Recipe: Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles and Chicken

Spicy Thai peanut noodles, with or without chicken, is one of my favorite pasta dishes. I was introduced to cold spicy peanut noodles one hot summer in Boston and have kept it in my repertoire ever since. This is a very rich, spicy dish that has great texture and "mouth feel" and is as good hot as it is cold. The sweet and salty peanut flavor is perfectly accented by the tangy ginger and strong garlic. The honey adds a bit of sweetness typical of Thai food and the sliced cucumber adds a cool, crisp crunch that cuts the heat from the hot red curry paste. This one is truly addictive - and really good for you too! Loaded with high-quality protein and slow-burning carbs, these spicy noodles keep your energy up for hours!

Bowl of noodles with spicy Thai peanut sauce, garnished with julienned cucumber

This spicy Thai peanut noodle recipe is an easy and refreshing change to the usual tomato-based or cheese-based pasta sauces. This one is kid-friendly too! Sweet, salty and peanut-ty rich. Garnished with fun and finger-friendly strips of cool, crisp cucumber. Mmmm. What's not to love? Just adjust the spiciness to suit the level your family likes.

Personally, I like this dish with loads of hot red curry paste. The spiciness forces me to slow down and savor every delicious bite - meaning I am satisfied with just a small portion! Helps me stay on track with my healthy lifestyle while still enjoying pasta! For an added nutritional boost, try it with whole wheat or rice pasta. With the caramel-colored peanut sauce, no one will be able to see the difference!

My version uses ingredients that most American cooks already have on hand: garlic, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce and cucumber. The fresh ginger root can be found in the produce section of your local grocery store and the chile paste or hot red curry paste can usually be found in the Asian aisle. Buy just what you need for this recipe and give it a try. Once opened, the sauces keep well when stored correctly - just follow the directions on the jar. Ginger, like garlic, keeps well in a dry, dark cabinet for quite a while. Believe me, once you've tasted fresh ginger, you'll want to make it a regular staple. It's great for baking too! Here is a quick video on how to cut and store fresh ginger root.

The video below is a no-cook method and uses two additional Asian ingredients: fish sauce and coconut milk. They may seem foreign at first but, if you like the Thai flavor profile, they will quickly become staples in your pantry. Again, start with just enough for the recipe and experiment. Once opened, be sure to use the coconut milk immediately. Unsweetened is best.

Fish sauce is an amber-colored liquid extracted from the fermentation of fish with sea salt. It is used as a condiment in various cuisines. Fish sauce is a staple ingredient in numerous cultures in Southeast Asia and the coastal regions of East Asia, and featured heavily in Cambodian, Philippine, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine.
Coconut milk (canned) is the liquid that comes from the grated meat of a coconut. The color and rich taste of the milk can be attributed to the high oil content. Most of the fat is saturated fat and is one of the new "hot" health foods! Look for the unsweetened, light version. Coconut milk is a very popular food ingredient used in Southeast Asia, especially in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

Video: No-Cook Peanut Sauce

The video above shows a no-cook variation of the peanut sauce. Great as a dipping sauce too! Look for the Thai ingredients in the Asian food section of your grocery store. 

RECIPE FROM VIDEO

Ingredients:

2 fresh limes (enough for 3 tablespoons of juice)

1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, minced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1.5 cups of creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup of coconut milk

3 tablespoons of water

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon hot sauce

Directions

Combine all the above ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until smooth. Add chopped cilantro to garnish. Enjoy!

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: Serves 4 for dinner, 6 for lunch, 8 as a starter

Spicy Thai Peanut Noodles with Chicken

This sweet and spicy pasta dish offers up tons of protein in a rich, savory sauce that is super satisfying. For a healthy vegetarian version, skip the chicken. Excellent served hot or cold! This is a rich dish so a little goes a long way. Smaller servings sizes are advised.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pasta (fettuccini, linguini fini or angel hair)
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 3 tbs fresh ginger root, minced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 6 tbs crunchy peanut butter (natural, no sugar added)
  • 3 tbs honey (less if using regular peanut butter)
  • 2-4 tsp hot chile paste or hot red curry paste, to taste
  • 1 tbs fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts, dry roasted, unsalted (more if using smooth peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup julienned cucumbers OR
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions (scallions) for garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of cold water to a rolling boil.
  2. While the pasta water is heating, chop the chicken breast into bite-size pieces. Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a small pot and add the chicken. Poach the chicken until just cooked, 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.
  3. Mince the garlic and ginger and julienne the cucumber.
  4. Combine the garlic, ginger, chicken and broth, soy sauce, peanut butter, honey and chili paste in a medium saucepan and heat through. Use a splash of water to thin it if the sauce is too thick, adding a little at a time and stirring well to combine.
  5. When the water is at a rolling boil, add a generous amount of salt (1-2 tablespoons) and drop in the pasta. Cook according to directions until al dente (still firm), stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Carefully reserve 1/2 cup or so of the pasta water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return it to the hot pot, off the heat. Add the peanut sauce, using a spatula to scrape up every drop. (alternately, add the pasta to the saucepan and toss to coat.)
  6. Stir to combine and heat through. Add a splash or two of the reserved pasta water to smooth out the sauce. The starch from the pasta water will help the sauce become satiny smooth. Garnish with chopped peanuts and onions or cucumbers and serve immediately.

Notes

I prefer to use natural, unsalted crunchy peanut butter with no added sugar as well as low sodium chicken stock (or homemade) and low sodium soy sauce so I can control the salt and sugar content of the meal. If using creamy peanut butter, add an extra 1/4 cup of the chopped peanuts to the sauce for crunch. If using regular peanut butter, you may want to skip or reduce the amount of honey in the recipe.

http://www.MyFavoritePastaRecipes.com/articles/pasta-recipes/recipe-spicy-thai-peanut-noodles-chicken/

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