After reading many of the comments that folks left about what their favorite bowl meals are, I felt the inexplicable need to make one that seems to be a particular favorite among the crowd - bowls with peanut sauce.
While I've dabbled in the nutty concoction before, I haven't posted it to the blog - a huge oversight on my part!
At first I wanted to add coconut milk to the sauce, but then - with the addition of peanut butter and, (what I think is a great idea), the addition of red curry paste (more on that later), it became too much like Thai Panang Curry (recipe HERE).
So, I kept it simple, at 9 ingredients. The red curry paste (available in grocery stores, though watch out for fish or shrimp in the curry) is an easy recipe in my new book, Vegan Bowls (Amazon, B&N). Red curry paste typically includes garlic and ginger and, therefore, omits the need to add those ingredients to the peanut sauce. Of course, if you don't have red curry paste, simply add garlic, ginger and red chili flakes to the sauce, and you're all set.
The optional capers add a *funk* to the sauce - much like fish sauce does. Add it completely at your discretion for that ingredient, though, since it is not a necessary addition.
To bring color and additional nutrition to the dish, I added kale and red bell peppers. Possible substitutions might be broccoli rabe (my first choice), julienned carrots, bok choy, napa cabbage, purple cabbage or daikon radish.
Watch out for your peanut butter; omit the sugar from the recipe if your peanut butter is sweetened.
After cooking the pasta (reserving about 2 cups of the cooking water), saute the kale and peppers and add the curry paste (cooking it a bit first, because the garlic and the ginger within it need to be sauteed), the peanut butter, scallions, tamari, lime and sugar and salt.
The whole thing can be done in under 30 minutes, including prep. Start the medium pot of water to boil while you chop the ingredients and this is a dish ready in a snap.
Spicy Noodles with Peanut Sauce
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes
10 ounces pasta, such as soba, udon or spaghetti
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced**
1 (1-inch piece) ginger, grated**
8 ounces kale, tough stems removed and chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 -inch slices
1 teaspoon red chili flakes OR 1 to 3 tablespoons red curry paste (depending on spice level)
1 cup reserved pasta water
5 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons sweetener***
3 scallions, minced
1 teaspoon caper brine liquid (optional)
Sea salt and black pepper
Roasted peanuts, to garnish
Lime wedges, garnish
1. Cook the pasta in a medium pot of salted boiling water. Cook until al dente, drain, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water, and set aside.
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, kale and bell pepper. Cook until the kale is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the red chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of reserved pasta water, peanut butter, tamari, lime juice, sweetener, scallions and caper liquid (if using). Mix well to combine. Add more water if the sauce is too thick. Add the pasta and mix well again. Cook to reheat, taste and adjust seasoning with sugar, salt and black pepper.
3. Serve the pasta garnished with peanuts and lime wedges.
**garlic and ginger: omit if using red curry paste
***sweetener: omit or reduce if using sweetened peanut butter
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