Spicy beef noodle salad

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If you’re looking for a noodle salad recipe to take you through summer and beyond then look no further! In the recent warm weather that we have had here in the UK this noodle salad was perfect for a light but filling dinner. I have used beef here however feel free to play around with the ingredients as prawn, chicken or even crispy tofu would also be delicious here. The dressing can be made in advance to allow the flavours to develop if you have the time; simply make it, cool it and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

Ingredients- serves 3-4
For the dressing:

1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp fresh ginger- grated
2 garlic cloves- grated
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tsp galangal paste
Juice of a small lime

For the rest:
Thick cut rump steak- approx. 400g
2 nests of vermicelli rice noodles
Handful of unsalted peanuts- toasted in a dry pan
Bag of beansprouts
1 large carrot- ribboned or grated
Bag of radishes- finely sliced
Fresh coriander- roughly chopped
Fresh mint- roughly chopped

1.Start off by making the dressing; simply combine all the listed ingredients for the dressing and stir well. Place in a pan over a low heat and simmer until thickened; remove from the heat and set aside. Remember to taste the sauce to ensure that it is to your liking and then adjust if needed.

2. Soak the noodles as per the packet instructions; drain well and use scissors to randomly cut the noodles so they are easier to eat in the salad.

3. Heat a frying pan to high ready for the steak. Season the steak and cook to your liking. Remove the steak and rest for the same amount of time that it was cooked for. Use a sharp knife and thinly slice the steak.

4. Take a large bowl and combine the noodles with the carrot, beansprouts, radishes and the dressing. Add the sliced steak, peanuts and fresh herbs and toss well. Serve on a large platter, if you like.

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Prawn and squash red Thai curry

When life gives you plenty of frozen king prawns and leftover butternut squash then the answer is to use them to create a beautifully fragrant Thai curry. Now for a word about the curry paste: yes, the ingredients list does look lengthy but it really is worth the effort! The paste can be made in large quantities ahead of time and then kept in the fridge. You will need the equivalent of around 2 tbsp worth of paste if you are cooking this for 2 people and simply double the amount for 4.

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Ingredients- serves 2
200g raw peeled king prawns- deveined
Half a small butternut squash- cut into bite sized chunks
300ml coconut milk
100ml chicken stock

For the red curry paste
6 whole dried red chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tbsp galangal- chopped finely
1 tbsp lemonsgrass- chopped finely
1 tsp peppercorns
5 garlic cloves- finely grated
1 inch piece of fresh ginger- finely grated
2 shallots- finely chopped
1 lime- zest finely grated
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt

1. Start off by making the curry paste by toasting the coriander and cumin seeds in a small pan over a medium heat. As the spices start to release their fragrance, remove from the heat and set aside to cool slightly before grinding in a spice grinder or pestle and mortar. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine to form a thick paste.

2. Heat a small amount of vegetable or groundnut oil in a wok or wide frying pan and fry off the curry paste for a couple of minutes. Add the coconut milk and stock and stir well to combine. Increase the heat and bring to the boil before lowering to a simmer. I covered the pan and simmered it for around half an hour so it begins to reduce down and gives the flavours time to the flavours develop.

3. The chunks of butternut squash will take around 10 minutes for bite sized pieces so pop them in when you’re ready and simmer until almost tender. Check the chunks by piercing them with a knife; if it sinks in easily then it is ready! Towards the end of cooking, add in the prawns and simmer until they are cooked through. Serve the curry immediately with some extra chopped red chilli or a little freshly chopped coriander if you like and dig in. This is also delicious with sticky Thai rice which is easily accessible in supermarkets now.

King prawn and squash red curry- delicate, fragrant and oh so delicious so get cooking!