16 December 2010

Double Take: Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce

What is it about me and procrastination with these recipes? Once I get out of the habit of making things early, it is very difficult to get back on track. With a Christmas trip coming up, I’ve really got to get back in the swing of things! I’ll be missing two Thursdays, which means things must be made in advance! I had great plans to make today’s recipe and next week’s recipe on Tuesday, but I got lazy. So that put me back to scrambling to make today’s post last night. And next week’s will just have to wait. (Maybe Sunday lunch?)

I can’t put a point on when or how it started, but I love Asian food. Since I’ve moved to Germany I have come to realize that I love Americanized Asian food… not so much German Asian food. Believe me, there is a difference. Of course, I’d rather eat German Asian food than German cafeteria food, so I end up ordering German Asian food whenever I don’t have food for lunch at work (which is surprisingly not that often). Bender likes my other food more, so when I cook Asian food at home, it’s just for me. Hence why this recipe easily fell by the wayside Tuesday night when I decided to spend time with Bender rather than cook after dinner.

You'll find Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce on page 282 of the all-new ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. This recipe is quick, easy, and simple. A nice meatless main, it still has enough fat and protein (from coconut milk and peanut butter) to keep you feeling full throughout the day. I’m a big believer in cold leftover Asian food for breakfast, and these noodles fit the bill. Unfortunately, the recipe is not online so I cannot provide it, but I’ll do my best to give you a good feel for them.

Cold, crunchy breakfast noodles. 

Trim and blanch your preferred amount of snow peas (to serve four). Set aside. Cook half a pound of noodles according to the package directions (preferably wide, bean or rice is fine). Combine, in a small saucepan, a good amount of coconut milk, a little less crunchy peanut butter, an equal amount of vegetable broth, a generous amount of soy sauce (the saltier the soy sauce, the more flavor your dish will have), a little less lime juice (I used two hard limes), a bit of garlic (I used powder), a little bit of sugar, and a bit of crushed red pepper flakes (judge this on how hot your pepper flakes are... I needed to reduce what the recipe called for and I like hot food!). If you are feeling adventurous, go ahead and add a teaspoon of tamarind paste and a half teaspoon of fish sauce to give it that extra zing. Cook sauce over medium-low heat until thoroughly warmed and the peanut butter has melted. Combine the noodles and sauce with your preferred amount of bean sprouts, your reserved snow peas, and a LOT of fresh basil. Serve with extra sprouts, limes, and chopped dry-roasted peanuts. Enjoy for breakfast or lunch.

Noodles and snow peas ready for the sauce.

Wow this dish is crunchy. The bean sprouts and the snow peas really stand out and crunch the whole way through. While the noodles and sauce don’t pair perfectly with coffee, the sauce gives you quite a punch to wake you up in the morning. Unlike the cashew noodles I posted earlier, the garlic is not powerful enough to clear a 10 foot radius around you, so go for that dish instead if you are feeling particularly anti-social. A cup of coffee will easily drown out the garlic from these Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce.

Heated noodles with a tomato addition. 

And then I tried it heated for lunch. And all the flavor disappeared. Huh? A sauce that was flavorful with a hint of salt followed by sour completely mellowed out after being heated in the microwave and just faded into the background. Lesson learned. These noodles are best served cold! (I did add tomatoes at lunch too, so perhaps the juices from them cancelled out the flavors in the sauce? Seems like a bit of a stretch to me, but maybe.)

To take this dish up that one extra notch, use Thai basil instead of the usual Italian basil. The Thai basil has a slightly different flavor that I am sure you will love.

All mixed up... (don't know what to do)

An-easy-make-ahead-lunch-to-make-occasionally-but-best-served-cold: 1 vote
Are-you-kidding?-I’m-not-trying-that: 1 vote

To see Tabitha's take on Thai Noodles with Peanut Sauce, head on over to Double the Garlic

PS: Please forgive the picture quality. All photos were taken at work and therefore with my phone rather than my beautiful SLR.

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