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.


Coraine said...

hey nice one! Feel so refreshed, by only just looking at it! Will be waiting for your new recipe =)

Coraine @ Life is Like a Long Journey

Viv said...

ohh i adore these type of noodle salads with tahini! too bad they werent what you had in mind but def looks very tasty!

Helen (Grab Your Fork) said...

It's always a challenge trying to recreate a dish from a childhood memory. I reckon you'll have this dish perfected in no time!

Kristy Sayer-Jones @ Southern In Law said...

This looks really yum! It's always hard recreating dishes from memory, sometimes I think we remember them as better than they actually were :P Hopefully you can perfect it soon :D

grub said...

hey Von! uni is so busy isn't it! i hope it's not eating away too much of your time (you do need a break once a while!!)

this salad looks quite nice and good for warm days. anything with peanut butter and its a win from me :)

looking forward to the day when you pefect it!

Cooking Gallery said...

I've never heard about this salad before but it looks and sounds really delicious!

Janine said...

This looks pretty awesome - I usually have thai mango/papaya salad but noodle salad looks quite awesome too! You can perhaps try adding some fish sauce or thai lime - my version of thai salad uses that to kick up the flavors a little :D

Lynn said...

I love Thai noodle salads! It's too bad it didn't taste the same, but it looks delicious!!

tigerfish said...

I like the dressing for the noodles! I can try that during summer. :)

Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) said...

It's always difficult trying to recreate a dish from memory, especially one which has other memories attached to it - like eating in the back seat of a car after school. Keep trying to perfect it, I say!

grace said...

fish and chips? not for me, but i love noodles! the colors here are great, and i love the memories associated with it!

Anonymous said...

This looks fantastic. Love that everything is the same size and there seems to be loads of sauce. Mmmm!

Maria said...

Yum! This sounds so aromatic and tasty, what a delicious dish!

Juliana said...

This noddle salad looks delicious, love the creamy peanut sauce with all the spices in it. Very inviting...hope you are having a great week :-)

Anh said...

I am now officially craving for fish and chips since you have said it here!

The noodles look good :)

Victor said...

That's a very simple and refreshing noodle dish. Love the flavors in it.

Dee D. said...

That looks absolutely delicious! Too bad it didn't taste the same though :/ Its really hard trying to create dishes from memories! I've tried and failed way too many times :/

sweetlife said...

i love noodles and thai falvors make our summer heat bearable!! yummy


Unknown said...

yum! cool and refreshing, perfect for summer!

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Thai food, is possibly the most popular adman cuisine after Japanese...and it is not difficult to understand why...the flavors are just amazing.

Andrea said...

Von, Thanks for coming to check out my blog and leave such a nice comment on my spaghetti and meatballs. I love your blog and this thai noodles look yummy. I love asian food and just learned how to make chow mein. Check it out when you have time and let me know what you think.

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