This recipe is a riff on homemade rice noodles that was such a production growing up. The anticipation was every bit a part of the overall enjoyment. Ground rice was blended with water and cooked into a tight dough. Shaped into balls, they were first steamed and then pressed through a specialty noodle maker to produce the softest and the most delicious fresh rice noodles. The dish was served either with a coconut chutney or a yogurt-based sauce with a few pappadums. Pure heaven!
Although not quite the same as the original, I came up with a happy compromise using store-bought white or brown rice noodles. A certain magic is created when slippery noodles are dunked in the tart sauce offering a bit of crunch, soft bite and a gush of creamy spice. Serve with a crisp salad of shredded red cabbage, carrots and scallions dressed in sesame seed oil and lime juice. —Kala Ganapathy
For the noodles
rice noodles, cooked (I use Annie Chun's brown rice variety)
black mustard seeds
dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
fresh curry leaves
fresh cilantro leaves, sliced into ribbons
sunflower, rice bran or coconut oil
toasted sesame oil or coconut oil for finishing
salt to taste
To prepare the sauce
soy or other yogurt
green chilies, deseeded, if desired
fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
lime juice (omit or adjust based on tartness of yogurt)
Heat the oil in a wide pan on medium heat.
Drop in the mustard seeds, cover with a lid and wait for the seeds to pop.
When the popping subsides, add all the remaining noodle ingredients and toss well.
Season to taste and keep warm.
Blend all the ingredients for the sauce in a high speed blender until creamy and combined. Adjust the seasonings.
To serve. Place the noodles in a wide bowl and top with some of the sauce. Leftovers will last a couple of days in the fridge.