Thai-Inspired Shrimp Noodle Bowl

When asked where I get ideas for recipes, I usually say Foodgawker. It is probably the most-used app on my cell phone (sorry, Facebook) and it makes me want to cook all the time. Which is understandable because all of the chefs featured on the website are crazy-talented and super creative. Hence, the perfect inspiration.

Though there is another website I frequent often, one that is not necessarily known for its food recipes but IS known for chomping up ample amounts of free time worldwide: I’m talking about Buzzfeed.

I did not realize Buzzfeed has a Food section until a couple of weeks ago, but now that I know it exists my internet surfing has gravitated towards it, clicking on articles such as “How You Eat On Instagram Vs. How You Eat In Real Life” and “23 Easy and Inexpensive Meals You Can Make With Pita Bread” until I forget what time it is and that I should have been in bed hours before.

The article that I received this inspiration from happened to be “25 Dinners That Are Basically Impossible to Mess Up“, and the dish that made it to the dinner table was the Asian Noodle Bowl from Minimalist Baker. The recipe really is extremely simple, and completely versatile. For example, the original recipe calls for tofu but we decided to grill some shrimp. We also added some sliced red and yellow bell peppers for the extra kick of color, and cucumber just because.

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When we dug into our Asian Noodle Bowls for dinner, my fiancé and I went silent. We quietly devoured our bowls, not speaking until we went in for seconds. And when we did speak we both said something along the lines of “Wow this stuff is unbelievably good“. It’s the combination of crunchy vegetables, warm noodles, and that peanut ginger dressing! Ah, so yummy, and such a quick and healthy homemade meal.

Don’t wait another day. Make the Asian Noodle Bowl tonight!

To get the recipe, click here.

 

 

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Home Sweet (Thai-food filled) Home

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The past two days have been extremely relaxing and comforting for me. Nothing beats being home. As much as I enjoy my city life, I was ready to get a break from the craziness of it all. Going back to Cali for a few days is just what I needed. I have spent a lot of time lying around the house, catching up with old friends, and running in the fresh mountain air.

Another thing I have been doing a lot of is eating. Whenever I come home, my parents spoil me with a smorgasbord of food. My dad cooks every Persian meal I could ever imagine, and some I did not even know existed. My mom is currently into make meals using the fresh produce in her vegetable garden. We are talking lots of fresh tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and eggplant. Every meal in this household is a feast. And you thought Thanksgiving was only one day in November.

Anyways, with leftovers from dinner comes creative food options for lunch. And my brother Marco and I were craving Thai.

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I never could have anticipated my infatuation with Thai food. I was first introduced to this lovely cuisine on a family trip to Thailand. I was in the eighth grade at the time, and my initial fear of the spicy, sweet, and unique dishes gave way to an adoration of all things Thai. My love for Thai cuisine has led to regular visits at Thai restaurants and frequent cooking experiments with Thai ingredients.

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That’s where this sandwich comes in. I took the usual suspects found in Thai cuisine (sweet chili sauce, peanuts, scallions) and incorporated them into the cheesiest, gooiest, most delectable sandwich that has even come out of the family panini press. Let’s put it this way, my chatterbox of the brother said not a word as he devoured his Thai panini. Yep, this panini is that good. It comes highly recommended, from my household to yours!

Thai Chicken Panini (serves 2)

Ingredients for Panini

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 mozzarella ball
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 4 Tbsp Thai Peanut Sauce (see below)
  • 4 large slices Sourdough bread
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium tomato (optional)

Thai Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2-3 Tbsp ground fresh chili paste
  • 2 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Grill and slice the chicken breasts. Set aside. 
  2. Heat panini press to medium heat. Butter one side of each sourdough slice.
  3. For the Thai Peanut Sauce (which I will warn you is irresistibly good), combine all the ingredients for the sauce and mix well. 
  4. Place one sourdough slice butter side down on panini press. Spread 1 tablespoon of the Thai Peanut Sauce on sourdough. Next, layer the mozzarella and chicken on top. drizzle another tablespoon of Thai Peanut Sauce over the chicken. Top with shredded carrot, scallions, and tomatoes (optional ingredient). Place another layer of mozzarella and the other slice of sourdough on top. 
  5. Close panini press and warm the sandwich on medium heat until the cheese is nice and melty (the trick is to go low and slow…be patient!)
  6. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients for the other sandwich. Serve with fresh cilantro and extra peanut sauce. 

Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry

I have always been a big fan of flavor. This dish perfectly exemplifies that. I am always craving spicy Thai food, the spicier the better. While this curry isn’t the spiciest in the world it certainly does the trick, and all without having to buy a thousand different spices. It also took only about 30 minutes to make. The trick: preparation in advance. Chop all of your vegetables before you heat the stove. Be super organized and a food nerd like me and put every ingredient in a separate little bowl to be poured in at exactly the right time I felt like I was hosting a show on the Food Channel. (Hey, fake it til ya make it, right?). I have served this curry so many ways: on top of rice, pasta, quinoa, even by itself like a stew. It’s easy, fast to make, and tastes impressively good. So next time you’re picking up the takeout Thai restaurant menu, pick up this recipe instead. You’ll thank me later.

Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry (makes about 5 servings)

Ingredients

  • 15 frozen shrimp, defrosted
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Thai Red Curry pasta (change this based on spice preference)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced ginger (or shredded fresh ginger)
  • 1/2 cup broccoli
  • 1/2 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups kale, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, rinsed and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and stir together for a couple minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk and red curry paste. Tasta and adjust spicy factor to your preference. Add chopped broccoli, mushroom, kale, garlic, and ginger to the saucepan. Stir well and let the vegetables wilt for about a minute or two. Add the coconut milk/curry mixture into the saucepan, along with the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper to preference and add scallions. Turn the heat on low and let the curry simmer for 5 minutes, or until all the ingredients are warmed through. Serve over grain of choice.

Optional ideas: use chicken instead of shrimp, add different vegetables (sliced potato, red bell peppers).