I didn’t start cooking seriously until I bought my first home. I always loved to eat, but the responsibilities of homeownership meant that I couldn’t go out as much as I wanted anymore. So I tried recreating some of my favorite dishes at home, testing the recipes on my super cool roommate. And once I met B (the boyfriend, now husband) I began to cook even more, mostly just to impress him. Apparently it worked. That was such an exciting time in my life – I just bought a home in a soon-to-be super-hot Chicago neighborhood, got a big promotion at work, met my future husband (!) and really grew up. This recipe for Spicy Peanut Noodles With Shrimp And Veggies is one of my favorites from when I was becoming a more adventurous cook. This is one of those super easy and delicious dinners for impressing your new boyfriend or maybe just getting your kid to eat their veggies.
I know it may sound weird that I’m feeding my 3 year old a spicy dish, but it really isn’t. The level of sriracha in this recipe can be adjusted easily, but she can handle a bit of heat. She loves intense flavors and rarely complains about spiciness. So we don’t skip the hot sauce in recipes, we just dial it back a bit. Be cautious with the sriracha – just remember, you can always add more, but you can’t take it away.
The sauce on these noodles is insanely good and works on just about everything. I love noodles with this dish, but you can easily serve the sauce on rice with stir-fried veggies. And I love how easy shrimp are to use, but you can easily substitute other proteins instead. Leftover shredded chicken is great and I love using firm tofu. Use whatever size shrimp you have, or whatever is on sale.
The veggies in this dish are critical because they add crunch and color. I know it is kind of obnoxious to use part of a package of edamame or 1/2 a red pepper, so use what works for you. I like to mix it up – some days this will include fresh spinach, or maybe shredded cabbage. The important thing is to keep a variety of colors in the mix. Eat the rainbow!
This is a really fun dish to cook with kids. Even though she’s only 3, Z is able to help a lot. Her favorite part is crushing the peanuts on top. Put them in a sandwich bag, seal and pound on them with a jar. The sauce is fun too because she helps me measure and stir together all of the ingredients. And while I usually prefer to use fresh ingredients, tubes of fresh ginger work quite well here. And don’t forget to have the kids pull the leaves off of the branches of cilantro! Sure, finely chopped cilantro is nice, but Z does a great job of tearing the leaves into little pieces. Z also likes crushing peanuts to sprinkle on top. She was so focused on the tasks that I couldn’t get her to smile!
I forgot to mention one thing: this dish is delicious served hot, cold or at room temperature. Crazy, right? But that makes it a perfect work lunch, make ahead dinner or even your contribution to a potluck.
|Spicy Peanut Butter Noodle with Shrimp and Veggies|| |
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sriracha - more or less to taste
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- ½ lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
- ¼ cup neutral oil
- 1 lb fresh or frozen Chinese egg noodles (substitute spaghetti if not available)
- 2-3 cups of chopped veggies
- Edamame – shelled
- Carrots – sliced or shredded
- Bell pepper – sliced thin
- Peapods – sliced thin
- Shredded cabbage
- Sliced mushrooms
- Fresh baby spinach leaves
- ½ cup dry roasted peanuts, crushed, for garnish
- Cilantro for garnish
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the noodles
- Cook noodles per the directions on the package and set aside
- Heat oil in a large pan
- Add shrimp and cook until they are opaque, stirring frequently
- Scoop out the shrimp and set aside.
- Add veggies into the same pan and toss regularly until they are wilted but still firm
- Using the same pot used for the noodles, toss the drained noodles, shrimp, veggies and sauce together until everything is thoroughly coated.