Whenever I go to the States, or someone from the States comes up to visit me or someone in my circle of acquaintance, there’s always the question: “Do you want anything from the States?” or “Would you like me to bring you something from Canada?” Sadly, no fresh fruits or vegetables, thanks to restrictions at the border, but there’s usually a slight trade in other items, things that you can’t get one side of the border or the other. A certain kind of pickled carrots, a hockey jersey, a book that’s only published in the States.
Whenever I head south, I inevitably have a few little jars of coconut milk in my case.
Coconut milk is certainly not one of the things you think of when you think Canada—the country’s not exactly known for its coconut crops. But somehow all the cans of coconut to be found in the corner of the States I visit most often are the large kind, holding nearly two cups of the stuff. Coconut milk is certainly delicious, and there are times when you want that much, but a little coconut goes a long way, and most of the time a can half the size is more than enough to serve a family of four. So I end up toting little cans of coconut over the border.
This is one of my favourite ways to use coconut, and the perfect place to use one of those little cans. The dish takes only as long as it takes to boil a pot of water and cook some noodles—a wonderful thing to have in your repertoire for the times when you start to wish you lived on Bajor and had twenty-six hours in your day instead of twenty-four. It is also delicious, with the curry paste giving silky coconut sauce just the barest hint of spice.
Noodles in a Thai Curry Sauce
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
- 6-8 oz. whole wheat udon noodles
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1 1/2 tsp red Thai curry paste
- 1 160-ml can coconut milk
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles.
Meanwhile, melt the coconut oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for several minutes, until it has softened and become translucent. Stir in the curry paste, then gently add the coconut milk and soy sauce. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while the noodles finish cooking.
Drain the noodles and put them in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over them and toss so that everything is evenly coated. Serve garnished with the sliced scallions.