Friday, October 14, 2016

Meatless Acorn Squash Curry Ramen

Yum


Growing up in Myanmar (Burma), I personally found meeting people was an uncomplicated process. I went to school, and I liked Power Rangers, there were a few kids who want to talk to me about our shared undying obsession with how we would also become Power Rangers one day. Then, we became friends. It was almost as if the universe wanted us to meet. It was so freaking weird that we bonded over trivial things like that. Now that, I am a well functioning adult I don’t do such childish things like that anymore. Adults often make friends differently – we like to talk about the most interesting stuffs like what we did over the weekend, how our cat foods always run out, and most importantly, the weather. Kids are missing out. It is usually quite fun zoning out, opps, I meant, listening while others are talking. (Well, sometimes, I wonder, may be, once you turn 21, the universe just says adios and lets you find your compatible friends on your own).



Acorn squash soup



However, recently, I found myself behaving like a kid again (I know, I was surprised too. I am like very mature.), when I “met” Nate Crawford, the creator of Terminatetor Kitchen, on Instagram back in July. The first thing that struck me was his grainy, well-composed pictures that scream he is a real food photographer. He meticulously styled his table settings with antique books, quills, leaves, flowers and clothing. His pictures transported me straight back to a wood tavern in a deep dark forest on a rainy day during the colonial era, where I am a spectator of a passionate craftsman, alone and absorbed in his work.

Acorn squash soup


It is always a blissful feeling for me to witness a person lost in his little world of wonder, taking refuge from the bustle of the outside world, because I can relate how the person experiences the world at the moment. Whenever I am taking pictures, I feel everything around me go silence, and I start to see the beauty in little things. I would never have thought my absolute happiness would come from an act as simple as seeing a small strip of light casting across a slice of cake, appreciating subtle hand movements of kneading dough, walking into a cloud of flour dust or hearing the sound of one liquid being pouring into another. Beautiful moments like these are so fleeting, and the fact that they are fleeting also makes them even more beautiful. I know I just sound like a pompous jackasss, but it is true in the most unpretentious way. I bet Nate felt the same way. (I actually wish I knew how to have fun like that as a kid. I would have saved a lot of pocket money).

Acorn squash soup


As much as we are similar, Nate and I are also very different. He is a baker, and I am lazy. I cook because the reward is faster, and it is easier to rectify when things go wrong (and, I am lazy). (I think Marvellina from Whattocooktoday, and Mandy from Ladyandpups, who also spoke out their incompatibility with baking, can understand what I am talking about). So, when Nate and I decided that some time in October, we will publish our respective blog posts dedicating to the incoming fall squashes, I know I want to write about a noodle dish.

Acorn squash soup


I actually have been making this noodle with curry squash broth (a spin on Burmese curry noodle) almost every fall, but never got down to write this out, because I never felt that it deserves to be called a recipe. A recipe, for me, would entail the process of giving thoughts, developing and testing. But, this dish just came about back in my college years entirely because I had to use an acorn squash I got from a friend. I just threw things together, and suddenly I ended up with a noodle bowl so good that I kept on making it every time I see acorn squashes in abundance. 

Acorn squash soup



I have to say, acorn squashes are the ones that you find yourself slowly fall in love with. Right now, I love everything about them – their star-shaped exterior, dark green jacket spotted with some golden speckles, and intensely nectary velvety flesh within that complements turmeric-and-paprika-spiked fluorescently yellow curry broth. The broth is a surprising concoction of opposites - creamy yet light, savory yet sweet, filling yet addicting. When I was living in the colder climates of the east coast, the idea of slurping piping hot noodles drenched in thick creamy curry broth was my idea of gastronomic heaven. More importantly, I just adore how making of the whole noodle bowl requires minimal effort, but provides maximal pleasure.

Acorn squash soup


I would never have “met” this recipe if my friend had never given me an acorn squash. Just like, I would have never met with Nate if I never started blogging. I guess, the universe never actually leaves us completely on our own. Like Ted Mosbey from “How I Met Your Mother” said, “You see, the universe has a plan, kids, and that plan is always in motion. A butterfly flaps its wings, and its starts to rain. It’s a scary thought, but it’s also kind of wonderful. All these little parts of the machine constantly working, making sure that you end up exactly where you are supposed to be, exactly when you’re supposed to be there”.

