Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Thai Vegetable-Peanut Noodles

It's no secret that our (very Caucasian) family loves the flavours of Asian cuisine. Our favourites vary from the Westernized versions of sushi and Chinese food (my stepdad) to relatively spartan noodles, chicken and broccoli with soy sauce (my sister), to my favourite Japanese maki and salads and my mom's passion for Thai fare. Generally, the closer the meal is to the "authentic" cultural way of eating, the simpler it is - and the philosophy of balance reigns. 

Nowhere is this idea more important than in the stir-fry. Take these Thai Vegetable-Peanut Noodles - a medley of textures, colours and flavours, none of which overpowers the other. The simple act of tossing the vegetables and pre-cooked noodles in a wok and dressing with a pantry-made sauce is hidden by the kaleidoscope of tastes each mouthful exudes. Because of this basic but effective cooking method, it's possible to bring any amount or type of produce, protein and noodle to the party, allowing the resulting dish to take on a new life each time you make it. During a particularly lean week (say, the last few days before payday), chop up a 99-cent block of tofu and saute it first (like any meat), or eschew the added protein and revel in the peanut-egg sauce, noodle and bulky vegetables' satiating power. Got a raise at work? Splurge on organic chicken breast, sustainable shrimp or lump crab meat and use cashew butter (and nuts) instead of the peanuts.

My mom's favourite version of these noodles was inspired by Robin Miller's The Newlywed Cookbook. Like most families, the stir fry is the perfect excuse to add all the veggies "beginning to die" in the house, and our family loves our veggies so we add almost the whole farm to our bowls! Bridging off of the original recipe, mom really amped up the flavour of the sweet-spicy sauce with lots of Sriracha, Thai curry paste and extra peanut butter. The mixture is then beaten with eggs and added in the last few moments just to cloak the brown rice noodles and vegetables. It freezes, thaws and reheats well too, and I know my mom even took leftovers to work for a cold noodle salad during the hot, humid days we had last week!

Thai Peanut and Vegetable Noodles

Sharing this with Waste Not Want Not Wednesday

Thai Vegetable - Peanut Noodles
Serves 4
1 cup homemade (or low-sodium) vegetable broth (GF if needed)
2 eggs
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp fresh-grated ginger
3 tbsp full-fat creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp Sriracha (or less, to taste... I add more!)
1 tsp green curry paste
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided
1 leek, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 lb carrots, sliced thinly
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, seeded and julienned
1 1/2 lbs green beans, cut into 1" pieces
2 tbsp water
1 (15-oz) can cut baby corn, drained
6 oz brown rice fettuccine or somen noodles, cooked and drained
3 tbsp chopped, roasted peanuts
3 green onions, minced (for serving)
  1. In a measuring cup, whisk together the broth, eggs, soy sauce, ginger, peanut butter, Sriracha, curry paste and 1 tsp of the sesame oil until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Heat remaining sesame oil in a deep skillet or wok over medium high heat.
  3. Add the leek and carrots. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in the garlic, bell pepper, beans and water.
  5. Cover and cook a further 8-10 minutes, until the carrots and beans are tender.
  6. Add the corn, noodles and prepared sauce.
  7. Cook, stirring, until the eggs are done but still soft (about 3 minutes).
  8. Fold in the peanuts and divide between serving bowls.
  9. Garnish with green onions.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 463.0
Total Fat: 16.2 g
Cholesterol: 93.0 mg
Sodium: 912.2 mg
Total Carbs: 63.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 12.7 g
Protein: 14.4 g