Monday, 23 July 2012

A Mexican Fiduea

I'm not sure I really get fiduea, a Spanish paella-type dish but made with pasta. Perhaps I didn't cook it correctly, though I followed the instructions of the recipe perfectly. It came out a bit... claggy. Fried first, as the noodles were simmering in the sauce forks were deployed to pull the noodles apart, as they weren't unravelling themselves. They started to catch, sticking to the bottom of the pan. 

It was a starchy lump, sitting richly in the stomach. But I loved the Mexican flavours of the recipe I tried, so I was determined to make it again. I bastardised the hell out of it. Gone was the initial frying of the pasta in oil, and instead they were given a brief bath in water to release them from their coils. It's not traditional at all, but the flavours seemed more pronounced and it was an altogether lighter dish. 

Mexican Crab Fiduea (adapted from
Mexican Food Made Simple)

Serves 3

200gr angel hair (vermicelli) pasta 

1 small onion, diced 

2 large green chillis, seeds removed and sliced 

1 can of chopped tomatoes 

1 tbsp capers 

Pinch of ground allspice 

1 dressed crab 

To Serve: Sour cream, a handful of coriander and wedges of lime, plus 3 tbsp sweet chipotle paste 

Sweet Chipotle Paste:  

5 chipotles in adobo 

3 tbsp brown sugar 

3 cloves of garlic 

Juice and zest of 1 lime 

2 tsp fish sauce

In a large pan with a little oil, fry the onion and the chillis together for 10 minutes on a medium / low heat until soft and transparent. Add the tomatoes, capers and allspice plus the salt and simmer for 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile make the chipotle paste; smash the garlic in a pestle and mortar with the lime zest and juice, then add the sugar and fish sauce incorporating well as you go. 

Boil a large pan of water and add the pasta, unravelling the nests. Drain immediately, reserving a ladleful of pasta water as soon as they unravel.

Add the water to the tomato sauce and bring to the simmer. Add the pasta back in and cook until the noodles are soft. Serve, topping with a hefty tablespoon of crab meat (brown and white. Garnish with the sour cream and coriander and sweet chipotle paste. Serve with lime wedges.  


Anonymous said...

I'd never even heard of this before - a lovely idea as the flavours are just what I love!

Mr Noodles said...

I'm wondering how this might work with Chinese or Asian noodles instead of pasta.

CraigB said...

By coincidence I tried this recipe for the first time last week too. I think you're supposed to start off by frying the pasta nests in oil until crispy brown rather than cooking them in water first. Which not only adds to the taste but might mean they cook differently when added to the tomato mixture.

Hollow Legs said...

Mr Noodles - I wondered that too.

Craig B - Sorry, I wasn't clear in the narrative; I did do that, but they still came out rather claggy. Was it the same for you?

Dan said...

Beautiful picture. Really liking that plate as well.

Gene said...

One of my first jobs was washing dishes in a Mexican restaurant and I remember that the pasta was indeed browned at the beginning of the dish, but theirs was also over-cooked and kinda slimy - never liked it, went for the rice instead, but they never added crab and the picture of your final dish looks much better than what they had! Looks yummy!!

CraigB said...

Seemed to work ok for me - I didn't really have any issues with the nests not unravelling. I think mine was a bit of a darker shade than yours though I'm not sure if that's to do with cooking the noodles further (I came close to burning some of them) or just a more intense tomato sauce.

I'd probably agree that it's a bit stodgy but then it's big pile of pasta in a tomato sauce.