I get a bit twitchy when I don’t have noodles in the house.
A lot of people fall back on pasta when they’re a little lamb lost in the Kitchen and searching for inspiration. While I do frequently swandive into the reassurance of pasta, noodles have my back more often than not.
I see a noodle dish sometimes as a means to use up ingredients. It’s a lot more permissive of a dish, allowing to add a plethora of ingredients to dance against the spindley strands as opposed to pasta which often benefits from fewer but better ingredients.
And while I am often found dancing on top of a wok, I am often so charmed by the concept of a cold noodle salad.
Don’t be off-put by this. So often do we seek evening solace in a hot plate and don’t feel as though we’ve ‘properly eaten’ unless we’ve lined our stomachs with something hearty. But if a cold dish has enough flavour, interesting textures and filling ingredients, you needn’t worry.
This recipe is another version of the Cold Peanut Sriracha Noodles that you can find in my free eBook ‘Life Through Food’, however the sauce that coats these noodles is less fierier than their Sriracha cousin.
The measurements I’ve specified below make enough for two, but if you can double these quantities please do and make yourself an enormous bowlful. Drop them into different sets of Tupperware and have them in work. No microwave needed. Save yourself a trip to the garage for one of them God awful cold sandwich packs which often require a house remortgage to afford.
Boil the kettle. Take a whole broccoli and slice off the little tree fronds. Halve them all and throw them in a colander in the sink.
TIP – don’t throw away the stems. Slice them all up, roast them on 200c for half hour and dunk them into your favourite dip. So good. My dog loves them.
Slowly pour the boiled water over the broccoli in the colander so that all of it gets the boiling water running through it. This will partially cook them and take the raw edge off. Immediately run the cold tap over them to stop them cooking and to keep their vibrancy. This is called quick blanching.
Now slice up a yellow pepper into strips, three spring onions into small disks and finely chop up a handful of coriander. Put a little of the coriander to one side for sprinkling later.
In a jug, combine half a can of coconut milk, three tablespoons of smooth peanut butter, a quick dash of tamarind paste (can’t find this in the shops, just leave it out), a teaspoon of soft brown sugar and a few dashes of fish sauce. Then grate in a clove of garlic, sprinkle over a little salt and pepper and then finish off with the juice of one lime and a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil.
Whisk everything together to a silky sauce.
Now throw a pack of cooked and cooled noodles into a big bowl. You could buy pre-cooked, ready to eat noodles for this. If you cook some from scratch, cook them to packet instruction but once they’re done in the pan of water, fling them in a bowl of ice cold water to stop them cooking.
To the noodles, add your spring onions, yellow pepper, coriander, the quick blanched broccoli and a handful of peanuts. Toss these together – I use my hands like a beast.
Now pour in the peanut sauce and mix everything together. I use a spoon here. I’m not that filthy.
Spoon portions into bowls and serve with another scatter of peanuts and the coriander you put to the side earlier.