Cold Sesame Noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce

Cold Sesame Noodles in Peanut Sauce

Warm weather meals and entertaining call for easy, make-ahead dishes that are light and tasty. I came across this recipe on the holidaykitchen.tv YouTube channel and made a few changes to suit our tastes. It is a good alternative to regular pasta salad as it doesn’t have any mayonnaise.

PS: Did you know that noodles are symbolic of longevity in China? It is considered inauspicious to cut a strand, and is traditionally served in as long a piece (strand?) as possible, especially on New Year’s Day.

Cold Sesame Noodles in Spicy Peanut Sauce

Cold Sesame Noodles in Peanut Sauce

(Serves 3-4)

  • 2 scallions / green onions
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (strongly recommend using this as it gives a fantastic flavor, but feel free to substitute)
  • 1 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1 tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp (or to taste) red chilli flakes
  • Hot sauce (Sriracha / chilli-garlic sauce) to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6-8 oz of dry long pasta (spaghetti / angel hair / chinese noodles)
  • 1 cup broccoli florets (lightly salted & steamed & drained well) – optional
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots – optional
  • 1/2 cup shredded chicken / steamed shrimp (optional)
  • 1/3 cup peeled, seeded & finely chopped cucumber – optional
  • cilantro, crushed roasted peanut, toasted sesame seeds for topping

1) Cook the noodles according to package directions. Rinse in cold water and drain completely. Allow to cool completely.

2) Add all ingredients to a small blender jar and process till smooth & creamy.

3) Toss with cold noodles, broccoli & carrots, and chicken/shrimp (if using) and set aside for an hour or two for all the flavors to meld.

4) Divide into serving bowls and top with chopped cucumber, crushed peanuts, a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds & cilantro.

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Chilli Mushroom

Chilli Mushroom

According to Reader’s Digest, ‘Mushrooms are rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals, and eating them regularly has been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer in studies of Chinese and Korean women. Mushrooms also prevent prostate cancer cells from multiplying in mice — and might do the same in men.’ A link on the USDA website cites mushrooms as a rich source of Vitamin D. Plus, they are low in fat and tasty too.

A quick calorie count of the recipe online (based on 5 servings) shows only 78 calories per serving; 28 calories from fat; 5 g protein; and no cholesterol. It is also very high in iron and dietary fiber. If you are watching your sodium intake, reduce the salt or soy sauce amounts.

There are many variations to this Indo-Chinese dish, but the recipe below is very easy to make. Check out this CNN Travel article for an introduction to the entry of Indo-Chinese cuisine to India.

Chilli Mushroom Gravy

(Serves 5-6)

  • 24 oz white button mushrooms (I use a pack from Costco)
  • 3 tsp oil
  • 4 big garlic flakes (chop fine)
  • 1 large onion -about 2 cups (sliced)
  • 5-6 green chillies (slit) – I use about 8 for a spicy kick to the dish
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp white pepper (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp salt – to taste
  • pinch MSG (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp water

1) Clean** and quarter the mushrooms. Set aside.

2) Heat a large, wide pan on medium flame, and add oil.

3) When the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic and saute for a few seconds till it sizzles.

4) Raise flame to medium-high. Add the slit green chillies and saute till they sizzle and pop – this ensures that the flavor of the green chillies are released into the oil. Be careful that they do not splatter onto your hand or face.

5) Add the ginger paste and the onions; saute till light brown.

6) Now, add the mushrooms and 1/2 tsp salt. Saute till it releases moisture & starts to wilt slightly.

7) While mushrooms are cooking, mix the cornstarch & water in a small bowl, making sure there are no lumps; set aside.

8) When mushrooms are ready, add the white pepper, MSG (if using) & soy-sauce, and stir fry for a few more seconds.

9) Pour in the cornstarch mixture and cook for a minute, stirring well to coat the mushrooms. The sauce will change to a darker color when it is cooked.

10) Serve on hot steamed white/brown rice or with quinoa.

**FOR MUSHROOM STORAGE & CLEANING TIPS: http://allrecipes.com/video/11/how-to-clean-mushrooms/detail.aspx

 

Quinoa “Fried Rice”

 

 

 

Quinoa "Fried Rice"

 

 

This dish is so easy to make, and is can be customized with any vegetable and protein of your choice. We’ve had leftovers for brunch and even packed in a lunch box – it holds well for a few hours.

Quinoa “Fried Rice”

(Serves 5-6)

  • 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 block firm tofu – well drained and crumbled; [OR] 1 egg
  • pinch turmeric (optional)
  • 1 small onion (diced fine)
  • 1 red pepper (seeded and diced small)
  • 1 (15oz) can peas & carrot – about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chilli flakes
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)

1) Cook quinoa according to package instructions and cool. Take care not to make the quinoa mushy.

2) In a large wok, heat 1 Tbsp oil on medium heat.

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3) Add tofu and turmeric and stir fry few minutes, stirring well, till dry and cooked. Adding a pinch of turmeric makes the tofu look just like scrambled eggs. Alternately, whisk 1-2 eggs in a small bowl and scramble. Set aside.

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4) In the same wok, heat the other 1 Tbsp of oil and saute the ginger – garlic paste till cooked. Add onions and cook till just starting to get golden.

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5) Add red peppers and chili flakes, and saute two minutes.

 

 

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6) Now add the peas & carrots, scrambled tofu / egg, quinoa, soy sauce and fish sauce. On a medium-high flame, mix well.

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7) Roast till well incorporated and heated through. Serve.