Sometimes a recipes just doesn't turn out. Here's how I improvised when a dish turned out to be both bland and bitter. (I'd bought kale grown across the county to test a recipe. I also rarely use curry powder, so it may have become bitter due to my neglect.) This rescue uses healthy spins on Big Food tricks, moving the food closer to becoming irresistible without triggering overeating.
Active time: 20 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes Yield: 2 main-dish servings.Vegan.
Improv Noodles: Comfort in a Bowl, No Matter What
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 bell peppers, preferably a mix of red and yellow
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces (56 grams)
- 5 ounces kale (142 grams)
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon peanut oil
- 2 ounces udon noodles (56 grams)
- 1 spoonful peanut butter
- 1 handful raisins
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
- handful basil ribbons (from 1/2 lemon)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce, or to taste
- Chop garlic and set aside. Spread peanut oil in a medium pot and turn heat on medium low. Chop peppers and onions and add to pot, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
- Pull leaves of kale from stems. Chop stems and add to onion mixture. Cut leaves into ribbons about 1/4 inch wide. Stir into onion mixture, cover, and reduce heat to simmer. Cook until kale is tender, about 10 minutes.
- Cook udon noodles according to directions on package. Drain and stir into vegetable mixture. Taste. If it seems delicious, go ahead and eat. But if your curry powder or kale was so bitter that even a small bite makes you recoil, then stir in"
- peanut butter (creamy)
- raisins (sweet)
- basil ribbons (colorful and fragrant)
- soy sauce (salty and umami)
- Serve hot or warm. Feel free to rename the dish after a group you identify with or a longed-for travel destination. Research shows this makes people rate food more highly. Call it "The Fighting Tartans Championship Noodle Bowl" or "Bali Belly Bowl." Improvise and enjoy!