Despite the fact that I have a child that is very spice sensitive (will literally wipe her tongue with a napkin if she eats anything with black pepper), both of my children jump for joy when we order Thai food. I think they love the noodles. For reasons that I do not understand, my daughter is immune to the spice in Pad Thai, but overly sensitive to any seasoning (except salt). It’s a real dream scenario for a set of parents who love jalepenos, sriracha, and Frank’s Hot Sauce.
When we order Thai, I also rejoice, but my wallet isn’t as cheerful. It can get pretty expensive to order takeout (especially after ordering like 12 crab rangoon). I decided to try to make an Asian-inspired dish that I could attempt to pass off as Thai food to my kids. As and added bonus, if I make it at home, I do not have to leave my house to go pick it up!
Instead of trying to replicate Pad Thai sauce, I opted to try a peanut sauce. My kids LOVE peanut butter! Once when Sean was traveling, we ate PB&J’s for six meals in a row, without a complaint. You should really be impressed with my mom skills!
I thought for sure that if I could get them to help me create this dish AND it had peanut butter in it, they would scarf it down and ask for more! Research shows that when children help prepare dishes, they are more likely to sample and like the food. This recipe has a lot of steps, so it can be a good one to get kids involved. A and P got to thin peanut butter, mix the sauce, shred carrots, and help stir-fry.
Although the kids enjoyed this culinary adventure, they were not enthusiastic consumers of our final product. The first attempt at this dish (which is the one the kids helped out most) had too much thick sauce in my opinion. Sauces that make you want to guzzle water with dinner are not my favorite. I couldn’t blame them for not liking it.
After three tries, the final version is something I am excited to share. However, A and P wouldn’t eat it. I used up all of what I call “dinnertime goodwill”, the little bit of bargaining power that you have to get kids to try foods they are convinced they don’t like. I didn’t push them to accept today’s dish. They have already tried it two other times in about ten days. I will make it again though. Hopefully, they will have forgotten they didn’t like it. Next time they won’t get out of sampling a few bites.
Tell Us The Recipe, Already!
Ok, ok, but first here are a few notes about the recipe I’ve learned after three tries. This dish is very flexible. First, you can add whatever veggies you want. It’s your dish, so add what you like! I’ve used fresh, frozen, cooked leftovers, and a combination. Second, you should determine the intensity of the spice. If you like things mild, leave out the sriracha or add more if you love heat. As far as the noodles go, you can use more or less. They can be firm or soft. I like my noodles firm, preferring to soak them in boiling water for a short time, so the additional cooking after mixing with veggies doesn’t overcook them.
Today, I had to change a diaper right after the noodles went into the water. Noodles were a little too mushy for my taste tonight, but what can you do? Babies with poopy diapers don’t wait because you want al dente noodles. Last, if there is a particular spice you can’t live without in your Asian dishes, try adding it to the sauce. As written, it suits my taste buds. I’m taking a page from Mr. Delish’s book and FEELING my cooking a little more. Make your taste buds happy using ingredients you love.
Asian Inspired Noodles with Peanut Sauce
- 4 oz Rice Noodles
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp Sriracha Sauce optional
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes optional
- 1 tbsp oil, high heat
- 1 each bell pepper, any color sliced
- 2 each large carrot grated
- 1 cup broccolli florets
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1/2 each medium zucchini chopped
- 1 each egg whisked
- 1/4 tsp sesame oil
- 1 bunch cilantro chopped
Cook Rice Noodles according to package directions.
While noodles are cooking, make sauce and veggies.
In medium bowl, combine peanut butter and warm water. Stir until smooth.
Add soy sauce, cider vinegar, sugar, ginger, sriracha sauce, and red pepper flakes to thinned peanut butter. Stir until sugar dissolves.
In skillet or wok, add 1 tbsp oil. Add broccoli, pepper, and carrots. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes. Add zucchini. Stir fry until zucchini are crisp (1-2 minutes). Add garlic and stir fry for an additional 30 seconds.
In a separate bowl, whisked egg and 1/2 tsp sesame oil.
In skillet or wok, push veggies to side. Pour in egg mixture. Scramble egg. Stir and combine with veggies.
Add cooked noodles to skillet/wok. Pour sauce over veggies and noodles. Stir to evenly cover. Top with cilantro and serve.