A few weeks ago one of my loved sister-in-laws (I have 9 of them) brought the most amazing salad to our family get together at the lake. I have to tell you, we were all licking our plates clean, and there wasn't even a bean sprout left to be seen. Since, I have found the recipe on line, but it originally came from Jamie Oliver. He is a British guy that's probably in his 30's, has a hairdo like my brother Marc, and makes the most amazing stuff out of his garden. His show comes on every Sat. mornings at the crotch of dawn so I never view it then. I've DVR'd Jamie's Garden, and Nigella Feasts and Emma and I usually have a great afternoon someday during the week watching the two shows. Emma is starting to use all that British verbage, and could fit in quite nicely in England I'm sure:) Anyway the salad was amazing, but I thought I could make it with a nice little twist. How about a Thai twist!!
I am absolutely smitten with Thai food. It all started years ago when J and I were in school and lived in a cute little house on the busiest street in town. We were in love, and it didn't matter that we were robbed more than once, and had to call the police numerous times with crazy women trying to break into our house. I can still remember the woman screaming through the door, "Baby I love you!! Let me in!" I know I am J's only baby and she didn't belong at my door. The police escorted her away quickly thank goodness and we survived. We lived across the street from a great little Thai restaurant. I had never tried Thai food, but J's brother had served an LDS mission to Thailand years earlier, and I thought if he liked the food it really must be good. We would go there for lunch and I was in love. Phad Thai, Chicken Coconut Mushroom soup, Panang Chicken Curry, Green Papaya Salad, and especially Mango Rice. It is amazing. We went there one day with a neighbor and he loved hot food. I remember watching him sweat buckets as he slurped down every lovely bite of food. What a memory:)
J's brother soon introduced us to Thai cooking and I invested in a Thai cook book or two, but actually Thai food is really simple to make. A few choice ingredients and you are set. My mother is horrified at the sight of my fridge. She looks in there and says she recognized nothing. I'll admit there are three different colors of curry paste, some Thai chili garlic sauce and numerous other Asian influenced products, but it makes amazing food dang it. My kids are growing up in a home that gives their little taste buds some global influences. Ask them what they love and they might just tell you it's Baklava:) Maybe that will come in handy when they are sent to Timbuktu on their missions someday:)
On to the recipe. If you've had Phad Thai it is a very popular noodle dish that you can get at any street vendor in Thailand I'm told. I used that as inspiration, but I had to add the flavors I love of Thailand most. Coconut and curry. You'll love it. It is loaded with tons of fresh veggies and stuff, but the coconut curry noodles make this salad. I may make it again tonight for the Clawson 4th annual Labor Day Festivus! I hope they like it.
Pasta Salad With a Thai Twist
1 lb. of linguine pasta cooked or 1 lb of rice noodles softened in hot water for 10 mins. (I like the rice noodles best, but sometimes they're hard to find in a regular grocery store.)
1 can coconut milk
1 T. green, yellow, or red curry paste or just use curry powder.
1/2 c. sugar
1/8 c. fish sauce or soy sauce
(fish sauce is the Thai version of soy sauce. It is just what it says it is. They take fish and put them in a barrel and let it ferment for months and then drain off the liquid. It smells horrible, but it sure makes the food taste good:)
In a big sauce pan place the coconut milk and curry paste and bring to a simmer. Add the sugar and fish sauce or soy sauce. Taste and adjust to your liking with more sugar, or more soy sauce. Add the hot cooked noodles and toss. You want the noodles to absorb all the coconut milk and then cool down.
In a really large bowl ( I love my IKEA honking huge silver bowl) add:
1 head Napa cabbage chopped
peppers sliced (A combination of red, yellow, and orange is best. You know it's all about the presentation!)
matchstick carrots if you don't have colorful peppers
fresh bean sprouts
a bunch of green onions sliced
some cucumbers sliced
1 bunch of cilantro chopped or a lot of chopped fresh basil (Basil is best!)
sliced water chestnuts
a few big handfuls of baby spinach (you can add more or less of this to stretch the salad)
Any of the veggies can be adjusted to your liking. If you don't have something don't worry. Just improvise or add a little more of something else. Once the noodles are cool toss them in the bowl with all the veggies.
1 c. olive oil
3/4 c. rice wine vinegar
1 T. soy sauce
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 t. seasame oil (optional)
1/2 t. ground ginger
Toss the salad all together and make all sorts of yummy sounds! Sprinkle a handful or two of chopped peanuts, or sugar glazed almonds. Taste it. I usually add a little more sugar, but it's up to you. This salad is huge so make sure you have a big group since it doesn't keep at all. 22 Garner's slicked it right up!