DRAGON NOODLES WITH BLACK BEANS by Left-Brain Marilyn
Swiftly infusing the oil for this noodle salad dressing calms and harmonizes the strong flavors of garlic, ginger and chilies. The “dragon” is the spice from the crushed chilis – use the smaller amount unless you’re serving this to people who like very-spicy food.
Serve these summery noodles as a side salad or as a main course with shredded cold chicken scattered overtop. I made a double batch for a potluck and overheard one fellow saying he was not going to eat anything else that evening except these delicious noodles!
Cook your own black beans as the ones from a can are too mushy. Julienned extra vegetables are a nice, but not necessary additions (add along with grated carrot).
Makes 6-8 side salad servings
3 tbsp (45 mL) peanut, safflower or other mild vegetable oil (see tip)
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp (10 g) very-finely minced fresh ginger
1/2 to 1 tsp (.5 to 1 g) crushed chili flakes
1 tsp (5 mL) dark sesame oil
1/2 cup (90 g) dry black beans
225-250 g vermicelli or capelli d’angelo, about 8 oz
3-4 green onions, thinly-sliced or 1/2 cup (15 g) snipped chives
1 carrot, grated
2 tsp (8 g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce
1/2 tsp (3 g) salt
1/4 cup (50 mL) finely-chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
2 cooked chicken breasts or 4 thighs, shredded about 3 to 4 cups (375 g)
1 medium yellow summer squash, seeded and julienned
1 medium zucchini, seeded and julienned
15-20 snow peas, julienned
- To infuse oil, heat with garlic, ginger and chili flakes in a heat-proof measuring cup in the microwave for 30-60 seconds (or heat in a very small pan over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes) until hot with bubbles rising. Stir in sesame oil. If using within a few hours leave at room temperature; otherwise cover and refrigerate until needed.
- Cover beans with lightly salted cold water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 to 60 minutes or until just tender. Check to make sure beans remain just covered with simmering water. Drain and cool. Beans can be covered and refrigerated or frozen.
- Break long strands of pasta in half. Cook in boiling salted water for the minimum number of minutes stated on package, usually about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain; immediately refresh under cold running water until cooled. Drain again.
- Finely grate zest from lime and squeeze juice; stir zest and juice with soy sauce, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Stir in infused oil and drained pasta. Toss with tongs; then add green onions, carrot and any variations. Sprinkle with chopped coriander (see tip!); toss.
- Rinse black beans under cold running water when ready to serve. Drain well and add to salad (keeps beans from discolouring the noodles during storage); toss. Covered and refrigerated, salad keeps well for a day or two.
Don’t use olive oil as it congeals when refrigerated. If these dragon noodles become a summer favourite, make infused oil in quantity to store covered in refrigerator and cook extra beans to freeze.
Some people loathe fresh coriander, such as my husband, so I serve the chopped coriander in a bowl with a small spoon for coriander-lovers, such as myself, to add to taste!
A friend who is celiac (gluten intolerant) was visiting so I use rice vermicelli instead of wheat pasta – it’s the one pictured!
Slippery and playful, dragon noodles make a welcome side or with chicken or shrimp overtop, a change from pasta with a side of greens.