Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thai Noodle Salad

In my early high school years (it seems like so long ago now!), my mum would occasionally take us to a take away shop after school to buy fish and chips, which we'd happily devour on our trip home- with me on one side of the back seat, my sister on the other, a fork each and the box between us. We'd eat slowly, trying hard not to make a mess onto the car seat and by the end up the car ride, the car would fill up with the smell of fried food.

From memory, the fish and chips from that shop were not particularly good- but anything deep fried after a tiresome school day would have tasted delicious by our standards. However, there was one thing that kept these few visits so memorable- the salad. Along with the fish and chips, we were allowed to choose any of the salads on offer, and I naturally went for the most exotic sounding one- the thai noodle salad (though I had no idea what thai flavours were).

The salad was made of long slippery cold noodles, coated in a thick sweet sauce, which tasted like sweet chilli sauce, only with a slight taste of peanut butter and a hint of saltiness. Though I can't remember exactly what it tastes like, I do remember it to be terribly addictive and delicious (you know, the type of delicious that keeps you up in the middle of the night just thinking about how good it tastes) and has been embedded into the memory since the first time I had it.

Quite simply, it was the most amazing salad I'd ever tasted!

Unfortunately, the shop was no longer in business by fourth time we went back, instead, being replaced another fish and chips shop. We ordered fish and chips again, but since this new shop didn't offer the thai noodle salad, we chose another salad. The fish and chips weren't bad, but without the salad, it just wasn't the same anymore. That was the last time we went back there.

I never found another thai noodle salad like that one again, so I attempted to make my own at home, after seeing this recipe. The dressing had sweet chilli sauce and peanut butter- the two things I actually remember tasting in the salad, so I had a go to see what it would taste like. Funnily enough, the dressing was very similar to the sauce I used on the Thai Chicken Pizza I made last year. I only followed the recipe for the dressing, and used whatever I had in my fridge for the rest of the salad (I used spaghetti because I remembered noodle in the original salad to be more spaghetti like :D)

And the verdict?? Although the salad was delicious in its own right (I could see where its high ratings were coming from), I was slightly disappointed that it didn't taste much like the one I had in mind. The peanut butter taste was a bit too strong and the sweet chilli taste too weak but it did spark a bit of a memory- and I had no problem gobbling the whole thing down myself! I'll definitely be trying this recipe again, but tweaking the ingredients a bit-so hopefully, I'll be back soon with an even better recipe to share! :D

Thai Noodle Salad
Recipe from here
Note: I halved the recipe, which made enough for myself- so this recipe should make around 2-4 servings, rather than the 20 stated on the website!

1 (12 ounce) package angel hair pasta
3 cups shredded napa cabbage
4 large carrots, shredded
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
1 bunch fresh green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons toasted black sesame seeds
8 ounces frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and drained

1/4 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons tahini
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
5 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Break pasta into small pieces and add to boiling water; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, cabbage, carrots, green, red and yellow bell peppers, 1/2 of the cilantro, 1/2 of the onions, and shrimp.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter, tahini, rice wine vinegar and sweet chile sauce. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Ten minutes before serving, toss the sauce with the cabbage mixture until evenly coated. Garnish with remaining cilantro, green onions, peanuts and black sesame seeds.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Eating Out in Newtown!

Whilst I could make a pretty extensive list of the things I don't like about uni, here are a couple of things I do like

1. Not having to do certain subjects I don't like *ahem* english *ahem*
2. Being able to finish early on some days (even if I don't get home until much later....)
3. Meeting some pretty awesome new friends :D
4. The clubs and societies, which are pretty interesting (oh...and the free food!)
5. The location of my uni

Let me explain. Despite the long trip to uni, I do love the fact that my uni is situated near some pretty interesting suburbs I'd read about before (on food blogs of course!) but had never any idea as to where they were. Being slightly adventurous, I headed off to Newtown for lunch with a friend (in the second week of uni), a suburb which I'd heard many wonderful things about. Not knowing exactly where it was, we caught the train to Newtown and wandered along the big street until we passed many thai restaurants, eventaully settling for this one, as it was already busy. Pad Kee Mao- $6.50

Inside, it was incredibly busy and loud with the chatter of the many groups of uni students amongst the background of the roaring kitchen. Most of the tables are already taken, and we were ushered to a small table. Luckily, the waitresses were too busy to take our order quickly- so I had plenty of time to choose what to order. The lunch special menu, which was incredibly cheap ($6.50), was also quite extensive with everything ranging from curries to stir fries. I settled for this Pad Kee Mao- soft rice noodles, stir fried with chilli and basil. It's a very generous size for its price, and I love the sweet sauce which coats the noodles- it's terribly addictive.

Black Rice Pudding

Half way through the meal, the waitresses offered us dessert, which we hesitantly took, not knowing whether or not we had to pay for it. This small serving of black rice pudding- a delicious combination of cooked black rice, mixed with coconut milk- was the perfect way to end the meal. Being a huge fan of coconut, I loved this dessert, and could have easily gulped down a few more servings!

Pad Kee Mao- $6.50

A week later, I find myself back at Newtown, this time with another friend who I've managed to find with the same break as me (yay!). Making sure to check the map before wandering off, we avoided the lengthy train trip and walk, to find that simply walking here from uni it much much quicker. This means we do arrive quite early- earlier than the restaurants open, which is why we find ourselves in this restaurant- which opened its doors a little earlier than the others.
After spending quite a while deciding over what to order, I settle for the Pad Kee Mao again, in hope for a similarly satisfying dish as last time. The dish arrives superfast, and looks promising, though quite different from last weeks- and it tastes so too. It uses less sauce and so it drier and has much less of a sweet flavour, with the emphasis more on the chilli and the basil. Though I do prefer the previous one better, I do enjoy this one too and would happily order it again.

Deep fried pork with rice $6.50

My friend's order of deep fried pork comes as a surprisingly large dish which looks so good I probably would have ordered it if I'd seen someone else eating it :) And it tasted as good as it looked- big pieces of pork, deep fried with a crispy crumbed batter were served with a sweet chilli sauce, along with a big mound of rice. My friend didn't manage to finish it all herself- I had not problem helping her out!

Thai la-Ong on Urbanspoon Newtown Thai II on Urbanspoon
Related Posts with Thumbnails