12 August 2014

Lunchbox Ideas : Vegetable Peanut Noodles

Lunchbox ideas : Veggie and peanut noodles


"So what's for my lunchbox today?" 
The son comes running upstairs when I am clicking a photo of something (food, of course). 
"Oh, noooooodles! I can't wait for lunch time, mummy."

And just like that this post lands up on the blog, a kid approved lunchbox - noodles tossed in a bunch of colourful vegetables and a special dressing that makes it all juicy and slurpy and literally snowed over by crushed peanuts.

I teach this recipe of an Asian noodle salad in my Zesty Salads workshop, but I must say the inspiration of this is a recipe from Hungry and Excited, Revati's foodblog. The difference being, the vegetables here are sautéed instead of the raw veggies in my salad. Kids find it difficult to digest too much raw food and the sautéed- slightly softened vegetables work best, while also tasting even better, especially when it comes to bell peppers. 

The dressing that I've used here is so versatile, it goes as a topping on noodles, as a salad dressing, as a dipping sauce for Vietnamese rice paper rolls and even for the fried spring rolls. Get the balance of sweet-sour-salty-sweet (and spicy, if you wish) right and you are ready to roll!


Veggie - Peanut noodles

I got a whole bunch of stuff from local Asian stores in the China Town area of Melbourne during my trip in March, and it's time I stopped hoarding them and started using them up, or it will be just another case of expired food going into the land-fills. 

I've used what's called dan-dan noodles for this dish. They are super thin, cook very quickly and very light and delicate. The are called dandan because in earlier times, vendors (in China) would hang them from poles (dan dan) and walk around to sell them. I quite like this little story behind the noodles, reminds me of 'Banana walas' in Matunga who would hang two baskets from a pole, which was supported on their shoulders and they would sell all varieties of bananas, banana flower, stem etc, peddling their wares from building to building.

You can use whatever noodles you have readily available - regular hakka / egg noodles / soba (buckwheat) noodles / rice noodles or even our South Indian instant rice vermicelli (sevai).

Now coming to the best part about this dish. It tastes great cold too, which makes it perfect for lunch boxes, make ahead lunches and even dinner parties. A huge platter of this noodle dish is such an eye pleaser with its rich colours and textures.

For lots more lunchbox ideas, do follow my Facebook Page - Saffron Trail and Instagram (@saffrontrail) - these are updated more regularly on a real time basis :)


Lunchbox, lunch, dinner or snack - a dish for any meal




Recipe for Vegetable and Peanut Noodles / Noodles for lunchbox
Serves 2

Ingredients
200 grams noodles 
1 tbsp peanut oil
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 small red bell pepper
1 small onion
1 small green bell pepper
1 small carrot
1/4 tsp salt

Dressing
2-3 tbsp finely chopped coriander
2 tbsp soy sauce (if light soy, then use 3 tbsp)
3-4 tbsp lemon juice or 2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp chilli flakes 
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)

1/4 cup crushed peanuts (roasted and then coarsely powdered or crushed)

Directions

Finely chop the garlic. Peel, halve and slice the onions. Chop the bell pepper and carrot into sticks.

Place a wok / kadai on the flame with 1 tbsp oil. Once oil is heated through, add garlic, onions, bell peppers and carrots. Add a pinch of salt and allow them to soften a bit, but not fully cooked. They should retain their colour and some of the texture. Remove from flame and keep aside. Transfer the veggies into a large bowl.

Fill a big pot or wok with water. Once it comes to a boil, add 1 tsp salt, the noodles and bring to a boil again. Cook as per instructions on the packet. In this case, after boiling for 2 minutes, drain the noodles and wash under running cold water, so they stop cooking and don't stick to each other. Add this to the veggies in the bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.

Pour this dressing on top of the noodles and veggies and toss gently using finger tips.
Top with crushed peanuts and toss once more. 

SERVING INSTRUCTIONS
If serving on a platter then reserve some of the peanuts and coriander and add on the top as a garnish. If not serving immediately, keep the noodles and veggies tossed in dressing in an airtight container in the fridge. Toss in peanuts just before serving.

5 comments:

Megha Shrimali said...

shall definitely try this over the weekend! :)

Nandita Pai Shirali said...

Nandita... this was real yum! I made this today (with minor tweaks) for my lunch and I absolutely loved the simplicity and taste! Thanks for sharing this, will be a regular in my menu from now :)

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