One of the saddest parts for me of moving to Louisiana was leaving behind all my favorite restaurants and foods I’d come to love. One of my favorite places was Noodles & Company. I’m sure you guys are the same as me–there are times in my life that I look back at with such fondness and such happy memories that it almost hurts. The summer of 2006 was that way for me and it seems like in my memories, I was always at Noodles & Company–with my sister before she moved to Alabama, with my then-two-year-old son on a rainy, rainy day after story time at the library, the night I found out I was pregnant with my daughter (and, subsequently, 9 months later on the night before I had her). My favorite thing to eat there (besides the Macaroni and Cheese which had about a million calories and as many grams of fat, so I’d order a small portion for my son and snack off his plate) was the Bangkok Curry. It was light, healthy, full of veggies, and unbelievably delicious. At the restaurant, there’s the option of adding grilled chicken or shrimp, but I always just went the vegetarian route.
Well, when we moved here, not only was there no Noodles & Company, but there was nothing even similar. And there were none close by. Not even in Texas. I tried to re-create it at home and failed. I scoured the internet for copycat recipes and came up with nothing. I resigned myself to a sad, Bangkok Curry-less existence. And then…a few months ago…I Googled it again for the heck of it and found not a copycat recipe but a recipe from Noodles & Company themselves! I went on a mad hunt for ingredients and tried making it that night. And, to be honest, it kind of flopped. The rice noodles were great in theory, but they only made things messier and more complicated than they needed to be. This sweet chili sauce
(which I had a heck of a time finding–I’ll warn you now to forgo the grocery store altogether on this one, head to a specialty or Asian foods market, and ask someone where to find the sweet chili sauce. It’ll save you some road rage and mean thoughts if you do!) was way spicier than I was anticipating and the amount called for in the recipe made mine inedible. There also weren’t enough veggies and blanching fresh broccoli and carrots, along with soaking the rice noodles and using the wok, completely destroyed my kitchen. So I tweaked, streamlined, and simplified. And the next go-around was awesome. Just like I’d been dreaming for 2 1/2 years.
Aside from the sweet chili sauce, you should be able to find everything else at your average grocery store:
Linguine (be sure to buy the 16-oz. package and not the 12-oz. package), green onions, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, mushrooms, frozen (gasp!) veggies, red bell peppers, curry paste, and coconut milk. I sometimes get a little bewildered at the grocery store when recipes call for curry paste–what kind of curry? Indian? Thai? Green? Red? Powder? Paste? Sauce? Yeah, you get the picture. In this recipe, I used Thai Kitchen red curry paste, although you could totally use their green curry paste, too. It’s inexpensive and super easy to find. Problem solved, right?