Monday, January 6, 2014

Fran's "Thai" Noodle Salad

Do you have those food memories that even as an adult, you still can't resist? Beyond the piles of remembered Halloween candy (1000 Grands... Dude...) or the insane amounts of fast food burgers consumed before your young stomach could argue back? We all have them... Mine are in no particular order my Mum's cheese blintzes, apple pie, and stuffed cabbage rolls. I still make these and completely pig out on occasion.

But, this post isn't about my food memories, but my lovely Canadian husbands'. Banana Cake with Maple Icing, Cottage Cheese Pie topped with creamy yogurt, and one of his favorites... His Mom's "Thai" Noodle Salad.  My Mother in law is a great cook and I can thank her for helping to foster a love of cooking in my husband. Up until we had kids and I became a stay at home mom, my husband was the primary cook! This is the guy who on our second date, whipped up a beautiful mushroom risotto (my first ever!) with salmon en croute! I was beyond impressed!

I can honestly say I can never make his Mother's recipes as well as she can.... It must be some sort of "mom" magic because I feel the same way when I try to recreate my own Mum's recipes....But, I can come close. Like many westernized versions of authentic dishes, this Thai Noodle Salad is different than the original, but still extremely tasty. Angel hair pasta is tossed in a mixture of soy, sesame oil, Thai chili sauce, rice wine vinegar, and peanut oil. Sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and chopped scallions, this is a wonderful side dish or simple lunch.

The recipe is very open to variations and interpretation. Add a little sprinkle of peanuts? Sure! Sliced carrots? Awesome! Substitutions? A-ok. I used red onion instead of scallions and it still tasted wonderful.

This noodle salad benefits from an overnight in the fridge before serving. The flavors intensify and gain more dimension. Sadly, it never lasts that long in my house!

Fran's "Thai" Noodle Salad

1 pound angel hair pasta
6 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons peanut oil
4 teaspoons sugar
A dash of Sriracha Sauce (I used 3 squirts)
1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds*, reserving 2 tablespoons for serving
3 green scallions, chopped, reserved for serving

Boil the angel hair pasta according to the directions on the box. Whisk together in a medium bowl the soy sauce, peanut & sesame oils, rice wine vinegar, sugar and Sriracha sauce. Stir in the sesame seeds, making sure to reserve some for presentation. Once the pasta has been cooked and drained, place into a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, if not overnight.

Bring to room temperature before serving. Garnish with the reserved sesame seeds and chopped scallion. Delicious additions include roughly chopped peanuts, red onion slices, and carrots.

* To toast your sesame seeds, place them in a small non-stick skillet on medium heat. Watch them very carefully and stir occasionally, until the seeds turn a light brown color.

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