My new favourite hobby is pottering around the kitchen, throwing things in pots, writing down notes, and coming up with new ideas for dinner.
Is that weird? Considering a year ago, my friends were joking about how I never ate at home (which, to be fair, I didn’t), I feel like it’s a bit weird. But a good weird. A weird that’s making me feel all happy and glowy inside.
Long may the enthusiasm continue!
This dish is something I pulled together on Saturday lunch time for Gary and I. We usually do our weekly shop on a Sunday, so I was actually just trying to use up the leftover bits and pieces I had in my fridge.
And it turned out REALLY well!
I also “invented” a new way of steaming ingredients which is easy, quick and fuss-free (and yes, I realise I probably didn’t invent it. I have a feeling I read it somewhere, but I can’t remember where and I can’t find it, so for now, let’s just pretend I invented it…)
Let me introduce you to my Quick Thai Noodle Salad.
Rice noodles are my fave type of noodle for stir fries.
They cook in literally three minutes, which speeds things up CONSIDERABLY, and I like the texture better than the thicker egg noodle option. (Plus MyFitnessPal says it’s got fewer calories and I’d quite like to fit back into my jeans sometime soon so…)
Then I just drain the noodles over a colander layered with chopped, sliced and spiralised veg, and stick the saucepan lid on the colander.
With the lid on, the steam from the noodles can’t go up, so it goes DOWN. After 5 minutes, you have gently wilted spinach and lightly steamed carrot and red pepper. Super easy, and one less thing to wash up. (Which is always the goal right?)
The dressing is my favourite Thai-inspired salad dressing: sesame oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, and a splash of fish sauce. It’s creamy and tangy and salty and sharp and utterly yummy.
The salad keeps well in the fridge for a couple of days, and it’s just as nice cold as it is re-heated, so it’s perfect for packed lunches.
Cook a giant batch on a Sunday and you’re all set for the week!
QUICK THAI NOODLE SALAD
-2 nests of dried rice noodles
-2 handful of baby spinach
-1 red pepper
-Crumbled feta (optional)
-2 tbsp sesame oil
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-2 tbsp lime juice
-1 tbsp peanut butter
-Splash of fish sauce
1. Pop a saucepan of salted water on to boil. Whilst that’s heating, tear any woody stalks off your spinach, and layer it at the bottom of a colander.
2. Finely slice your pepper, and either slice the carrots into matchsticks (julienne style, if you’re gonna be fancy about it) or use a spiraliser to make fine carrot ribbons. Pop both the pepper and carrots on top of the spinach in the colander.
3. Once the water is boiling, add your rice noodle nests. Stir them with a fork to break up the shape. Then let them cook for 3 minutes, until just tender.
4. Drain the noodles into the colander, over the sink, so the hot water goes over the vegetables. Once you’ve emptied the whole pan of water and noodles, stick the sauce pan lid on top of the colander, trapping the steam. Leave the colander to steam over the sink for about five minutes. Don’t wash up the saucepan yet!
5. To assemble the dressing, just put all the ingredients in a bowl and use a teaspoon to mix it all together until the peanut butter is dissolved. Once everything’s combined, taste it and check whether you want some extra lime added. (I ALWAYS want extra lime!)
6. At this point you can also prepare your toppings. I just used crushed peanuts and crumbled feta because that’s what we had in the fridge, but prawns, tofu or shredded chicken would also work.
7. Empty the veg and noodles from the colander into the saucepan you used to cook the noodles, throw in the dressing, and give everything a really, REALLY good stir, until everything is mixed in and covered in tangy, peanutty goodness.
8. Fork the Thai noodle salad into two bowls, then sprinkle over your toppings and serve!