Monday, August 1, 2011

Bow Thai Pasta

I realize the name is far from original. But pun or no, bow Thai pasta is a fitting description of this dish, Tuesday is National Night Out. How timely...a mere week after moving in we have reason to meet our neighbors. And I had an excuse to experiment with a pasta salad.

Mayo based pasta salads are a summer potluck staple, persistent as mosquitoes. I wanted to try something completely unexpected, yet with broad appeal. Thai-based flavors may not be as ubiquitous on the American BBQ scene as the typical mayo, mustard and dill based dressings, but many a person enjoys peanut butter!

the recipe is my own, vaguely based on a hot noodle dish I had at Azia Resturant.

Serves 6-8

The Ingredients:
The dressing
1 Tbsp tamarind paste, steeped in 1/3 cup boiling water
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1-2 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
juice of 1 lime
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup canned coconut milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
Srirachi to taste

The salad
1 lb farfalle pasta, cooked al dente
1/4 cup olive oil with a dash of sesame oil
2 medium carrots, finely julianned
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 cup sugar snap peas or shelled peas
chopped peanuts to garnish

The Process:
In a small bowl, cover the tamarind paste with boiling water, set aside for 5- 10 minutes. Break up the pulp with a fork or clean fingers. Pour the mixture through a sieve, discarding any fibrous pulp. (you may substitute lemon juice for the tamarind...start with about 2 Tbsp)

In a blender or food processor, combine all of the dressing ingredients, including the tamarind concentrate (or lemon juice). Blend until smooth.

In a large bowl gently toss the cooked pasta with the olive and sesame oils. Toss in the vegetables. Drizzle on enough dressing to moisten and toss the pasta to evenly coat (I used approximately half of the peanut the rest as a dip for satay). Chill until ready to serve.

The Review:
The block party was crawling with far more kids than I was expecting. Who knew so many little ones lived on our block! But much like the adults, they were adventurous when it came to food, and the peanut-y flavors were a big hit. And the leftovers made for an amazing lunch the next day.

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