Thai-Style Noodles – Kame™ Brand
When I buy pre-made noodles, they are pretty much exclusively of the dried variety. I have, a few times, bought some packaged ‘meal-in-box’ preparations, commercially made Pad Thai and the like, for example, where the noodles came pre-cooked and vacuum-packed along with little packs of seasonings and sauces for a quick and dirty snack. None, so far, have ever been worthy of trying a second time.
The other day, I came across the noodles you see pictured above. The package suggests (urges) you to cook them with Kame™ sauces for a quick meal (and presumably these proprietary concoctions are available for sale somewhere), but these noodles, already pre-cooked and ready for the wok, come naked and alone. I figured I would give them a test-drive and see if perhaps they might be something worth having at the back of the store-cupboard for emergency, last-minute noodle fixes…
The package from the shelf contains two vacuum-sealed plastic bags with a serving of noodles each. I have opened one and ‘fluffed’ up the contents and you can see that the content is fairly generous. The instructions on the outside pouch simply direct you to stir-fry meat or vegetables and then add the noodles (along with a little Kame stir-fry sauce). Even without additions, one package would make a fairly filling snack but, along with some slices of beef, onion, celery and the like, light-eaters, like my wife and I, could probably get a pretty decent little snack without opening the second bag of noodles.
Here, you can see the ingredient list. I tasted the noodles right out of the bag and I found them just a little dry and friable, although not to the degree that any blanching or soaking would be necessary to refresh them. They are packed in a light film of oil (the rice bran oil perhaps?) and, though this is generally neutral in aroma and taste, I thought I detected a slight hint of oxidation. Not to the point of rancidity, by any means, but definitely past the peak of freshness. Accordingly, I gave the noodles a rinse with hot tap water before use.
The taste, as one would expect from the ingredient list was a little bland and starchy. These are not, by any stretch of the imagination, the equivalent of fresh, homemade noodles made from choice ingredients but, to be fair, they weren’t all that bad and they are designed, after all, to be cooked with other ingredients and so the proof will be in the final ‘pudding’, as it were…
Since my wife and I were hungry, and I was cooking a single course, I used both noodle packages and stir fried them up with some pork, bok choy, scallions, ginger, garlic, red bell pepper slivers and sliced black mushroom. For a sauce, I mixed together some Sichuan Chili bean paste with soy, a little rice wine, vinegar and sesame oil, and then added this at the same time I added the noodles.
In all, it was a pretty decent meal and my wife had two helpings (I saved some for lunch the following day). The noodles were actually pretty decent and the addition of the sauce gave them a bit more of the proper ‘al-dente’ quality they lacked coming straight out of the bag. They aren’t, as I noted, anything like homemade but, to be honest, I only make noodles or pasta from hand very occasionally. My verdict is that I think these are a worthwhile product to have on hand for the quick, last minute sort of meal you throw together with whatever happens to be on hand. My wife would certainly find them useful when I am travelling and I think I will purchase them again.