Cry For Help

Last fall, I cooked for myself by relying heavily on supplemented ramen; then, having been convinced that ramen was too salty for my well-being, I’ve tried to branch out and develop ramen alternatives. I’ve gotten to the point of having several reliable, convenient, simple, convenient, simple recipes for pseudo-ramen mains.
My principal “carrier” ingredients have been rice, rice noodles, and thin egg noodles; this part is great, easy, and perfectly satisfactory. The solid ingredients are under control, too: peppers, onions, edamame, frozen mixed veggies for added variety. I’ll probably pick up some courgettes too, but I don’t want to buy more fresh veggies than I can prepare and eat within a reasonable interval. And Quorn provides satisfactory pseudo-meat.
The remaining area for refinement involves low-salt, vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free, flavourful, savory sauces. I’ve found a veggie-friendly barbecue sauce, which I use with noodles, veggies, and mince for Alternative A. Our family has an old favorite (known simply as “The Mixture”) of rice and vegetables without specific extra seasoning for Alternative B. I’d like to be able to pull a curry paste off the shelf and mix it with, say, tomato sauce or coconut milk for a curry version of my basic repertoire, but off-the-shelf curry pastes tend to incorporate fish paste or shrimp paste. And many teriyaki or sweet-and-sour sauces are too salty, or not-gluten-free, which complicates things further. If I can find a fish-free curry paste or learn to whip up a reliable curry sauce quickly, and if I can find or develop a low-salt teriyaki alternative, I’ll be well satisfied. But I’m still working on these.

12 thoughts on “Cry For Help

  1. vegetarian curry paste
    1 onion, chopped
    1 tsp minced ginger
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp poppy seeds
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp coriander powder
    1 tsp garam masala
    1/2 t chilli powder
    1 T tomato puree
    1 tsp lime juice
    you can add garlic

    cumin and poppy get toasted
    onion and ginger get lightly browned
    tomato goes in second to last, lime juice last.

    make 3x as much and store it in the fridge in a tight jar.

    and google ‘fake teriyaki’ for

  2. Do you like Italian-style food?

    If so, you can saute a chopped onion and some garlic in a small amount of olive oil (2 teaspoons or so), add a can of chopped tomatoes (425 g), 1 teaspoon each of dried basil and oregano, a bay leaf and 1-2 teaspoons low salt vegetable stock powder (I can buy a gluten free version of this here, but brand won’t help you) and a can (about 425 g) of lentils or kidney beans, drained and rinsed and pepper to taste. You can also add a small amount of dried chilli flakes if you wish. Simmer while you heat the water and cook some suitable pasta. Serve over pasta, with a little grated parmesan cheese if that fits your dietary requirements. You can also add black olives and/or 1 tabs red wine vinegar plus 1 teasp sugar.

    This probably makes 3 or 4 servings of sauce unless you are really hungry and freezes well in single serve containers which you can defrost during the day if you are that organised, or defrost and reheat in the microwave if you’re not. You can serve with vegetables or salad on the side, or add the vegetables to the sauce.

    I know, not curry, but otherwise meets your descriptors, I think?

  3. Here’s a “two-fer”:

    African Stew:

    -Sauteed onion & garlic
    -A can of “Rotel” (tomatoes & peppers) — may not be available in the UK. If not, some diced tomatoes (fresh or canned) and a diced hot pepper.
    -A can of chickpeas (garbanzos)
    -Some greens (frozen spinach is fine, or fresh whatever you have)
    -A diced sweet potato (or not, it is up to you)
    -Some vegetable bouillion

    Cook until the sweet potato is soft. Add:

    -A tablespoon of the best curry powder you can find
    -A big spoonful of peanut butter (stir in until it melts)

    Serve over brown rice.

    The last three ingredients (veggie boullion, peanut butter, & curry powder) make a surprisingly tasty curry sauce for other things, too — you can add a little soy sauce to it if you wish, but be careful of the sodium content.

  4. Of course, if you aren’t a fan of “hot” foods, you might want to use less curry powder.

  5. you can get mixed curry spices in the supermarket, that you can use instead of curry pastes. they’re easier to juggle with dietary restrictions.

    i’ll send you some recipes next week also =]

  6. What a bounty of helpful recipes! Thank you all very much!

    (Now, if only I hadn’t forgotten to pick up coriander on the way home.)

  7. Block creamed coconut + tomato puree will give you the low-salt basis of a curry sauce to which you can add the spices you want. If you want a more expensive but tasty sauce from a jar, Seeds of Change do an organic range with many many vegetarian options. Good for the evenings you come in exhausted.

  8. There is always ‘fridge pasta sauce’ too. Take a tin of chopped tomatoes – add all the veggies you want to dispose of, cook, blitz with a stick liquidiser, split into portions, freeze and hey presto, pasta sauce for exhausted nights.

  9. Of course these go just as well with rice noodles or whatever else is not off limits.

  10. Instead of a curry paste you could just whip up a no cook curry sauce. It’s easy peasy all you need is

    I can of toms
    A couple of desert spoons of oil ( olive or veg)
    Curry powder

    Put some oil in a blender ( about two tablespoon worth)
    add some curry powder ( toy your own taste) leave for about half an hour
    Then add the toms and whiz all together. Sauce made! Feel free to add more curry in needed.


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