As promised, this week we are diverting from the Italian flavor profile to something completely new — Far Eastern.
For those of you who can’t read a map, that refers to China, Japan, Vietnam, the Koreas, etc. I am hesitant to group these countries into an all-encompassing ‘Asian’ term because Asia contains so many countries that house cuisines which resemble nothing of what I will be preaching about today.
Nevertheless, when I think of Far Eastern cuisine, I think of soy sauce, rice vinegar, chilis, ginger and green onions. These are simply the ingredients that I find easy to work with and readily available in Western grocery stores.
This dish could not be further from authentic Far Eastern cuisine. I adapted it from a slightly simpler recipe I learned while backpacking. The adaptations I’ve made to the base recipe include a slightly more flavorful peanut sauce and the addition of fresh vegetables — you obviously can’t keep fresh cilantro for a week-long backpacking trip.
Ingredients (1 person, 25 minute prep)
Pasta and Veggies:
- 2 cups — Penne pasta
- 1 — Sliced bell pepper
- 1 handful — Sliced cherry tomatoes
- 1 handful — Sliced carrots
- 2 — Sliced green onion stalks
- 3 tbsp. — Chopped cilantro (for garnish)
- 1 tbsp. — Canola oil (for sautéing)
- 2 tsp. — Salt
- 3 tbsp. — Peanut butter
- 3 tbsp. — Soy sauce
- 3 tbsp. — Rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp. — Water
- 1 tbsp. — Sugar
- 2 tsp. — Sesame oil or Canola oil
- 2 tsp. — Ginger paste
- 1 tsp. — Sriracha
- 1/2 tsp. — Mustard
- Fill a small pot with more than enough water to cover the uncooked pasta. Add the salt and heat on high until the water is boiling (~ five-seven minutes).
- While waiting for the water to boil, preheat a small sauté pan on medium heat (~ two minutes).
- Add the canola oil to the pan, then add the carrots and begin to sauté.
- At this point, your water should be boiling. Add the pasta to the pot, wait for the water to boil again and then cook on medium-low heat for about seven minutes.
- Sauté the carrots for about five minutes, then add the sliced peppers, continuing to sauté.
- To make the sauce, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, water, sugar, sesame oil, ginger paste, Sriracha and mustard. Vigorously mix until smooth.
- When the pasta is finished cooking, drain immediately and stir the peanut sauce, sautéed carrots and peppers, cherry tomatoes and green onions into the pan.
- Heat for a minute or so, and finally top your dish with the chopped cilantro.
As always, hit me up with questions, comments or concerns,