Thursday, September 29, 2011

Recipe: Vegetable Stir Fry with Noodles, Chicken, and Peanut Sauce

I love trying out new ingredients when I can (especially if I've never heard of it before).  One of my favorite places to shop or find these are at asian or middle eastern markets.  In this recipe the "noodles" I used were sweet potato thread.  As best as Google can tell me it is a Korean noodle made from sweet potato starch.  The cooking process is easy, and the texture is very different from the standard noodle.  They are slightly sweet, quite chewy, and mostly translucent. They threads are also textured with raised bumps like beads which hold the sauce and give a wonderful mouth-feel.  It was a wholly interesting food experience.  Even after using them I got the feeling I wasn't using them quite "right," but I was happy with the results.

If you can't find/don't want to use/are scared of the threads feel free to use any type of cellophane noodle or other stir fry noodle that you want.  To go with them I sauteed up some vegetables, threw in a bit of chicken, and did an in pan peanut sauce. Feel free to use any veggies that you like, snap peas, broccoli, etc. would work great.

The dish and noodles scream for some heat so I was fairly liberal with my cayenne, but go with what works for you.  P.S. The noodles don't photo particularly well...which is why they are mostly covered in the picture.

You will need:
1 pack Sweet Potato Thread
1 medium zucchini, cut into half moons
Half an onion, sliced into half moons
1 anaheim pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 bell pepper, thinly sliced
3/4lbs white button mushrooms, sliced thick or quartered
2 chicken breasts
1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water (take right before you drain the pasta)
Garlic Powder

You will either need two large pots or a large pot (for the pasta) and a large saute pan (for the chicken/veggies).  To start, season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and a dash of cayenne.  You can cook them as breasts and then cube them, or cube them and then cook them.  Once they are cooked (and chopped) set them aside on a paper towel.  At this point start getting the water in the large pot ready to boil for the sweet potato thread.

Wipe out some of the grease from the bottom of the pan, add a bit new olive oil and start cooking the vegetables.  I put in the zucchini first (about 2 minutes), then the bell pepper (2 more minutes), then the onions (3-4 minutes). I then added a good pinch of all the spices, stirred, and followed it with the mushrooms. Stir until everything is just cooked through and turn off the heat.

As soon as the water has reached a boil, salt heavily, and add the sweet potato thread, cook for 4-6 minutes until the noodles are done.  They will remain chewy but will be soft.  Reserve one cup of the pasta water and drain.

Add the pasta, chicken, and veggies into one of the big pots.  Add in the peanut butter and the pasta water and stir until the sauce is formed.  Taste for seasoning.  I needed to add more cayenne, garlic powder, and paprika to get it to the spice level I wanted. Stir again and serve immediately.

I have also found that when I make pasta I really like to make the vegetables the star (which, let's be honest, also makes the dish a lot healthier).  If you can find your veggies fresh or at a farmer's market vendor you like it can really change the quality of the dish.  

1 comment:

  1. I love adding coconut milk and red curry paste to peanut sauces I make - try it if you're looking for something to add in. Tamarind paste compliments pretty well, too :)