Noodles with Vegetables and Lemongrass-Peanut Dressing

Another favorite of the kids (and us, too). This is a dish that can be purely vegetarian, or fishyterian. We go meatless 3 or 4 times a week and I find these are the meals the kids can demolish in minutes, possibly due to the lack of chewing?! They’re perfectly content with wholegrain pasta with a homemade tomato sauce, into which I bung a few other veggies too, plus lots of cheese, or wholegrain chapati (an Indian flatbread) and dhal and chickpeas with tomato, or noodles done any style, like this one with Asian spicing.  Of course I couldn’t hold back and added chillis to the peanut sauce, but you don’t have to. And yes, the entire family gobbled it up!

Those with nut allergies may easily substitute the peanut content for a few tablespoons of sunbutter or no-nut pea butter.

Peanut sauce, or satay sauce, originates from Southeast Asia and, as with many dishes, there are several ways to make it. This is my way, off book, fairly straightforward and the end product – if I do say so myself – is much better than the original. It’s more full-bodied (because I add more of the good stuff), nutritious (more nuts and herbs), less fattening (less added fat) and tastes excellent! This sauce changes every time I make it because I use different herbs and often vary the ingredients, with no bad results at all. If you like, you may substitute the handfuls of peanuts for about 2-3 tbsp of peanut butter. The fish was simply seasoned with salt and pepper, with a squeeze of lemon juice, a dash of soy, and seared on both sides.

Scroll through to the bottom where I’ll simply this further for you if the list of ingredients looks daunting 😉

  • egg noodles, 1 packet (boil as per directions and drain in colander when the sauce is almost ready)
  • broccoli, snow peas, sugar snap peas or spinach – as much as needed
  • peanuts, roasted (plain or salted are fine), 2-3 handfuls
  • lemon grass, 1 stalk
  • lime leaves, 2
  • shallot, 1 large, chopped
  • garlic, 4 cloves
  • ginger, 1 tsp, grated
  • chilli, 1 (optional)
  • anchovies, 2
  • tomatoes, 1, large, peeled
  • coriander, 1 tsp
  • turmeric, 1/4 tsp
  • brown sugar, 1 tsp
  • lime juice, as needed
  • salt or soy sauce or fish sauce
  1. In a food processor, add thin slices of the whiter part of lemon grass and pulse them, making sure the lemon grass is pulverized as best as you can do (adding a little stock if you need to)
  2. Then add onions, garlic, ginger, lime leaves, tomatoes, anchovies
  3. Saute the above in some canola oil, till fragrant and the tomatoes and onions have cooked
  4. Add the dry spices and ensure the thick sauce is thoroughly cooked , adding some veg or chicken stock if needed
  5. Back in the processor, bung the peanuts and give them a whirl. Add them to the onion mixture
  6. Add some coconut milk if you like, check the seasoning, add salt (or soy or fish sauce), lime juice and sugar
  7. At this stage, cook the egg noodles in a separate pan and drain in colander. Blanch the veggies of your choice in boiling water too, for a few minutes and drain
  8. Meanwhile, the sauce, which must be constantly stirred, will bubble and spatter, so keep the heat moderately low and watch those bare arms
  9. Take it off the heat when everything tastes good and looks right
  10. In bowls, add as much noodles as you need, and the vegetables that have been blanced for a few minutes, and pour this divine sauce over the top. Enjoy!

Simpler Version

Go straight to your food processor and bung in 1 shallot, skinned and halved, 2 garlic cloves, 1 tomato and 1 seeded green chilli plus handful of coriander leaves or basil or thai basil. Whizz and saute in a bit of oil, adding 1 tsp ground coriander once the onions are translucent. Cook for about 5 mins, add 2 tbsp peanut butter and some stock or water or coconut milk to thin the sauce. Season with soy sauce, lime juice and brown sugar.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with the peanuts (unless you’re allergic!).

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April 14, 2010. Tags: , , . Asian, Dinners, Kids Cuisine, Mains, Sauces and Dressings, Vegetables, Vegetarian.

5 Comments

  1. Deb replied:

    This may be the trick to get protein in my kids! Can’t wait to try it.

  2. divaindoors replied:

    That’s great 🙂 These two would have it every day if I let them!

  3. nancybreslin replied:

    a must try! i love thai–but of course i have to hold off on the nuts. 😦

    • divaindoors replied:

      Hmm, interesting dilemma you present, Nancy 😉 I would suggest tripling the tomato quotient
      and keeping everything else as is.. you could add some roasted pumpkin/butternut squash to it
      instead of nuts – say 1/2 to 3/4 cup? And with some coconut milk, mmm, I’m guessing it will be
      a great topping too!

  4. 33 Passover Meal and Lunchbox Ideas « Diva Indoors: Food, with love replied:

    […] Rice noodles with veg and peanut sauce […]

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