May 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm #1302676
Still testing things, but I think I can put together a palatable cookless red curry with chicken. The question now is whether there's something akin to rice noodles, rice, or some other suitable accompaniment that also doesn't require boiling water or other cooking.
Anyone have suggestions? What's the closest thing to rice noodles, rice, couscous that's cookless? Neither instant potatoes nor quinoa flakes really cut it with the curry (at least not to my palate).
Other alternatives, or should I just call it a soup and be done?
Bill S.May 7, 2013 at 9:09 pm #1984287
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Ramen. You can soak it in cold water for 15 minutes, drain and use. It really does work I might add :-) – Just toss the "flavor" packet.May 8, 2013 at 3:47 pm #1984552
Thanks, Sarah! I'll give that a try.
Do you know if there's anywhere to buy it without all the packaging and flavor packs? Seems like a lot of trash for a few noodles.
Ever tried rehydrating cellophane noodles or rice vermicelli without cooking?
BillMay 8, 2013 at 7:24 pm #1984636
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Some really thin rice ones will work. The secret to ramen is it is fried, so it is fully cooked :-)May 8, 2013 at 10:22 pm #1984702
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Have you considered hash brown potatoes (Hungry Jack)? They rehydrate pretty quickly and you can find them in a few stores. Good luck and please share your final recipe. JonMay 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm #1985613
The big cookless starch-off took place shortly after dawn this morning. The contenders: instant quinoa flakes, instant pre-cooked rice, bean threads (cellophane noodles), and ramen. Each was placed into cold water and tested at 10', 20' and 30' by itself and with some coconut milk-based red curry sauce.
The quinoa reconstitutes within 10' into something that's edible but doesn't have great texture (whole quinoa, cooked, would be much nicer). It went better with the curry than I expected it might, but didn't really add anything to it. Still, it's good nutritionally, so I'm not ruling it out entirely.
The instant pre-cooked rice was still a little crunchy at 10'. By 20', there were only a few residual crunchy bits, and by 30', it was pretty well hydrated. With the curry, it provided some reasonable texture. Didn't really provide much flavor, but this is a reasonable cookless partner for the curry. Pretty useless nutritionally, but at least it's some carbs.
My high hopes for the bean threads were dashed at the first data point. At 10', it was not possible to bite through them at all, and at 20', they still could not be chewed. By 2 hours, they became edible, if distinctly chewy, and even at 6 hours, this hadn't changed. They had very little flavor of their own.
Ramen (thanks to Sarah's suggestion!) emerged as the clear winner. As others have pointed out, it's already cooked, and can be eaten right out of the package without cooking or rehydrating at all. At 10', it had a slight but not unpleasant crunch. By 20', it was pretty well rehydrated. The flavor worked reasonably well with the curry.
Ramen also seems pretty reasonable in terms of packaging (wrt trash and compactness) if one gets the plastic-wrapped kind without a bowl. Of the 3.1 oz package weight, only 0.2 oz is the (gross) flavor pack, so in my mind, it's a toss-up as to whether to open the package and remove the flavor pack in advance, or just to carry the unopened package and bring the flavor pack back as trash. Some have suggested crushing the ramen to reduce volume, but it's not clear to me that's going to have much of an effect. You'd have to crush it pretty finely to get the volume much lower than the "brillo pad" of noodles.
Thanks to Sarah and all for suggestions.
PS – I may still try couscous, but even if it's hydrated, it's still uncooked, so maybe not so great nutritionally?May 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm #1985618
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"The quinoa reconstitutes within 10' into something that's edible but doesn't have great texture (whole quinoa, cooked, would be much nicer)."
William, I have used quinoa flakes, but I think they work best for me in a batter that calls for quinoa flakes. I just made a batch of quinoa cookies this way last night. My package of quinoa flakes says that they ought to be cooked for 90 seconds. Maybe that is a texture thing.
As a backpacking meal ingredient, I prefer quinoa a little differently. At home I cook the raw quinoa, then dehydrate it overnight until I get hard little tan nuggets to carry along. When in the field, I can simmer those nuggets slightly with soup base or anything else, and that becomes one of my standard evening meals. For breakfast, I can simmer it with some f.d. fruit.
Quinoa has complete protein, and that is a little unusual in the vegetable/plant world. Otherwise, I treat it like rice.
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