Easy Weeknight Dinner

No Rules Vegetable Noodles and On-the-fly Spicy Tofu


For the noodles:

1. As many different vegetables as you fancy. My usual are carrots, green beans, mushrooms (I add everything from portobello to wood ear, shiitake, and enoki), broccoli and yellow squash. For this time I used carrots, yellow squash, portobello mushrooms and asparagus. I also toss in a fried egg or two every once a while.

2. Boiled Noodles- Enough to feed two ravenous appetites for two meals

3. Seasonings- Salt, Soy Sauce, Chili Garlic Sauce, Maggi Hot and Sweet Tomato Chili Sauce and any other Asian sauce that you can lay your hands on

4. Finely chopped ginger and garlic

Procedure: Heat some oil, preferably sesame (not the Indian version but the Chinese version) and fry the chopped ginger and garlic for a couple minutes. Turn up the heat and flash-fry the harder vegetables first. Once they cook a little and turn brown, add the softer vegetables like squash and mushrooms. Cook for a few more minutes, then add the salt and sauces. Now here comes the fun part, you can add the sauces in varying permutations to get a different taste every time. Once you are done with the sauces, add the noodles and toss well to combine. Done!


On-the-fly Spicy Tofu:

1. A pack of tofu, either silken or firm

2. Finely chopped ginger and garlic

3. Coarsely chopped green peppers

4. All the sauces that were used for the noodles

5. Two tablespoons of miso paste

6. A tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in water

Procedure: Heat oil in a wok and fry the chopped ginger and garlic. After a minute or two, add the green peppers and sauté until they brown. Add the miso paster, salt, and all the sauces. Combine well. Add half a cup of water and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Then, add the cornstarch to thicken the mixture. Remove from heat after a couple minutes and garnish with scallion greens if you wish. As easy as that!






Singapura ($$)- NYC


This post is more about Indo-Chinese food than it is about the restaurant Singapura. I find the need to ramble about the cuisine in order to do justice to the review itself. Now, Wikipedia has done a very good job of covering the technicalities of this cuisine. Do spend some time reading that and then come back to read this.

To me, when you say Indo-Chinese food, I get transported to the Indian town where I was an undergrad. I start hearing things. Loud automobile honks, the bustle of a street and some Bollywood or regional movie songs being played on a cheap stereo to be precise. Any self-respecting “Fast Food” joint or “Noodle Point” that serves this food must be very humble. Usually a street cart or a small, Spartan store thereby explaining the noise and the Indian immunity that doesn’t make you rush for an Aleve in spring. And then comes the sound of a metal ladle furiously tossing around a mélange of ingredients in a large, extremely hot wok. I am told that it is this high temperature that is responsible for the taste and texture, among other things. Something you cannot achieve on your stovetop. The menu in such a place is pretty standard. You have Noodles with vegetables, egg or chicken and Manchurian, either wet or dry made out of vegetables, cauliflower or chicken. You almost always go to this place as a group. Get one of each kind and pass the dishes around. The taste is consistently the same no matter how many times you go. Now the taste, spicy, soy saucy, green chili saucy, and so Indo-Chinese-y that there is no other description. Yes, let us settle for Indo-Chinese-y.

Now, there’s sit-down restaurants that serve this fare and do a very good job. Not as good as the street cart but good enough for your now thirty something self whose belly doesn’t take as much abuse as it did when you were in your late teens and early twenties. The spice is toned down, the grease is reduced but the taste remains Indo-Chinese-y.

Let us now proceed to Singapura shall we? To do well on a street which offers stiff competition, you must be very good. Neighbor Chinese Mirch has established itself in the Indo-Chinese food space. While the food at Singapura is not bad at all, it is nowhere close to either the food cart or the restaurant. In addition to Indo-Chinese they also offer other Asian food like Malaysian and Thai but we did not try those.

For that authentic Indo-Chinese food experience, head to Bombay Talk in Edison, NJ. Don’t say you weren’t warned about the heat!


P.S. Just found that this restaurant is closed!

Oak + Almond ($$$)- Norwalk, CT


A very welcoming ambiance, farm to table concept, a seasonal menu and an opportune location had me visit Oak + Almond three times. I will keep this one short and sweet. Go there and share some appetizers over wine or cocktails. Do not miss any of their flatbreads or the meatballs. Binge on their sweet and creamy butter. I haven’t been blown over by their main course. I will return nevertheless, because it is a convenient place to go to after work or during lunch hour.

Apple Pie For The Soul

Ah! how long has it been since I baked a pie! And by baking, I mean from scratch. The get your hands all dusty with flour and wipe them off on your jammies kind. The get seduced by the smell of butter and eat a considerable amount of raw dough kind. The fall in love with dough making so much that you decide to make pot-pie for dinner the next day kind. Not the pick up a crust from the frozen foods aisle kind. Nope. And if you choose to go the ready-made crust way, you would have merely assembled a pie. Not baked it. As for the apples, I used a mixture of varieties (read all the leftovers in the refrigerator that I don’t care about enough to know their names). The instructions and recipe came from Smitten Kitchen and Joy of Baking respectively.

Apple Pie

Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes

Easy to make and difficult to not love, these cupcakes will be made a few more times. Served mine with berries this time. Whipped cream, ganache, nut brittle and Dulce De Leche are some other toppings I want to try. I had to make do with my Iphone for pictures but better looking DSLR pictures are in order. And oh, the recipe source is here.