Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thai Pasta Salad

Cooking Asian-flavored foods was always a daunting and scary task to me. Choosing the correct cut of meat, then having to slice it ever so thinly, frying it with the sauce but not making it soggy..... blah. All those steps equaled lame intimidation.

Lately I've been finding some easier recipes that don't require a huge wok, 2 lbs of oil, and cornstarch-based sauces. Many of them in fact consist of a little soy sauce, little fish sauce, little brown sugar, some lime juice, little cilantro, some bean sprouts, etc (these tend to be common Thai food flavors, fyi) but I'm finding it to be much easier, tastier, and well, somewhat healthier.

Both my husband and I are crazy addicts to Pei Wei (the "fast food" version of PF Changs)- so when both of us feel the need for our greasy, "Chinese"-flavored foods, we go and pathetically order the two same dishes each time: Pei Wei spicy beef and orange peel veggies and tofu served with brown rice. We dig in, share our two dishes, scarf each granule of rice and slurp up any remaining juices from the meat or sauce.....and then of course, we're like teenage girls at Cafe Rio who stuff handfuls of Cinnamon mints into their purses-- we take a few fortune cookies each and spend the car ride home laughing over our future predictions.

Anywho. I'm babbling and this all has no point to it-- what I'm attempting to spit out is that I'm enjoying the Thai food creations which I find to be some of the easiest of the Asian foods, and this specific recipe comes from my mom's LDS ward cookbook, the Monument Park 15th to be exact, and it is a keeper!! I overcooked my noodles which was unfortunate, so they were a bit floppy and beyond al dente.... but everything else was hmmm hmmmm tummy good.

Thai Pasta Salad

1 package (box) of Farfalle pasta* (cooked and drained, but not rinsed)
1 hothouse (English) cucumber, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced (I used two bell peppers, any colors work)
1 bag spinach
1 cup dry roasted peanuts (I used honey roasted... hmm:))

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece ginger root**
2/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/2 cup mayo (low fat worked just fine)
1/2 can unsweetened coconut milk (lite also worked fine- be sure to shake the can before opening!!)
1/2 cup water
2 to 3 tsp chili garlic sauce (I didn't have this ingredient- omitted)
2 tsp sesame oil
1/3 cup brown sugar

From the garlic on down to the brown sugar, mix all those ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Meanwhile, toss the pasta, veggies and 2/3 cup of peanuts in a large bowl. Pour dressing over and toss again. Garnish with remaining peanuts.

If you aren't making this recipe for a crowd, you may want to consider halving or fourth-ing it because seriously, it makes enough to feed the Philadelphia police force.

And of course, you could always add some grilled chicken or freshly sauteed shrimp.


*I had whole wheat egg noodles on hand and used those instead, but I think the farfalle are prettier for this..
**I'll buy a honking big piece of fresh ginger every couple months, peel it, and store it in a baggie in the freezer until a recipe calls for it. It keeps it fresh and free from rotting.

1 comment:

Emaline said...

Okay Kate you are hired! This looks so good! I love Thai food! I have become an ueber sushi fan too since coming back from the mish!I still remember that the first thing you did when transfering to Dahlem and we were at the train station was you bought sushi! Everytime I eat it now I think "Sister Cannon wasn't crazy for eating this stuff . . it's awesome!)