite peas
- 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce, or 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
- Bring 5 cups water to a rolling boil over high heat in a medium saucepan.
- Meanwhile, trim green oinions and cut in half crosswise, Chop white portion and green portion finely, reserving separately.
- Add noodle packet and pull gently to unravel the flat noodle packet and help it cok evenly.
- Cook just until noodles are tender but not mushy, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Drain well and transfer to a big serving bowl; Mound them up in center of bowl. Cover and keep warm while you prepare the curry sauce.
- In the same saucepan, heat the coconut milk over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in red curry paste and white portion of green onions.. Mash and scrape to melt it into the coconut milk, cooking until evenly mixed and aromatic, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the water, edamame beans and bring to a rolling boil.
- Cook until sauce thickens a little and edamame beans are done, about 2 minutes more.
- Add shrimp and cook, stirring often, until just done, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce and sugar. Taste and add more fish sauce or sugar if needed.
- To serve, pour hot curry sauce over noodles, wihich should be mounded in serving bowl. Spoon out shrimp and edamame beans and place on top of sauced noodles.
- Garnish with chopped green onions, green portion
To check for doneness, cut biggest shrimp in half crosswise. If completely white, it and all the other shrimp are ready. If still grey at center, cook a little more.
You can use any type of Thai-style curry paste here, and simply rename your curry!
You could also use chunks of cooked chicken or turkey