Thailand has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been rewinding, on a loop, beautiful memories from the time we honeymooned there. I would say we didn’t explore much of Thailand at the time, didn’t try out even 1% of the thousands of dishes the country has to offer, did only a very few chosen things out of the 1000000001 amazing experiences it offers. In spite of that, and being very shy, awkward newly-weds, we still managed to have a rather nice time in Thailand. I have been craving to go back there, revisit some old haunts, and do some new exploring this time around, and visit again the shrine of the Emerald Buddha, where our guide then offered up a prayer for the OH and me to have a little baby girl (Yes!).
A vacation to Thailand doesn’t seem to be materialising, in spite of the husband’s and my best efforts. So, I have been reading up about the place and making endless lists (mental and otherwise) of all the experiences I would like to have there, should we visit again. That apart, I have been trying to rustle up a little bit of a Thai storm in my home kitchen.
While we were honeymooning in Thailand, we were largely afraid to try out any new foods there, for everything seemed to smell of fish and foreign-ness. We weren’t quite the travellers then, or the experience-seekers that we are now. Now, we understand Thai food a little better than we did then. The Thai-style raw mango and onion salad and Thai green papaya salad I rustled up at home a while ago were my little attempts to understand this amazing cuisine in a deeper, more personal way.
After the salads, it was time to try out some Thai-style noodles, in remembrance of all those long lunches we had in Thailand years ago. As luck would have it, I came across this recipe for Spicy Thai Noodle Bowl when I hadn’t even actively started searching for recipes to make them. It sounded simple enough, and I had most of the ingredients at had anyways. There was no hesitating then – the noodles were made, with a few variations of my own to the original recipe. The dish turned out to be lip-smackingly delicious, and we lurrrrvveedd it to bits! 🙂
Here is how I made the noodles.
Recipe (serves 2):
- Take 1 packet (about 160 grams) Hakka noodles (You could use any other type of noodles too!), and cook them as per the instructions on the package. I cooked mine on a medium flame with a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of oil. When they are almost done, remove them into a colander and run some cold water over them, to stop them from cooking further. Let them sit till they are fully cold, and are needed to be used in the recipe.
- While the noodles are cooking, get the sauce ready and the veggies chopped and ready. This way, you will be able to whip up the noodles in a matter of minutes!
- Ensure that the noodles are not overly cooked, or the dish will lose its flavour. You could switch off the gas while the noodles are a little more than al dente, but not fully cooked. They will be cooked later along with the veggies and the sauce, anyways.
Just keep the following things ready and at hand.
2 tablespoons oil, to cook the veggies
1 small capsicum, chopped into medium-sized pieces
A small piece of cabbage, chopped into long pieces
A small carrot, peeled and chopped into fingers
A small seedless cucumber, peeled and chopped into fingers
You can add cubes of tofu/paneer as well as lemongrass, if you want to. I didn’t add them because I didn’t have any.
Mix the following ingredients together well, ensuring there are no lumps. Let it sit till it is ready for use in the recipe. Increase or decrease the proportions of the sauces and other ingredients for the sauce, as per personal preference.
About 4 tablespoons of Sriracha sauce (I used Thai heritage)
2 large spoons of chunky peanut butter (I used Sundrop)
2 tablespoons soya sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 fat cloves of garlic, very, very finely chopped
A 1/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and very, very finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup peanuts – dry roast them on a low flame till they turn crunchy, let them cool down completely, and then remove the skins. Pulse them coarsely in a mixer, without making a fine powder. Keep aside.
A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves – finely chopped. Keep aside.
Making the dish:
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a deep-bottomed pan.
- Put in the carrots first, and cook for about 2 minutes on a high flame.
- Turn the flame to medium and add the cabbage, and cook for a minute.
- Add the cucumber and capsicum and cook for a minute more. Ensure that the veggies aren’t very raw but not overly cooked either. There’s no need to add salt, as we will be adding the sauces later, and they will contain enough salt to take the veggies and the noodles through. Add more oil or sprinkle water if necessary to cook the veggies, ensuring they do not burn.
- When the veggies are done to your tastes, add the cooked noodles, turning the flame to high.
- Add the sauces, coarsely crushed peanuts, and chopped coriander. Mix everything well together. Cook for a minute or two on a high flame. Serve immediately.
Do you have fond memories of Thailand too? Do you dream of experiencing the country some time? Can you think of any experiences that we absolutely must have there, whenever we visit? Do tell me!
Also, I would love to hear from you about the simple Thai delights that you whip up in your kitchen!