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March 07, 2013

Use Your Noodle

Somen Noodles with Thai Peanut Sauce
In 2002, archeologists unearthed a clay pot, which after thorough examination and carbon dating revealed its contents--noodles. They were able to link the pottery to China, but that wasn't the real surprise. The real shocker was that the noodles were 4,000 years old!

Coming across this bit of history made me think about my own pantry where I have boxes upon boxes of noodles tucked away. Why not, right? When they're on sale, it's easy to pick up an assortment and they're quick to fix, delicious and really satisfying.

Mr. B loves his noodles, especially in a big bowl of steaming broth. He also has a fondness for angel hair pasta dressed with garlic, olive oil, cheese and parsley. Me? I'm a sucker for Asian style cold noodles, especially in the summertime. My favorite are done Japanese style with a soy based dipping sauce, but I can really get into a big bowl of spicy Chinese style peanut noodles. In March, though, with the floor furnace cranked up, my body wrapped in multiple layers of sweaters and my feet in thick socks, I just can't seem to get excited about cold noodles.

The other day, I wanted a big bowl of spicy noodles, so I decided to play around and I came up with this Thai style noodle dish.  The sauce is so good you could dip your entire fist in the bowl and happily suck away at your knuckles. But, I decided that was a bit too much, even if I was dining alone. So I sorted through my noodle stash and came across a box of Somen noodles. The sauce was just as good on the noodles as it was on my knuckles and I enjoyed my lunch. Right next to the floor furnace.

Spicy Thai Style Peanut Noodles

*I like spicy, so if you don't, back off the jalapenos and Sriracha™.

1 package Somen noodles (or Soba or thin spaghetti), cooked and drained

1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/8 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
Sriracha™, to taste
1 lime, juiced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/3 cup fresh basil (Thai if you can find it)
3 fresh jalapeno peppers
1 small handful of fresh mint leaves

1. In a food processor, process cilantro, basil, mint and jalapeno peppers until finely minced.
2. Add peanut butter and coconut milk and process until incorporated.
3. Add soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice and Sriracha™to taste.
4. Generously pour over warm noodles and toss to coat.
5. Serve with additional Sriracha™and chopped cilantro.

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