By Tana Kosiyabong
Winter had arrived and I hated it. I didn’t know about others, but I’d rather stay warm and dry in my office than run out in the cold rain to grab some lunch. However, I could only endure so much of ramen noodles, frozen dinners and leftovers at work. I desperately needed better lunch solutions. Fortunately, I have found one in the office’s microwave oven!
Microwave oven is not only great for making ramen noodles and heating up frozen dinners, but also good for cooking (if you know how to work around its limitations). However, you should be mindful while cooking at the office. Otherwise, your sweet coworker(s) could transform into Cruella Deville the minute your masterpiece stank up the office. At the point, nothing could stop those babbling mouths and evil eyes. Although cooking red curry from scratch will reek pungent smells, you don’t have to worry about it if you cook with my shortcuts.
The Red Curry Tuna with Udon Noodles is inspired by a Thai dish called Khanom Jeen Gang Phed. Khanom Jeen is Thai sourdough rice noodles normally served with Gang Phed (red curry), Gang Khiew Wan (green curry), or some other Thai dishes. Since I can’t find Khanom Jeen in Vancouver, I normally substitute it with spaghetti, ramen or udon noodles.
This recipe is also great for any college student who has either a microwave oven or an electric hot-pot in the dorm room.
– A can of Aroy-D red curry soup. For Vancouverites, you can find it at London Drugs for $2.69 or Asia Market (265 East Hastings street; 604.688.6824) for $1.89. If you’re keen on maneuvering through crazy stoners while shopping in a rough neighbourhood, you’ll save a whopping 80 cents there. Totally worth it in my opinion. For those who don’t live near Vancouver, try your local asian grocery stores or order online.
– A pack of udon noodles. I got this one on sale from T&T supermarket for about 60 cents. You should be able to find it in most asian grocery stores across North America. Any brand will do.
– A can of chunk light tuna in water. Look for a good deal at your local grocery stores and stock them up. I got this one for 75 cents.
NOTE: A few Thai hot chilies in the above picture are for decoration only. You can stock up all the three ingredients at the office in advance. Then pull them out when you’d rather stay out of the cold rain or snow.
STEP 1. Add water to a microwave safe bowl. Bring it to boil in the microwave oven at high setting for 3 minutes or so. Add udon noodles into the bowl, then boil 2-1/2 minutes more.
STEP 2. In the mean time, open a can of Aroy-D red curry soup and pour it into another microwave safe bowl. Once the noodles are ready. Take them out of the oven. Replace with the curry bowl. Heat for 3 to 3-1/2 minutes.
STEP 3. While waiting for the curry, drain water from the noodles. Open a can of chunk light tuna, drain, then add to the noodle bowl.
STEP 4. Once the red curry is ready. Pour half of it into the noodle bowl. Serve hot.
You only need about half can of red curry for each package of udon noodles. If you have two packs of udon noodles and tuna, you can make an extra bowl for your boss. It could be the best ass-kissing move you’ve ever made in your entire career. However, if you’re as cheap as I am, keep the other half of the curry in the fridge for lunch tomorrow.
NOTE: The udon package said to cook in boiling water for 3 minutes. However, this recipe calls for 2-1/2 minutes because the residual heat will continue to cook the noodles while waiting for the curry. Also, I didn’t cook chunk tuna with the curry because I’d like to retain its shape.
NOTE FOR VEGETARIANS: Replace tuna with a cup of well-drained canned mushrooms or green beans. Add them to the curry before heating in STEP 2.
©2009 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.