Spicy Peanut Pasta

When my mom asked me for the recipe for this spicy peanut pasta dish, I realized that I never really posted the recipe. Considering that this is one of my favorite dishes, I thought that needed to be remedied!

One of my favorite things about it is how the spicy peanut sauce gets collected in the broccoli, so I tend to include what might seem like an excessive amount of broccoli.

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This is also the first dish where I learned how yummy broccoli stems could be…as long as you peel off the tough outer stem! Plus you can feel very virtuous for not throwing out the broccoli stems.☺️

broccoli stems, onions, and carrots

Sautéing the carrots, diced onion, and broccoli stems in peanut oil helps infuse an extra layer of peanut flavor.

sauteing veggies in peanut oilUsing an immersion blender to mix together the sauce makes it a lot easier. This sauce has evolved over the years I’ve been making this dish to include ginger, garlic, and of course red pepper flakes. It is also a really good dipping sauce to serve with spring rolls.

blending the spicy peanut sauce The red peppers and broccoli florets don’t need very long to cook. You really want them to remain somewhat crisp in the final dish.

steaming broccoli Sometimes the hardest part is mixing the sauce, veggies, and pasta together!

mixing pasta, sauce, and veggies

Once everything is combined, it is ready to serve. You can include red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce on the side for anyone who wants it spicier (usually me)!

spicy peanut pasta served with chopsticksSpicy Peanut Pasta

1 onion, diced
4-6 heads of broccoli (I recommend more because the broccoli is amazing with the peanut sauce)
1 red pepper, sliced
2 carrots, julienned
1 can (4-6 ounces) water chestnuts, drained and sliced
1 can (4-6 ounces) bamboo shoots, drained (optional)
5 green onions, chopped with white and green parts separated
1/4 cup shelled peanuts
12 ounces whole wheat fusilli, cooked
1 cup pasta cooking water reserved
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
For the sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced (about 1.5 Tbsp)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1.5 cup freshly ground peanut butter
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
Sriracha sauce, to taste (optional)
First, prepare the broccoli by removing the crowns and separating into bite-size florets. The florets should have as little stem as possible. Remove the bottom of the stems as well as the tough outer peel, then dice the stems.
In a large saute pan or skillet, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the white parts of the green onions and saute until softened and slightly browned.
Next, add the broccoli stems, water chestnuts, and bamboo stems, if using. Cook for a few minutes until the broccoli stems start to softened. Add the carrots, followed a few minutes later by the red peppers and cook until the carrots soften slightly. You want the carrots and peppers to be cooked through but still slightly crisp in the final dish.
Add the broccoli florets and 1 Tbsp soy sauce. Stir to combine with the other veggies, then cover to allow the broccoli florets to steam.
Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the sauce together. I find it easiest to mix with a hand blender, but you can mix manually as well. Add a small amount of the pasta cooking water to lighten the consistency, if needed. You want the sauce to be thick, but not clumpy. Taste and adjust soy sauce or lime juice to add saltiness or sharpness. If you want the sauce to be spicier you can add either more red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce.
After the broccoli is cooked but still bright green, add the sauce and stir to combine with the veggies. You may need to add pasta water if it is still too thick to mix well. Finally add the cooked pasta, stirring to combine. Reduce heat, then cover and allow the pasta and sauce to heat through.
In a small dry saute pan, toast the peanuts over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Serve the pasta topped with the toasted peanuts and the green parts of the green onions.
Serves 6, and reheats extremely well for lunch the next day.

Less-Spicy Pad Thai

Jon and I were lucky enough to have both of our parents together over the holidays, and this was one of the dishes they requested I make. Normally, my Pad Thai involves lots of chiles and spice, but I toned it down so it would be less spicy for our families and everyone could enjoy it.
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First, I sliced up green onions, peppers, and carrots. I love all the colors together!

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I started off by stir-frying the green onions along with some water chestnuts in toasted sesame oil until the water chestnuts started to brown.

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Next, I added the carrots and peppers to the pan.

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While the veggies were cooking, I cooked the rice noodles and rinsed them in cold water.

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After the veggies were done, I poured in the sauce of lime juice, soy sauce, and other seasonings along with the noodles.

