Melange of flavours in a bowl


Burst of flavour

The heat is a killer these days. Gosh! I feel like I’ll melt one of these days. Anyway, but that’s really not going to stop me from cooking. I know that staying sane in the kitchen is a Herculean task these days, that’s why I’m always looking out for recipes where I’ve to spend minimum time in the kitchen.
It was one of those Sundays where I was craving something spicy and nutty, I know that’s a weird craving to have, isn’t it? I was leafing through cookbooks wondering what to make when I suddenly thought of this Thai style noodles that I’d had once during a trip to Pune. It was at an Asian restaurant and all I could remember was that the dish had a lot of veggies, noodles, peanuts that gave it the crunch, hints of sweet-spicy-sour sauce. This trip was more than decade ago but I remember exactly how the dish tasted.
I Googled for a couple of recipes but couldn’t find anything I really liked, so finaaally I found this one on food.com. I decided to simplify the dish a little – I cooked the noodles separately (I’ve this wonderful stash of them all the way from China courtesy the father(in-law)!), made the sauce and then added it to the stir fry and later on mixed it with the noodles. We ate this immediately and it was delicious! But I’d a bowl leftover in the fridge and when I took it out to warm it up for dinner, I discovered that the cold version of these noodles weren’t so bad either. More like a salad, my mum said. And I do agree!
Versatile: Works as a salad too!

Noodles with veggies and spicy peanut sauce
200 gms of noodles, cooked as per instructions on the packet
1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and cut into strips
1 green capsicum, de-seeded and cut into strips
1 large onion, sliced thinly
4-5 French beans, cut into diagonal pieces
Oil
Salt to taste
For the peanut sauce
1/3 cup of peanuts, peeled and unsalted
1 big red chilli, remove the stem and break into two pieces
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
½ tsp of brown sugar or jaggery (I used the latter)
1 tsp of light soy sauce
½ tsp of Fish sauce (optional)
2-3 tbsp of water
A small splash of white vinegar
Salt to taste
Grind all the above in the mixie to form a smooth paste, check the seasoning, adjust if required and keep aside.
Heat some oil in a wok and add the onions to this, when they start turning translucent add the carrots, cover and cook for a minute. Now add the beans and cook a little further. Note that the vegetables need to be cooked but crispy, so if you find them sticking to the bottom of the pan then gently sprinkle some water to ease them away. Add the capsicum in the end just when you are about to turn off the flame, adjust seasoning. Now lower the flame and add the peanut sauce to this and sauté until the sauce begins to turn a light brown. This should take a minute or even lesser. Turn off the flame and check the seasoning.
Now add the cooked noodles to the wok and toss well so that it is all covered with the sauce. Serve hot.You can sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds as a garnish and also for extra flavour.

Perfect for a one-bowl meal
  • You can use roasted peanuts for a more pronounced flavour to this dish. And if you’re using the salted variety make sure you adjust the amount of salt later on.
  • I had just these basic veggies at home so that’s what I used for this dish. But you can plan a little ahead and use veggies like broccoli, pok choy or even lettuce (this will complement the crunch of the peanuts). Throw in some chopped button mushrooms or even some strips of chicken to make a full meal.
  • The peanut sauce is quite addictive (don’t say I didn’t warn you!), so you can make some extra and store it in an airtight jar in the freezer. It should last for up to a week. Use it as a spread on bread or even as a salad dressing, look here for some inspiration!

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