Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Aromatic Noodles with Asian inspired peanut sauce

I am on a Cilantro kick at the moment and I can't decide if that is because of Cinco De Mayo or what. So until my fascination with this great fresh tasting herb passes you may just have to learn a new appreciation for its versatility. This recipe was inspired by one from Gourmet magazine I wrote down ages ago and have been making my own variations ever since. It is quick and surprisingly simple despite what might look like a lot of ingredients. This is a perfect recipe if you are craving Thai food.

Aromatic Noodles
with an Asian inspired peanut sauce

12 oz. Soba noodles (whole wheat angel hair would work too)
2 c. broccoli florets
2 c. snow peas
2 c. sugar peas
2 whole green onions
2-4 garlic cloves finely chopped
½ c. bean sprouts
½ c. all natural creamy peanut butter
½ c. unsalted peanuts
¼ c. low sodium soy sauce
2 tbl rice wine vinegar
2 tbl fresh lime juice (about two small limes)
2 tbl organic raw sugar (brown sugar or agave syrup would also work)
Fresh ginger peeled and finely grated
Small bunch of fresh cilantro roughly chopped
Drizzle of toasted sesame oil (you could also use extra virgin olive oil)

1. Cook the noodles in a large pot of water according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cool water.
2. While the noodles are cooking steam the broccoli florets until vivid green about 3 min. Then add the peas and continue to steam all the veggies for about 2 more min until peas are bright green and tender.
3. Toast the peanuts in a dry pan over a medium heat until they become fragrant, about 3 minutes. Pour them into a bowl and let cool.
4. The make the base for the sauce drizzle the pan with a small amount of toasted sesame oil and gently sauté the garlic, green onion, and ginger for just a few minutes until fragrant. Add the soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, lime juice, and peanut butter. Heat through stirring continuously; if it is too thick add a few tablespoons of hot water.
5. Right before serving toss the noodles with about ½ the peanut sauce and a small amount of the chopped cilantro. Top with steamed veggies, raw bean sprouts, and roasted peanuts (they can be whole or slightly chopped). Drizzle with remaining sauce and garnish with the remaining cilantro (to taste).

This is a really great dish as is but you can also add chilies to it for a little kick. Just add a seeded, chopped chili of whatever heat you like to the pan while sautéing the garlic in step 4. You could also used red pepper flakes for a quick addition. You could also make more sauce (or save any you have left over) for a few days in the fridge if you wanted to try it with chicken sate or on more noodles later in the week for a quick lunch.

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