sick day sweet potato noodles
There are many reasons why I am grateful for and consistently smitten with food. It heals, it nourishes, it enlivens life and brings people together. But for me, one of the most magical aspects of food is how deeply rooted it is in our memories, in our family traditions, in those moments buried in our brains that suddenly burst forth so vividly with a single smell, texture, or taste. What can I say? I'm a sucker for nostalgia.
This dish was inspired by an incredibly humble and simple dish that my dad used to make me and my brothers on dreary days when we were sick or crabby, needing a nap and some coziness. Long before we were aware of my gluten allergy and other things, the dish consisted of spaghetti noodles cooked with chicken bouillon and loads of melted, creamy butter, then sprinkled artfully and generously with a very particular brand of seasoned salt. I’ve updated it to fit my nutrition needs and grown-up palette, smothering sweet potato noodles in browned butter and my own homemade spice mix, which is void of any scary artificial chemicals or binders. It is the perfect dish to make for lunch on a lazy weekend day, and transports me back to being snuggled on the couch under layers of blankets, watching the rain fall gently out the window and letting my imagination fly.
“There is something evanescent, temporary and fragile about food. You make it, it goes, and what remains are memories.” –Jaques Pepin
• 2 tbsp. kosher salt
• 2 tsp. coconut palm sugar
• 1 tsp. smoked paprika
• 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
• 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
• 1/4 tsp. onion powder
• 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
• 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes (about 1/2 lb), made into noodles using a spiralizer
• 2-3 tbsp. good quality butter, preferably organic
• 1 tbsp. coconut oil, or other high-heat oil, for frying
Combine salt, coconut palm sugar, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl, and set aside.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, swirling gently every so often, until butter begins to bubble and foam. Continue to cook, swirling or stirring gently, until butter turns a light-medium brown and begins to smell nutty and fragrant. Immediately remove from heat and set aside.
In a large frying pan or wok, heat the coconut oil on high-heat until sizzling. Add the sweet potato noodles and a few pinches of the spice mix, and fry until they begin to soften slightly, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-high, cover pan with a lid, and let the noodles steam to soften even more, about 2-3 minutes. Remove lid and allow liquid to evaporate as your noodles finish cooking. They should be soft but not mushy.
Mound noodles onto a plate or shallow bowl, and spoon over your preferred amount of brown butter. Top noodles with a generous sprinkle of the seasoned salt, and chopped fresh herbs if you’re feeling fancy. Wrap yourself in a blanket and eat immediately. Serves 2 (or 1 very hungry person).