Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls with Peanut Dressing

I’ve been trying to simplify some of my dinner plans ….. as much as I like puttering in the kitchen for a couple of hours after work (what I call kitchen yoga), there are times I just need to make a quick dinner.  This is one of my favourites …. quick, easy, healthy and most of all, absolutely delicious.  You don’t really have to make the peanut dressing to drizzle over, but honestly, isn’t everything better with peanut sauce?

coconut-curry-noodle-bowl

Tonight’s version of this bowl included prawns, mushrooms, snow peas, bok choy and lots of colourful peppers.

PEANUT DRESSING:
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 heaping Tbsp natural salted peanut butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
splash of lime juice
scant 1/4 tsp chili garlic sauce
1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
splash of very hot water (only if too thick)

COCONUT CURRY:
1 tablespoon oil
2 shallots
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons red curry paste
1 14-ounce can regular coconut milk
1 ½ cup reduced sodium chicken or veggie broth
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon hot chili paste (sambal oelek)
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons lime juice (optional)

BOWL: (These are suggestions, use whatever veg you have on hand)

4 ounces rice or egg noodles
1 tablespoon oil
half an onion, chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli florets
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup chopped asparagus
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
sesame seeds & chopped peanuts for topping
limes for serving
a handful of fresh basil & cilantro for serving

I’ve also used snow peas, zucchini, sweet peppers & bean sprouts.

To prepare your peanut sauce combine all ingredients except the hot water, blend well and stir in just enough of the hot water to allow everything to become smooth and creamy.

Preparing the curry sauce is pretty easy.  Heat oil in a sauce pan and stir in shallots and fresh ginger, saute briefly just until translucent and stir i the curry paste.  Fry curry paste for 2-3 minutes, just to allow flavours to wake up.  Stir in the coconut milk, and stock.  Simmer for a few minutes just to allow flavours to get to know each other…… Taste …. if you can handle a bit more heat stir in the hot chili paste.  Remove from heat and add the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce.  Taste again and adjust.  Remember, every brand of these ingredients will have a slightly different profile, and you need to make adjustments for that.  Last thing is to add the lime juice.  It should wake everything up and make you want to keep tasting …..

The method is fairly flexible, saute your veg in a wok with the oil just until crisp tender and set aside.  Alternatively, if you are using egg noodles, once you have removed the egg noodle from the boiling water, plunge the veg in for just 1-2 minutes until crisp tender and remove.

SERVING TIME:

Place noodles in the bottom of your bowl, layer on the veg, and sprinkle with toppings.  Gently pour over the coconut curry.  You can make this as saucy as you like by doubling up the curry sauce if you want more of a soup.  Drizzle over the peanut sauce and enjoy!

Tan Tan Noodles

This has been one of our family favorites for years, and one the girls always request when coming home – I hope you like it just as much!

Cooking with Asian ingredients may look intimidating at first, mainly because the ingredient list is so lengthy, but once you have all the supplies it is quick and easy to do so many different dishes.  I always recommend having all the ingredients chopped, and at hand before you start cooking.  Wok cookery is quick!

 

BROTH

2 tbsp peanut oil

6 tbsp fresh ginger, minced

8 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp chile oil

8 tbsp chinese black beans (in the jar)

6 scallions (green onions) chopped finely

2 tbsp Chinese chile paste

5 tbsp LOW SODIUM soy sauce

6 tbsp peanut butter

4 tbsp tahini paste

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

For Tan Tan deluxe – 1 pound extra lean ground beef

ASSEMBLY

thin asian noodles, cooked and drained

green onions – sliced thin

cilantro – chopped

peanuts – chopped and toasted

bean sprouts – rinsed well

In a medium saucepan, with heavy bottom, heat the oil over moderate heat.  Add the ginger and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes – or until they begin to turn golden brown – watch carefully so they don’t overcook.  Add sesame oil, chili oil and the black beans.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add green onions and cook 2 minutes.  Stir in the chile paste and soy sauce – stir to create a smooth sauce.  Add the peanut butter and tahini, again stirring to create a smooth paste.  Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add the broth slowly and reduce the heat to medium low.  Let the sauce simmer for at least 15 minutes to allow flavours to blend and the broth to thicken.  Taste, taste, taste!!  You should have a rich broth, full of flavour and layers of tastes.  If you like it richer, play  with all the broth ingredients until you get the balance you personally prefer – you may like it spicier so go ahead and add more chili oil or even some chili flakes.  If you like more of a peanut flavour, add more peanut butter – all so easy to do and get your preferred flavour balance.

To serve place noodles in bowl, add broth.  Scatter green onions, cilantro, bean sprouts and peanuts over top.

If you like the Deluxe Version – brown the ground beef and drain off any fat – add 1 or 2 ladles of the broth and allow the beef to soak up the liquid.  When serving, sprinkle the beef on top of the noodles before adding the broth.