The flavours in this Asian Pasta Salad are achieved by the spices. We probably all remember that it was the ASIAN countries which had SPICES. These were discovered by explorers and then the race began to get a better route to China and other Asian countries, so that these rare spices could be brought to Western Europe for trade. The variety of spices from the Asian countries is astounding - from Cummin to lemongrass, from ginger to curry. These were all new to the western world and they loved the new flavours that could be created in their salads and pasta recipes with these spices.
Even today though, we North Americans tend to overlook most of these spices in favour of the "traditional" ones that our family recipes call for. However - we all enjoy eating Asian foods - we just don't create our own Asian dishes.
Well - now I have a simple pasta recipe for you that has all the punch of the Asian cuisine and uses basic condiments that are in everyone's pantry.
SOOOooo.....forget takeout – this quick Asian Pasta Salad packs all of the flavour of its restaurant cousins.
• 1/4 cup (60 ml) creamy peanut butter
• 2 tsp(30 ml) fresh ginger - peeled & grated
• 2 tbsp (30 ml) soy sauce
• 1 tbsp(15 ml) white vinegar
• 1 tsp 5 ml) Asian sesame oil
• 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) cayenne pepper sauce
• Salt to taste
• 1 package spaghetti noodles (substitute spaghettini or linguine pasta)
• 1 1/2 cup (360 ml) shredded or matchstick carrots
• 1 lb (450 gr) large shrimp - shelled and de-veined
• 4 oz (120 ml)) snow peas - strings removed
• 1/2 cup (120 ml) fresh cilantro - chopped, plus additional sprigs for garnish.
1. In small bowl, combine the peanut butter, grated ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, and cayenne pepper sauce. Set aside to allow ingredients to meld.
2. To a large pot of boiling water add the pasta noodles and cook for 4 minutes. Add the carrots and cook for another minute. Add the shrimp and snow peas and cook 2 more minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup (120 ml) pasta cooking water. Drain the noodles mixture into a large colander. Allow to cool and then transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
3. Meanwhile, add the reserved pasta water to the the peanut-butter mixture and with a wire whisk, beat until it is well blended.
4. Add the peanut sauce and chopped cilantro leaves to the noodle mixture in the bowl and toss until everything is evenly coated.
4. Serve garnished with cilantro sprigs (optional)
Yield: Serves 4
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