I was making dinner the other week, when my friend Wendy (if you’re ever in West Annapolis, stop on by her chic women’s boutique, wrabyn) popped on by for pre-dinner drinks.
“What are you making?” she asked.
“I’m sorry, it’s a very gluten-full meal,” I said apologetically. Years back, when I was still living in California, my cousin graduated from pharmacy school at UCSF, and my family drove up north to attend her graduation. Afterwards, she took us to this Vietnamese restaurant, Thanh Long. All I remembered from that meal were those garlic noodles! Seriously addicting. For dinner that night Wendy stopped by, I was making a copycat recipe of that famous dish. But oh, I felt bad for my dear friend, who has gluten intolerance issues and has to avoid all things wheat – and this included the noodles, Maggi soy sauce, and oyster sauce in the recipe – basically everything I was cooking with.
“Send me the recipe!” she said.
I gave her a look and replied, “Yeah, right, you can’t even have most of the things in there!”
So this week, I made Wendy a gluten-free batch, to make up for the other dinner. I used gluten-free ingredients, like brown rice pasta, tamari (which is a wheat-free soy sauce), along with butter, Parmesan, and lots of garlic. And I totally succeeded. I love cooking for my friends and family, so making up these recipes for restricted diets is like solving a riddle, which I LOVE! (Nerd alert). Just don’t expect me to make a meal when the room full of guests wants vegan+gluten-free+fat-free+salt=free+sugar-free. I just might lose it.
Wendy, this is for you!
Gluten-Free Vietnamese Garlic Noodles
serves about 6
1 lb brown rice spaghetti (or linguine) pasta, boiled and drained according to package directions
1/3 cup unsalted butter
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup tamari
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup freshly chopped mixed herbs (I use green onion and cilantro)
optional, to garnish: additional Parmesan cheese, herbs, and black pepper
In a large saute pan over medium-low heat, add the butter and heat until melted. Add the garlic for about 1 minute, stirring until the garlic is fragrant. Add the pasta; toss to combine. Mix together the tamari, black pepper, and sugar in a small bowl; add the mixture in to the spaghetti noodles. Turn off heat, and toss in Parmesan and herbs. Garnish as desired, and serve.