Back at my desk today, but thinking of lunch. Here’s my favorite lunch to have on a day when I’m working at home (especially if First Child is also around to share it)–quick, cheap, and yummy.
Assemble your ingredients. For me, today, this means:
- a package of ramen noodles, chicken flavor
- a jar of curry paste
- a carrot
- a few scallions
- lime juice (I don’t have a fresh lime today, so I’m subbing in some Rose’s lime juice, which we keep around for making vodka gimlets)
- fish sauce
- shredded coconut
- Sriracha hot sauce
- peanut butter
- leftover roast chicken
The mis en place:
Ignore the butter, the masking tape, the candle, what seems to be a carton of milk, and the Sharpie marker. God only knows why they’re in the picture. Instead, picture some fresh, roasted, or dry roasted peanuts, which should be in the picture but aren’t.
Put 2 cups of water in a saucepan as recommend on the ramen package. Into the water, put a handful of carrot pieces, cut into rounds or slivers, and put them on to boil.
When the water comes to a boil, add the ramen noodles and cook for 3 minutes. I like to break mine up into large pieces, but if you like to leave yours whole for slurping, that’s your lookout.
While the noodles are cooking, find a largish soup bowl and put into the bottom of it:
- a spoonful of peanut butter
- a teaspoon or so of lime juice
- a little squirt of fish sauce
- a big squirt of Sriracha
- a spoonful (consult your conscience) of curry paste
Adjust all of these measurements to your taste.
When the ramen is done (about 3 minutes), take it off the heat, stir in the chicken seasoning packet that came with the noodles, and add a handful of chopped or shredded cooked chicken, a couple of thinly sliced scallions (green and white parts). The heat from the noodles will warm them.
Ladle a bit of the noodle cooking liquid into your soup bowl and stir to blend in the seasonings you’ve put there. Now scoop in the cooked noodles and carrots and the chicken and scallions, and sprinkle with coconut and the not-pictured-here peanuts, then sit down to enjoy the lunch of champions. If you’ve got them around, you might think about adding coconut milk, other veggies, slivers of ham or leftover roast pork, whatever else you like.
This could easily feed two. But I won’t tell if you eat it all.
Invite someone to eat with you (as you can see here, my dining partner today is the late John Updike), and enjoy.