A stunning Cold Peanut Noodle Salad
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I should begin my comeback post, if we may call it so. I know, I know, I’ve been away way too long. And all reasons now seem small and like petty excuses. But the past few months have been a roller coaster ride. Getting back to school, that too to study film, left me with no fixed schedule. Things kept happening one after the other and I had no time to organize and include a few things I used to love doing. Cooking was one of them.
Let me tell you this, a student’s kitchen is very different from a working woman’s kitchen. And over the years, I had stocked my kitchen back in Mumbai slowly and steadily, equipment, gadgets, ingredients, you name it and I either had it or could arrange it at short notice. The reality that was in front of me now was very different. A kitchen with meagre supplies, a city like Ahmedabad where one couldn’t find even the most basic of ingredients and to top it all, a schedule that left me no time to cook a decent meal, let alone experiment with my cooking skills.
You may now be thinking that I’ve had a terrible few months, but let me also tell you, now that I have your sympathy, that these few months have been a tremendous learning experience with new explorations at every nook and corner. On the food front, I had the opportunity to meet and eat with people from all over the country and even outside, that has not only shaken a few of my hardcore beliefs about cooking but also made me a lot more open and experimentative when it comes to the taste palette.
The good news now is that I now have my summer vacations, hell yeah, you got it right, those things still exist. And let me tell you… there’s a lot I have in my mind that I want to, have to and will share… soon.
So let me quickly get to my very first recipe in so long. The summers are almost here, I say almost because not till long ago the weather was still pleasant, even in this desert! But it is starting to heat up a bit now. And all I want to eat on days like these are veggies… lots and lots of fresh, leafy green vegetables. But knowing me, I wouldn’t really just eat them. I’d obviously want them to be served in a fun way. Who said eating vegetables can’t be fun. Of course, a non-vegetarian! But come on, it’s possible.
Really long ago, I had reluctantly ordered this noodle salad with peanuts at California Pizza Kitchen in Mumbai. It turned out to be one salad I haven’t forgotten in so many years. The taste keeps coming back to me and the other day I was craving for a nice cold noodle salad with the healthy crunch of peanuts. I’ve tried to recreate the flavours but I’m sure they used different noodles, although I’ve made the salad with noodles used to make hakka noodles. You can try it with flat noodles or glass noodles as well.
The best part about the salad apart from the fact that it is cold and so refreshing, is the addition of herbs. I was contemplating on whether to use basil or coriander or mint or a combination of two, but in the end I decided to just add all of them, and that I guess gave the salad that extra punch. The fresh leaves were amazing to chew on and added so much flavor to the salad.
Chopping is always an important task when you’re not cooking the vegetables although I think well cut vegetables cook better too. This time I figured a way to create spirals out of the spring onions which was my high point for the recipe. Everytime I chop the spring onions, I either can’t feel their flavor cause they’re too small or when they’re larger, they start to wilt. So here’s what I did, to add more to the visual appeal of the salad, I slit the spring onions stem length wise and once it was open, flat as a sheet, I cut smaller pieces a little diagonally. As soon as the pieces were cut, they curled to create a spring like effect that was so much more fun to chew on.
You can add or skip ingredients to the ones I’ve used according to your likes and dislikes, which I feel is the best part about salads. A little addition or subtraction just makes it even more lovable.
So here’s the recipe.
COLD PEANUT NOODLE SALAD
For the salad:
1 medium capsicum julienned
1 medium cucumber deseeded and julienned
1 medium carrot julienned
a few stems of spring onion, cut in sprials
1-2 thai red chilli finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground ginger
3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
half a packet of boiled noodles
1/2 cup of peanuts, toasted and coarsely ground
¼ cup sesame til seeds, toasted
a few leaves of basil tulsi, coriander dhaniya and mint pudina leaves
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of green chilli sauce
1 tablespoon sesame/ olive oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
a pinch of sugar/ honey
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of crushed pepper
Cut all the vegetables and mix with the noodles and refrigerate.
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl to make the dressing and add it to the salad.
Add the garnishing before serving.
And your salad is ready to devour.
Healthy, nutritious and yummy. Now those are words one doesn’t often hear together.
I hope you enjoy this super cool salad, do share pictures with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #kitchenpostcards about your culinary experiences.
And yes, last but not the least, thank you Kanika, for being ever so patient with me! Lots of love to you.