Squash curry noodle


Squash curry noodle


Meatless acorn ramen



Ingredients

Serving size: 4-6
  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tsps. of turmeric
  • 1 tsp. of paprika
  • 1 tbsps. of ginger (minced)
  • 236 ml (1 cup) of coconut cream (full fat)
  • 5 tbsps. of fish sauce
  • 75ml (5 tbsp) of vegetable oil
  • 1.25 quarts (6 cups) of vegetable stock (may require one more cup for adjustment)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Egg noodles, lime, basil, and chili oil to serve



Directions

Quarter your acorn squash, and scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon. Save the seeds to be roasted and snacked later on, just like Mylavenderblues did.

Take out your widest pan, that will easily hold four quarters of the acorn squash. Fill up the pan with water to about one-inch depth. When the water starts to boil, place the squash quarters with skin-side down. Cover, and steam for about 20 minutes. Check during half-way through steaming, and add more water if needed.

The squash is done cooking when the flesh becomes velvety soft. Take the squash out from the pan, and cool down so that you can hold it without playing a game of hot potato. Yes, you may use the fridge to cool down faster.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out those gorgeous golden flesh with a spoon. Put them in a bowl, and mash them a bit. You really don’t need to finely mash them because we will use blender at the end anyway to break up any lumps. Snack on the skin. It is sweet and it is good.

Then, heat the oil in a medium-sized stockpot. Add in ginger, garlic and onion. Cook for about 3-5 minutes under medium high until the onion pieces start to change their colors. Then add turmeric and paprika. Stir and you will get this extremely fragrant gorgeous magenta-colored curry paste.

Add in your squash mush. Stir vigorously so that everything is combined well. Then add in your vegetable stock, coconut cream and fish sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally. I have to be bossy here and say that you have to use full-fat coconut milk. Otherwise, you will end up with runny coconut-flavored yellow broth rather than addicting unctuousness. 


Finally, if you are like me, who prefers the broth to be completely free of solids, use a/an (immersion) blender. The blending process tends to make broth thicker, so I usually add an additional cup of vegetable stock. Salt and pepper according to your raste and serve over Asian egg noodles. Garnish with either cilantro or thai basil, but always with an egg (boiled for exactly 7 minutes). Squeeze some lime. Drizzle with chili oil, and some more fish sauce. Chow down. Wash dishes.



print recipe

Meatless acorn squash curry ramen
I have been making this ramen every fall, and I keep coming back to it. It is that good.
Ingredients
  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 2 tsps. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsps. ginger (minced)
  • 236 ml or 1 cup coconut cream (full fat)
  • 5 tbsps. fish sauce
  • 75 ml or 5 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1.25 quarts or 6 cups vegetable stock
  • To taste Salt and pepper
  • To serve Egg noodles, lime, basil, and chili oil
Instructions
Quarter your acorn squash, and scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon.Take out your widest pan, that will easily hold four quarters of the acorn squash. Fill up the pan with water to about one-inch depth. When the water starts to boil, place the squash quarters with skin-side down. Cover, and steam for about 20 minutes. Check during half-way through steaming, and add more water if needed.The squash is done cooking when the flesh becomes velvety soft. Take the squash out from the pan, and cool down so that you can hold it without behaving like playing a game of hot potato. Yes, you may use the fridge to cool down faster.When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out those gorgeous golden flesh with a spoon. Put them in a bowl, and mash them a bit. Then, heat the oil in a medium-sized stockpot. Add in ginger, garlic and onion. Cook for about 3-5 minutes under medium high until the onion pieces start to change their colors. Then add turmeric and paprika. Stir and you will get this extremely fragrant gorgeous magenta-colored curry paste.Add in your squash mush. Stir vigorously so that everything is combined well. Then add in your vegetable stock, coconut cream and fish sauce. Simmer for about 15 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Finally, if you are like me, who prefers the broth to be completely free of solids, use a/an (immersion) blender. The blending process tends to make broth thicker, so I usually add an additional cup of vegetable stock. Salt and pepper according to your raste and serve over Asian egg noodles. Garnish with either cilantro or thai basil, but always with an egg (boiled for exactly 7 minutes). Squeeze some lime. Drizzle with chili oil, and some more fish sauce.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4-6
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4 comments:

  1. This is definitely a beautiful dish. Meatless or not! I never grew up eating squash. Not something we commonly have in Indonesia. But I've grown to like it since I moved here. Now I love pumpkin or squash-based broth especially in noodle dish like this. Great job capturing the process. That's the thing that I want to do more, but don't get to do it often because it's either I'm lazy or it's not convenient :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did not grow up eating squash either, and they are definitely discoveries that I become instantly addicted to. Haha, I agree taking the pictures of the process, especially to be in align with our blogs' aesthetics, is really hard.

      Delete
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