Sunday, September 18, 2011

Spicy Thai Noodle Salad

I have a secret.  Tiny, itty-bitty Thai peppers scare the bejeebers out of me.  I have never cooked with them, since surely one little nibble of those hot suckers would singe my tongue and leave irreparable damage.  Best to just avoid them entirely... jalapenos are so much safer.

But, then, I ran across this recipe from the absolutely hilarious, witty, and delicious Pinch of Yum's blog.  Suddenly, I started having these thoughts.  Maybe just one pepper wouldn't be so bad.  Hmmm.  If she can do it, then so can I, right?  Right.  I needed to make this salad - it was calling my name, and I was just going to have to get over my tiny-pepper fears and make it. 

First, for safety's sake, I did a little research on Mr. Thai Pepper.  Turns out he is about 5x hotter than a jalapeno.  This did little to alleviate my fear.  Just to be safe, I started by only adding half of the pepper.  Then, very carefully, I tasted the dressing.  Huh. Barely spicy at all.  Seems that my years of anti-pepper feelings were really unnecessary.  So, I tossed the other half of that little pepper in and it was just perfect.

 Spicy Thai Noodle Salad
Yield: 4-6 servings

Salad Ingredients
1 cup julienne red bell pepper
1 cup shredded or julienne carrot
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup finely chopped broccoli (raw or steamed)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup diced cooked chicken breast
8 oz. cooked soba noodles or whole grain linguine
Handful or fresh basil and/or cilantro

Dressing Ingredients
5 Tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
2 Tbsp water 
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 Tbsp honey
1 clove garlic
1 tsp sugar
1 red or green Thai chili, seeds and capsicum (ribs) removed
1/3 cup peanuts

Combine the first 7 salad ingredients in a bowl.

Puree dressing ingredients (except peanuts) in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy. Add peanuts and pulse until they are lightly chopped. Pour dressing over salad and toss until well coated.

Top individual servings with basil or cilantro. Yum!

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