Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thai Peanutty Noodles

The first time I ever went out for Thai food was the first (AND LAST) time I came down with a case of the drinking flu. Long after college, after a failed attempt to go to West Virginia and go skiing, a few friends consoled ourselves by having a fun night at our apartment filled with peppermint patty shots.  You know what I'm talking about right?  Pour some Hershey's syrup in your mouth and chase it with Peppermint Schnapps.  Anyway, later the next day, when I was able to eat again, we went out for Thai.  Perhaps it was because it was the first thing I ate all day, or maybe it was just because it is amazingly delicious, but I was a convert of the flavors right away.

By far my favorite dish is Pad Thai, and this recipe is the closest I've ever come to recreating the flavors of that first experience.  (The good flavors/experience...not that bad one.... )

Thai Peanutty Noodles
Adapted from: All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook, 2006.  Pg. 280.

1 pound uncooked rice noodles
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 Tablespoon Canola oil
2 teaspoons grated, peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup chicken broth (feel free to use lower sodium)
1/2 cup natural style unsweetened peanut butter (ex: Smucker's)
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (I use GF Tamari) 
3 Tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon Sriracha Sauce (This particular brand
                                            MAY be contaminated with Gluten but it works for me) 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut in strips or bite-sized chunks
Cooking Spray
2 cups red bell pepper strips
1 pound snow peas or sugar snap peas (I like the sugar snap better.)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1/4 cup chopped green onions

      Cook the noodles according to the directions (minus any salt or fat), drain, and set aside.
      Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet with high sides (so you can fit lots in later!) on medium heat.  Add in ginger, minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so.  Add in chicken broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, chili garlic sauce, and salt  and stir until it's blended.  Add in your cut up chicken, cover and simmer over low--ish heat until the chicken is cooked through.  If you have room in your pan add in your veggies--carrot strips, peppers, & peas--and cook until they are still slightly crisp but not raw.  (Or you can cook them to death like my Grandmother does....your choice!) If you don't have room in your pan, then just saute the veggies in a separate pan and mix in later.

Mix in the cooked and drained rice noodles and you're good to go!

Serve topped with crushed peanuts, cilantro, and green onions.   Yum yum yum! 

Feel free to play around with this one.  Take out the chicken, use veggie broth instead and it's vegetarian/vegan.  Mix and match your stir-fry veggies all you want. You could use shrimp instead if you're a seafood fan!  Experiment and make it your own!

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