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I like topping the noodles with more green onions as well as some toasted (and maybe slightly burned!) peanuts.

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There were plenty of red pepper flakes so that everyone could add as much of as little heat as they wanted. It was great to enjoy a meal with everyone!

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Less-Spicy Pad Thai
1/2 package rice noodles
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cans water chestnuts, sliced and drained
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, thinly sliced
4 medium carrots, julienned
1 lime, sliced
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup lime juice, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts, toasted
Red pepper flakes or sriracha sauce, to taste

Cook the rice noodles according to the package instructions. After they are done cooking, drain and rinse with cold water, then set aside.

In a wok or wide skillet, heat the sesame oil over medium high heat. Add the white and light green parts of the onions along with the water chestnuts. Stir fry for several minutes, then add the carrots.

Cook for several more minutes, until the carrots are cooked through and beginning to brown slightly.

Add the pepper slices, and cook for several more minutes. All of the vegetables should be beginning to brown on several sides.

While the veggies are cooking, mix the brown sugar, lime juice, and soy sauce in a separate bowl. Taste the sauce, and add lime juice if you want a sharper sauce.

Reduce the heat to medium low. Add a few slices of lime to the pan and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, until you can smell the lime. I will often add a handful of the peanuts to the pan at this point, leaving the rest for serving.

Add the sauce to the veggie mixture. Once the sauce and veggies are combined, add the rice noodles and toss to combine. Cook the noodles long enough to heat through, then serve the Pad Thai topped with green onions, toasted peanuts, and pepper flakes to taste, with a slice of lime on the side.

Spicy Green Tea Soba Noodles

It was so hot last week, I really did not want to turn on the stove or oven any more than was absolutely necessary. Even if you’re not suffering through 90+ degree days (or even hotter, if you’re in the southwest), this is still a perfect summertime dish.

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I started off by heating the water to cook the soba noodles. While the water was heating, I mixed up the sauce with soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, and sesame oil.

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I had just received amazing-smelling whole star anise from our friend Arushi, who recently got back from a month-long trip to India, so I decided to grind up a little of this to include in the sauce. Isn’t it pretty?

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Next, I chopped up some green onions, and finished cooking the green tea soba noodles. Of course, if you can’t find green tea soba noodles, regular soba noodles (or any other Asian-style noodle) will work just fine.

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Once the noodles were done cooking, I rinsed them in cold water and then mixed them up with the sauce.

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To finish, I mixed in red pepper flakes, sesame seeds, and the green onions. It was a light and refreshing dish, perfect for a hot summer evening!

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Spicy Green Tea Soba Noodles
Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Forever Summer

1 package of Cha Soba (green tea soba noodles)
1 bunch green onions, chopped
3/4 tsp star anise (optional)
Red pepper flakes, to taste
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (toasted, if possible)
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
5 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Cook the soba noodles according to package directions. If you can’t find green tea soba noodles, you can use regular soba noodles instead. Once the noodles are done cooking, drain and rinse in cold water.

While the noodles are cooking, mix together the honey, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, and star anise in a small bowl. Add red pepper flakes, if desired. I like adding a good amount to give the noodles a kick!

When the noodles are cooled, mix together with the sauce, sesame seeds, and chopped green onions. Cover and place in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to allow the flavors to mix together, then serve. Makes a perfect dinner for a hot summer evening!

Wontons in Ginger Broth with Roasted Broccoli and Edamame

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One dish that Jon really likes but doesn’t get very frequently is homemade wontons. Although not especially difficult to make, it definitely takes some time to assemble and cook all the wontons.

I started off by cooking the filling using onions, peeled and diced broccoli stems, and vegan chicken. This mixture was flavored with lemon verbena, dried cilantro (use basil if you’re a cilantro hater), soy sauce, and a little sriracha sauce, and then set aside to cool.

