Dad and I met Fr Andrew and Stephen today for brunch. The weather is a rather lovely 28 deg here in Manhattan and we went to 230 5th where we basked in the glorious sunshine and amazing views. We then came back here and went on to the roof where we again basked in the glorious sunshine and amazing views until it became too hot and we were worried about getting fried. In the course of the conversation, the horrendous winter and spring that you guys in the UK have had was mentioned more than once. Whilst we read your temperatures, saw the comments on Facebook, heard the complaints, and said to many people such things as ‘oh they’re having a terrible weather spell in London – Andrew’s had the heating on for over 6 months’, I don’t think we really have taken on board what the lack of sunshine does to you.
The winters here are certainly colder than in the UK, but we didn’t have a really sustained cold spell. There were only a couple of snow storms. The summers also are hotter than at home – that’s what comes from being on the same latitude as Madrid, I suppose, and from not being a small-ish island – but it’s a dry heat. (Ignore the people who say it’s terribly humid – they didn’t spend five years in Hong Kong).
So I have been trying to think of a dish that makes me think of warmer places; that is easy to make once you’ve prepared the vegetables; that is easy to adapt if you have dislikes or allergies; and that is quick when you’ve trudged down from Finchley Road in the rain wondering why on earth you aren’t in South Africa, or Australia, or Virginia, or even New York.
Today’s recipe is a Thai dish, the very name of which will cause Hallie and Ellie to think ‘this is no use to me’, but hang on, substitutions can be made, omissions are ok too (particularly if you’d die if you ate the ingredient). Today’s recipe is Prawn and Peanut Noodles, a classic Thai dish which for me conjures the sticky heat of Bangkok, the beautiful beaches of Phuket and the clear mountain air of Chiang Mai. The recipe originally came from a Thai cookery course that I did in Hong Kong and I haven’t changed it other than to suggest a substitution for the prawns, and to add a comment at the end.
Prawn and Peanut Noodles – Ingredients
(Serves 2 as a main – 4 as a side dish)
- 2 spring onions, roughly chopped
- 50 g / 2 oz roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- 125 g / 4 oz medium egg noodles
- 15 ml / 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 15 ml / 1 tbsp nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
- 15 ml / 1 level tbsp sugar
- 2.5 ml / 1/2 level tsp chilli powder (I use medium heat but it’s up to you)
- 60 ml / 4 tbsp oil (I use corn oil)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 egg
- 50 g / 2 oz bean sprouts (I have to confess that I have never actually weighed the bean sprouts. Since they go off so quickly, I tend to add the whole bag)
- 125 g / 4 oz king prawns cooked / 125 g / 4 oz shredded cooked chicken
- 2 level tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Soak the noodles for 4 min in boiling water then rinse and drain.
Mix together the lemon juice, nam pla, sugar and chilli powder and put to one side.
Heat the oil in a wok (or large non-stick frying pan). Add the crushed garlic and cook until they are just turning brown. Break in the egg, and stir to scramble. Add noodles and mix well. Add the lemon juice mix. Keep stirring.
Add spring onions, peanuts, bean sprouts, prawns/chicken and coriander.
Heat through thoroughly. Serve immediately. I don’t season this at all. The recipe includes salt and pepper as an ingredient but doesn’t say what to do with them!