Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spicy Asian Noodles with Kale

I have a confession.
I like shopping for produce.
Okay, I don't just like it...I obsess over it, I love it.
The produce manager and I are on a first name basis.
Brad will complete an entire grocery shopping trip in the time it takes me to marvel at and pick out all the fruits and vegetables on our list.
You can't deny that there is something exciting about discovering the apples you always buy or the berries you normally pay a ridiculous amount for are on sale. It always feels like a great accomplishment when you pick out that perfectly ripe piece of fruit, which it should, that's no easy task.
 One of my favorite things though, is finding a new fruit or vegetable to try. Last week I happened upon a papple, a pear apple hybrid, and just last year I discovered golden beets, butternut squash, bok choy, and kale.

The kale at the store I frequent way too often has been so enticingly curly and dark green that I haven't been able to resist buying enough to eat every single day for the past couple of weeks. After the third week of accompanying most of ours meals with crunchy Kale Chips it was time to try something new. Asian flavors never fail to satisfy my need for something different and this was no exception.

The original recipe includes bok choy but I've found that the complexity and depth of flavor in kale really elevate this dish to a whole new level. Cutting the kale into long strips bulks up the noodle portion without adding much of anything other than some excellent vitamins and minerals.

adapted from Cooking Light's Spicy Malaysian Style Stir-fried Noodles

9 oz whole wheat spaghetti noodles (I decided to forgo the more expensive asian noodles here)
1/4 cup reserved pasta water
1 large bunch of kale, rinsed and woody stems removed

1 1/2 tsp dark sesame oil
2 tbsp chopped garlic
3/4 tbsp chile garlic paste (such as Huy Fong)
1/2 tbsp black bean garlic sauce like (Lee Kum Kee)
5 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce

Slice the kale leaves into thin long strips: roll them up from the bottom to the top and then slice from left to right (or right to left it doesn't really matter)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add kale, cover and let steam until it begins to soften. I don't add anything else to the pan because the water from rinsing it is all it needs to cook.

Mix sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside for now

Cook pasta in your boiling water according to directions but cook 2-3 minutes less than recommended
Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid
Add pasta, pasta water, and sauce ingredients to pan with kale
Toss to combine

*I recommend tasting the sauce at this point to make sure it has the level of heat you want, add more chile garlic paste if it isn't where you want it. If it isn't salty enough add some more bean sauce but it is incredibly salty so be wary of adding too much*

Cook uncovered over medium heat until sauce begins to thicken, stir every once in awhile

Once sauce has thickened toss again to thoroughly combine, divide into two bowls and top with sesame seeds

Servings 2
Per serving 525 calories

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