Most recipes for rhubarb involve turning it into mush, without taking advantage of the beautiful, red stalks’ appearance. Thai food often involves a mix of tart, lemony flavors. Hmm, I know! I’ll use the rhubarb in a stir-fry, with Thai seasonings!
I was inspired to make a savory rhubarb recipe by the New York Times, which put the vegetable into an Indian-inspired curry. Meanwhile, as I was planning dinner, I had this idea of making rice noodles in a coconut curry, and everything just fell into place. The rhubarb wound up being a great addition; its tart flavor nicely offset the coconut, lemon juice and cilantro, and it looked great sliced into thin sticks along with some purple carrot.
The end result isn’t exactly Thai, but more importantly, it tastes good.
For two servings:
200 grams flat rice noodles (I used 5-millimeter thick noodles)
125 grams carrot (I used purple carrots, for good effect)
4-6 garlic cloves
125 grams tofu
250 grams rhubarb (about 2 stalks)
oil for frying
3/4 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon curry powder (mine definitely contains cumin, hot pepper and turmeric; not sure what else)
handful cilantro for topping
Put the noodles in water to soak for 1/2 hour to an hour before you need to use them.
Slice the carrots and rhubarb into small matchsticks — slice the rhubarb lengthwise into thin strips, and cut each strip into segments about 2-3 centimeters long. Likewise for the carrots.
Dice the tofu into small cubes. Slice the shallot into thin rings. Crush the garlic.
Heat some neutral vegetable oil in a wok on a medium flame. Add the shallot. Once it becomes translucent, add the tofu, and then the rhubarb, stirring. Let the tofu begin to brown slightly. Add the garlic and the carrots, still stirring.
Mix all the ingredients for the sauce together: the coconut milk, lemon, salt, curry and sugar.
Dump the noodles (without the soaking water) into the wok. Stir; they’ll begin to soften. Pour the sauce on top. Keep stirring until the sauce is absorbed and the noodles look fully cooked (the texture will visibly change; they’ll look limp and glossy). Turn off the flame, and add the cilantro.
Serve, with a sprig or two of cilantro for garnish.