Next, I mixed together all the ingredients for the roasted broccoli and edamame, and stuck that in the oven to roast. Oddly enough, this was the first time I have ever tried to roast broccoli.
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While the broccoli was roasting away, I started off the ginger broth by mixing together water, soy sauce, minced ginger, rice vinegar, miso paste, a little sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. The broth simmered and melded all its flavors while I worked on assembling all the wontons. It is definitely a good idea to have some good entertainment and something comfortable to stand on for this part!
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Once my herd of wontons had been assembled, I steamed them over the broth. When all the wontons were done, several went into shallow bowls and were topped with the broth. The broccoli was a crunchy and spicy side. And fortunately, Jon was nice enough to clean up after dinner. 🙂
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Wontons in Ginger Broth with Roasted Broccoli and Edamame

Wontons
Stems of 3-4 heads of broccoli, peeled and diced
1 onion, finely diced
3/4 cup vegan chicken, finely diced
1/2 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 tsp lemon verbena
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp sriracha sauce
2 tsp soy sauce, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp peanut oil
1 package wonton wrappers
Steamer basket or vegetable steamer

Ginger Broth
6 cups water
1.5 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 tsp sugar
4 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp miso paste

Roasted Broccoli
Broccoli florets from 3-4 heads of broccoli
1 cup edamame, removed from shell (frozen is fine)
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust based on desired spiciness)

First, start the filling for the wontons. Remove the tough outside of the broccoli stems, and then dice. Sauté the onion in the sesame and peanut oils until it is softened and just beginning to caramelize. Add the ginger, broccoli stems, and diced vegan chicken to the pan. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the cilantro and lemon verbena. Sauté for a few more minutes, then add the soy sauce and sriracha sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated. Put aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 375F. On a large baking sheet, mix together all the ingredients for the roasted broccoli. The vegetables should be in a single layer on the sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 35 minutes until the broccoli and edamame are crispy in parts and have absorbed most of the sauce.

Mix together all of the ingredients for the broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer.

Next, if you haven’t already, put on some entertainment like music, a podcast, or a talkative husband, and assemble the wontons. Place a wonton skin on a cutting board, and spoon a small amount of filling into the center.
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Using a small pastry brush or your fingertip, brush all four sides of the wonton skin with water, then fold in half to make a triangle. Press the sides together firmly, and then bring the two points together. Brush one point with a little more water, and then seal together with the other point. Place the finished wonton on a baking tray. Continue to assemble the rest of the wontons.
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After the wontons are assembled (aren’t you glad you had some entertainment?), place the wontons into a steamer of steamer basket. Make sure they are not touching, or they might stick together as they cook. Place the steamer or steamer basket over the broth pot, or another pot of boiling water. Working in batches, steam the wontons for about 10 minutes or until the wonton skins are cooked through. Remove and keep warm while steaming the rest of the wontons.
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To serve, place several wontons in a shallow bowl. Spoon the ginger broth over top, and serve with the roasted broccoli on the side. Enjoy getting to sit down, and hopefully be lucky enough to have a dinner companion who will clean up the kitchen for you.

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Sweet and Spicy Soba Noodles

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This dish is great because it takes almost no hands-on time, but is still yummy. It is one of Jon’s frequently requested dishes in the summer, and even though it has been snowing like it is still winter, our menu and stomachs are ready for it to spring or summer!

While the water for the soba noodles was heating up, I started the sauce by mixing up soy sauce, rice vinegar, sriracha sauce, honey, and toasted sesame oil. To this mixture, I added some diced water chestnuts.

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While the noodles finished cooking, I chopped up lots of green onions.

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After the noodles were cooked and rinsed in cold water, I mixed them up with the sauce and the chopped green onions. This is best done with tongs and an apron on…I always manage to fling noodles and sauce all over the kitchen and myself!

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After letting the noodles soak up the sauce, dinner was ready to eat with our favorite chopsticks. It made me and Jon both look forward to summer even though there is only snow and rain in the forecast!

Sweet and Spicy Soba Noodles

4 bundles of soba noodles
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 can water chestnuts, rinsed and diced
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp sriracha sauce
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup sesame seeds, optional

Cook the soba noodles according to the instructions. Rinse the noodles in cold water after they are done cooking.

While the noodles are cooking, mix up the soy sauce, honey, rice vinegar, sriracha, and sesame oil. If you want extra spicy noodles, you can add a little more sriracha sauce or red pepper flakes. Add the water chestnuts to the sauce.

Mix together the noodles, sauce, green onions, and sesame seeds, if using. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes so the noodles can absorb the sauce. This dish is great as a main course, or with lots of veggies as a side.

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