This dish requires a bit more work than your average weeknight dinner, but with its gorgeous combination of crunchy vegetables, slippery noodles and heady sauce, no one will ever guess it all started in a jar. PICTURE: Andrew Scrivani/The New York Times
Thai Red Curry Noodles With Vegetables (Serves 4)


For the paste:
1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro leaves and stems (white roots, too, if available)
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 shallot, sliced
1 fresh hot red chilli, seeded and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons prepared Thai red curry paste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer leaves trimmed off, inner leaves finely chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

For the noodles:

3 tablespoons coconut oil
141g sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 3 cups)
6 scallions, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 fresh hot red chili, seeded and thinly sliced

Kosher salt
113g thin dried noodles, such as ramen, egg noodles, rice noodles, etc.
400g can full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce, more to taste
Juice of 1/2 lime, plus more to taste
1 cup sliced red bell pepper
1 cup sliced snow peas or green beans
141g baby bok choy, spinach or tatsoi torn into bite-size pieces
Lime wedges, for garnish
Optional garnishes (use all or any combination of the following): 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes; torn basil, mint, or cilantro leaves; sesame seeds; halved hard-cooked eggs


Prepare the curry paste: In a blender or mini food processor, combine cilantro, garlic, shallot, chilli, red curry, coconut oil, ginger, lemongrass, zest and juice of 1 lime, fish sauce, curry powder, cumin and coriander. 
Blend into a paste, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. If mixture is too thick to blend, add teaspoon or two of water as needed.
In a large skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. 
Stir in mushrooms, half the scallions, garlic, chili and a large pinch of salt. 
Sauté until golden, 10 to 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Stir 1/4 cup curry paste mixture into skillet and cook until fragrant and darkened, 1 to 2 minutes. 
Stir coconut milk into skillet along with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce, and juice of 1/2 lime.
Add red pepper, snow peas and 1/2 teaspoon salt. 
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in bok choy and cook until wilted, 2 to 4 minutes longer.
Fold in noodles, tossing until coated with sauce and heated through. 
Add fish sauce or lime juice to taste, and pass lime wedges at the table. 
Top with remaining scallions and any of the optional garnishes. Serve with lime wedges on the side. 
Store the extra curry paste in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months. 

The New York Times