There’s something about Thai food that makes me feel like vacation. I think it’s all of the exotic flavors that get mixed into a dish with such ease. From simple stir fries packed with spice, to uncomplicated soups, the flavors of Thailand call to me.
Now, it might be that someone I know is vacationing there right now! or it might be that it’s the start of summer, but either way, I’m totally and utterly in love with the taste of Thai food.
One of my family’s favorite dishes when we visit the local spot is the pineapple fried rice. Again, all of these wonderful spices come through and tempt the palate to eat the whole plate. I mean, it really makes me smile to know that everyone at the table will gobble this dish up. With a lovely touch of spices and herbs along with a tad for the sweet tooth and some crunch to it–it’s certainly a comfort food worth adding to the repertoire.
But since we’re trying desperately to get out of this food rut I thought this would mix this dish up a bit and put my own twist on it–and not order it , but instead make it myself. Enjoy!
2-3 oz. packages of udon noodles (or any dry pasta you have on hand)
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon chinese 5-spice powder (If you don’t have this spice, you can get some of the same flavors from just using cinnamon, nutmeg and black pepper. The powder contains star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fennel seed and black pepper.)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/4-1/3 cup pasta cooking liquid
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
1 diced red pepper
1/2 cup pineapple peeled and diced, alternatively you can use 4 oz. drained pineapple slices that you cut into smaller bites
1 cup chopped peeled and cooked shrimp (personally, I keep these on hand in the freezer for a quick defrost to a healthy and speedy meal)
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. Udon only takes 4 minutes!
2. Meanwhile, in a serving bowl stir together the oil, soy sauce, spices and peanut butter.
3. When the noodles are cooked, reserve up to 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid before draining the pasta.
4. Toss the pasta in the bowl with the sauce, red pepper, pineapple, shrimp and cilantro. Add enough cooking liquid, a splash at a time, to make the sauce the consistency you prefer. I used about 1/3 cup. Top with chopped nuts to serve.