Spicy Thai Noodles

Spicy Thai Noodles
Spicy Thai Noodles

It’s funny the way that different cultures place emphasis on certain components of a meal but fundamentally, food is really just food, isn’t it? Vegetables, proteins, starches, sauces to tie everything together… all of these elements are combined and like language, sound (flavor) is interpreted and has meaning depending on your understanding of that particular dialect.

Case in point today? “Noodles.” We love a dish that’s fun to say AND fun to eat. Generally speaking, noodles can often be linked in the western world with our pasta-loving Italian family. There’s no doubt that noodles are an enormous part of Italian cuisine, and almost a part of the sociological experience of being Italian, but it’s also an enormous part of Asian cuisine as well. You may only associate rice with Asian food, but let your horizons expand! As far as its place in Thai food specifically, noodles started gaining traction during World War II (war and food shortages are unfortunately not at all uncommon places for people to start looking at new ingredients to incorporate into their diet). Though China has a deep history with wheat noodles, Thai diet was mostly centered around rice until it started embracing dishes like Pad Thai. Our Spicy Thai Noodle dish we’re focusing on today has a few shared elements with Pad Thai- it’s full of complex and vibrant flavors, it has a decent amount of nutty fullness, and it’s also vegetarian as Pad Thai traditionally is.

Our recipe calls for any long, skinny noodle, so no need to go hunting for anything too sophisticated- we used a basic whole wheat spaghetti noodle. Whole wheat makes a great option because it has a little bit of “toothiness” to it, and it also has a bit of flavor that helps make it a bit more a part of the rest of the food, and not just an empty vessel for the other flavors. As far as flavors, we have a symphony of really conscious layering that means that Every. Single. Bite. Was awesome. You know how they talk about how important it is to get a “perfect bite” that has a little bit of all the ingredients on your fork/spoon? All the bites were like that with this dish. They were all perfect bites. How did Chef Jeff do it? We’re going to tell you and though the ingredients list is a little long, the procedure on how to prepare this isn’t.

To start with our oil and flavor base, Jeff used two different oils to serve to separate functions. Vegetable oil has a far higher smoke point than other oils and is neutral in flavor so that it wouldn’t shut out the sesame oil’s robust flavor. Part of the “Spicy” in Spicy Thai Noodles? A whole Thai chile that’s heated up as the oil is brought to temperature for the rest of the dish. If you like your Spicy Thai Noodles SPICY Spicy Thai Noodles, break up your chile and leave it in there! If not, pull out the chile as you build the rest of your dish. Once your oil is sufficiently warmed and fragrant, you’ll add your carrots, stirring for a few minutes, than the garlic and scallions… we’re not adding everything all at once because the garlic and scallions are a bit more delicate than the carrots, and over cooking them could cause them to burn and add an unpleasant bitterness to the dish. While this is going on, you’ll whip up your sauce using two pretty cool products we have; Our Pineapple Juice Powder, which, as its name suggests, is literally just dehydrated pineapple juice and our Spicy Thai Seasoning. Spicy Thai Seasoning, kind of like our Korean Beef Seasoning, is sometimes unfairly pigeonholed into being thought of as being limited to only one specific application… but for Spicy Thai Noodles, it would be a bit of a waste to try and use anything else, huh? Hand blended with garlic, onion, paprika, lemon, coriander, hot cayenne, white pepper, basil, lemongrass, and dried cilantro, Spicy Thai Seasoning really is the perfect complement to the rest of our ingredients here as the flavors of lemon, lemongrass, and basil help to emphasize the acidity of the fresh lime we garnished with, and the hot cayenne and white pepper help ratchet up the “zip” of our dish. Where the Spicy Thai Seasoning adds fire, the Pineapple Juice Powder and honey help cool down the edges a bit, and the subtle sweetness of the sauce played well with the nutty notes in our whole wheat noodles and the sesame seeds. We make (and eat) a lot of food in a weekly basis back in our kitchen, but this was one of Penny’s, our Director of All Things Creative, favorite dishes we’ve made all year. Try it and see what all the fuss is about.

 Print Recipe

Prep Time: 5 min.
Cooking Time: 10 min.
Cuisine: Thai
Ingredients:
  • 8 oz Thai noodles or pasta such as whole wheat spaghetti or linguine, cooked and drained well
  • 1 Thai chile
  • 1 Tbsp Vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp Honey
  • 3 Tbsp Rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp Low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Pineapple Juice Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Spicy Thai Seasoning
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced fine
  • 3 Scallions, chopped
  • 1 Medium sized carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • ¼ Cup Cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp Black Sesame Seeds
  • 1 tsp White Sesame Seeds
  • Lime slices (optional)
Instructions:
  1. In a Wok or skillet, heat vegetable and sesame oils over medium high. Add whole Thai chile while the oil is heating.
  2. Add carrot and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and scallions and cook for one more minute.
  3. Add honey, rice vinegar, soy sauce, pineapple powder, Spicy Thai Seasoning, and sesame seeds and mix well. Cook for 2 minutes, mixing continuously. Remove Thai chile.
  4. Turn off heat and add noodles. Mix well.
  5. Plate noodles and garnish with cilantro and lime slices.
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