Boy, that was fun. Last Monday I taped a segment for The Queen Latifah Show that involved food, the Queen, Curtis Stone and two other wonderful bloggers, Daniela Galarza of Los Angeles magazine and LAist food writer/TV personality, Krista Simmons (she was a judge on season 4 of Top Chef Masters). The challenge was to make a dish with a citrus theme, as Stone’s new seasonally focused Beverly Hills restaurant, Maude, is offering all sorts of citrus delights this month. The bigger challenge was that I had to make this dish during my Cosmopolitan Grammys assignment and in the kitchen of my friend’s apartment, where I was crashing all weekend.
I freaked out.
Then my mom put it all in perspective: My favorite dish growing up was, in fact, lemon-themed. Yes! I decided to make lemon rice sticks, a traditional South Indian noodle dish that incorporates turmeric, chilies and cilantro. It’s incredibly easy, which would help with my short-on-time conundrum, and represents my culture.
Here’s a video clip from the segment:
Stone awarded Daniela first place for her layered chocolate cake with blood orange marmalade. But as it turned out, we all won! And the prize is a mighty good one: dinner for two at Maude! Us bloggers tried each other’s dishes after the show, and I could understand why we all got snaps. Krista and Daniela’s dishes were amazing, and I’m not saying that just because they were also gracious, sweet and fun to work with. Those ladies are talented, and I was thrilled to
compete be in such great company.
The whole experience was amazing. I’ve done TV in the past, even biggies like the Today show, but I’ve always gone on camera on behalf of another brand or company. It was truly exhilarating to be on stage representing a blog that I put so much thought, care and love into. Hopefully there’s more to come!
Here are a few snaps from the day along with my recipe for the lemon rice sticks:
Lemon Rice Sticks
1 lb. rice sticks*
3 tbsp + 1 tsp vegetable oil
3 tsp salt, plus more for taste
1 tsp mustard seeds
¼ cup chana dal*
¼ cup urad dal*
6 medium green chilies, minced**
¾ tsp turmeric
½-1 cup unsalted, shelled peanuts*** (garnish)
¾ cup lemon (or lime) juice
½ cup cilantro, chopped (garnish)
* rice sticks can be found in Asian grocery stores or in the Asian section of your local supermarket; chana dal and urad dal can be found at Indian and Middle Eastern grocery stores
** more or less depending on your spice threshold and the spice of the chilies
*** cashews are a great substitute for those with peanut allergies
- One rice sticks package comes in bundles of three noodles. One at a time, place a bundle in a large pot, pour enough water to almost cover the bundle and add 1 tsp salt. Cook on medium-high heat and stir occasionally with fork for 3-5 minutes until cooked. Be careful not to overcook!
- Drain noodles in colander and place in a second large pot to cool. Cook remaining two bundles following the same steps.
- While noodles are cooling, heat a non-stick pan or cast-iron skillet with 3 tbsp of oil and mustard seeds on medium-high heat.
- Once seeds begin popping, reduce heat to medium and add chana dal.
- Stir 1-2 minutes and then add urad dal.
- Stir 1-2 minutes and then add minced chilies. (At this stage you may start coughing from the spices. Open a window or turn on the exhaust.)
- When the chana and urad dals are nearly golden brown, add turmeric and stir well. Pour contents into a bowl.
- With the heat still on, pour 1 tsp of oil and peanuts into pan. Cook until golden brown. Cook 3-5 minutes and stir frequently so as not to burn peanuts. (Cook for less time if using already roasted peanuts.)
- Reserve a small handful of peanuts on the side and add the rest to the dal mixture.
- Pour dal-peanut mixture, lemon juice and ¼ cup cilantro on noodles. Mix well with fork, being careful not to break the noodles too much. (My bare hands work best for me!) Adjust salt to taste.
- Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup cilantro and small handful of peanuts on top of rice sticks. Serve warm.
Optional: Add cooked green peas and/or shredded carrots to the dish.
First and last two photos courtesy of Sony Pictures