Brian's Spicy Noodles
My husband created this dish and I was impressed. It has plenty of asparagus, garlic and ginger served on top of buckwheat soba noodles. He uses a combination of olive oil, sesame oil, and tamari, as well as chili peppers for an Asian-inspired flavor. And not that it was his intention, but this dish also happens to be a nutritionally dense meal, all in one bowl.
Brian likes his food spicy, so be forewarned. If you like things a little less fiery, cut the amount of chili peppers used by half. The whole thing comes together in about 20 minutes, so it is a great, quick and healthful meal.
1 package 100 percent buckwheat soba noodles, 1 bunch asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces, 3 cloves garlic, chopped, 7 dried Thai peppers (or other dried red chili peppers), chopped* 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced, 3 tbl olive oil, 3 tbl sesame oil, 1 tbl tamari (wheat-free, if necessary) fresh ground black pepper, to taste.
1. Bring pot of water to boil. Add salt.
2. Add the oils, tamari, asparagus and peppers to a sauté pan or wok. Turn to medium heat and add several grinds of pepper.
3. Add noodles to the boiling water and stir.
4. Sauté the vegetables for about 10 minutes, or until asparagus is cooked through. Then add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 2 more minutes.
5. Drain noodles and toss with the sauté to combine. (These 100 % buckwheat noodles tend to clump, but they taste great and make this dish wheat-free.) Serve immediately
*This makes for a fairly spicy dish. You can adjust the amount of peppers to your own taste.
This is a great warm weather meal because red chili peppers actually help reduce body temperature. It sounds counter-intuitive, but capsaicin, the phytochemical in chili peppers, stimulates the cooling center of the hypothalamus in the brain. This is why traditionally, people in tropical climates have used hot chili peppers medicinally and therapeutically. Capsaicin has also been shown to increase the body's basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which our bodies burn calories and fat for energy. Studies have shown that adding chili peppers to your diet, along with ginger and garlic is a natural and effective way to help your body burn fat. Capsaicin has also been shown in clinical research to be an effective pain reliever, a digestive and anti-ulcer aid. A New England Journal of Medicine study recently found that daily doses of red pepper significantly reduce symptoms of indigestion.
Not to be outdone, asparagus boasts great health properties of its own. Asparagus is low in calories and carbohydrates while relatively high in protein compared to other vegetables. It has been used historically to treat arthritis due to its unique phytochemicals and anti-inflammatory properties.