Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Noodle Salad with Peanut Dressing

A fabulous recipe for a salad the first day, and then warmed up as leftovers the next day. You could actually eat this salad hot anytime. I am surprised at how delicious and more-ish this dish is. I was a little sceptical because of the maple syrup in the dressing, but it actually worked out quite nicely. You couldn't taste maple at all, so you could sub in honey if you didn't have maple syrup on hand.

It's super quick to put together - the longest task is boiling the noodles, and yes, before anyone says anything, I used spaghetti....shock, I know, but I like spaghetti or spaghettini in place of Asian-style noodles. I prefer the texture, and I definitely prefer the way they hold overnight. It means I can make this dish for my family today to enjoy tomorrow, and no one would know.

Of course, you could use any Asian noodle you like, just follow the cooking directions. I personally prefer the fatter chewier styles to the rice sticks. Just as in Italian cooking, every Asian noodle has it's specialty dish. I use the ones I like.

I also used matchstick carrots, you know those pre-shredded ones near the baby carrots in the produce section at the grocery store? I buy them because I like the shape and texture. You can add them to dishes and they don't break down, as shredded carrots do. They stay crunchy for a long time.

To add to this salad, I sliced up some chicken breast and gave it about 15 minutes in a combo of soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce and canola oil. I stirred in about 1/2 clove minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, and then quickly stir fried. Okay, I sauteed it until the sugars had caramelized and the outsides of the chicken were dark and sticky. Yum, yum, yum!

Noodle Salad
Recipe adapted from here
Makes 6 serves

1/2 lb dry spaghetti noodles, cooked in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

1 cup matchstick carrots (you could shred your own)
2 stalks celery, sliced thinly on the diagonal
1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly on the diagonal
3 green onions, sliced thinly on the diagonal
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds, toasted (optional)

3 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Basically, after the noodles are cooked, rinse them under cold water, until they are no  longer warm. Drain well and mix with the vegetables.
Combine all ingredients for dressing in a small bowl. Mix well - keep mixing even though the peanut butter looks horrible, it will smooth itself out as you keep mixing. Pour dressing over noodles and vegetables and mix well. Season with salt, if necessary.


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