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Salad meals have becomes the latest trend among health conscious foodies and bloggers. The average working man or woman has virtually no time to sit and plan a basic balanced meal. Even lunch time has become a dash to grab a sandwich and a bottle of mineral water between two meetings. As we give in to our hectic schedules, our daily meals become increasingly pre-packed or takeaway stuff, which we devour mindlessly as we put convenience ahead of health benefits. This delicious rice noodle salad can help balance out the junk food with its colorful jumble of prawns, nuts, and crunchy veggies. Taken from the blotchy pages of my well-used salad book, Larousse Salades Repas, this cold Asian salad can be served in verrines as fancy hors d’oeuvres or packed in a mason jar for office lunch.

COLD RICE NOODLE SALAD

Ingredients:

350g thick rice noodles

1 small pineapple, peeled

150g bean sprouts

250g large prawns

1 small English cucumber

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 small bunch mint leaves

60g salted cashew nuts

1 small red chili, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon brown sugar

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce

Method:

  • Prepare the dressing by crushing chili, garlic and sugar in a mortar. Transfer to small bowl.

  • Stir in lime juice and fish sauce and keep the dressing in the fridge until ready to assemble.

  • Cook the rice noodles as per packet instructions. Drain them well and place in serving bowl.

  • Cut the pineapple into small cubes and slice cucumber thinly. Shell and devein the prawns.

  • Sautee them in one tablespoon oil until they turn pink and are cooked throughout. Set aside.

  • To assemble salad, combine noodles with pineapple, cucumber, bean sprouts and tomatoes.

  • Add the cooked prawns, drizzle salad with dressing and toss in bowl till it is well combined.

  • Scatter the salted cashew nuts and fresh mint leaves to top before serving. Makes 4 servings.

Cold Rice Noodle Salad

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If you need a simple yet special non veg appetizer to make an impression on your guests for New Year, this delicious buttery prawn recipe from Bon Appétit is the one you should bookmark. I’m pretty sure you will be making it plenty more times once you get over your festive hangover, in fact, every time you can get fresh king prawns from the deli to be more accurate. While whole prawns may be a whole lot more expensive than unshelled, frozen ones, you will definitely appreciate that peeling them after cooking ensures that they remain plump and juicy. It is only a matter of getting your fingers dirty at the table but nothing that a good rinse in a warm finger bowl cannot fix.

BUTTERY SPICY KING PRAWNS

Ingredients:

4 garlic cloves, 2 grated, 2 thinly sliced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/4 cup dry white wine, optional

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Warm crusty bread, for serving

Method:

  • Whisk grated garlic, salt, and 1 tablespoons oil in a medium bowl. Add the prawns and toss well to coat.

  • Chill, uncovered, at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet.

  • Cook prawns, being careful not to let brown, until pink but still slightly underdone, for 1 minute per side.

  • Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil in pan as possible. Now add the sliced garlic.

  • Add red pepper to skillet and cook, tossing, till fragrant, about 1 minute. Add white wine and lemon juice.

  • Cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Add the butter and cook, until melted.

  • Cook till sauce thickens for 5 minutes more. Scrape prawns along with any accumulated juices into skillet.

  • Toss to coat and cook until shrimp are fully cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to serving platter.

  • Top the prawns with parsley, and serve with warm, crusty bread for dipping alongside. Makes 4 servings.

Buttery Spicy Prawns

Pasta makes dinner so much simpler. Simply toss cooked pasta into any sauce of your choice, top with any combination of veggies or meat [leftovers work well here] and you have your evening meal under control within minutes. This holds true especially when you are too tired/lazy to cook yourself a proper meal and you’re also too tired/lazy to go out and buy food. Taken from BBC Good Food Everyday Pasta and Noodle Dishes, this cheat’s version of egg noodle pasta can be made as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chili to your taste or tolerance level.

SPICY PRAWN EGG NOODLE PASTA

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 heaped tablespoon coriander purée

Pinch of crushed dried chilies, to taste

400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic

1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée

1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon powder

Half a 250g pack Chinese egg noodles

400g prawns, peeled and deveined

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Toss in the onion, squeeze in the coriander purée.

  • Sprinkle over the crushed chilies to taste. Stir fry for 5 minutes until the onion is softened.

  • Pour in tomatoes and 1 1/2 cans water, add tomato purée and sprinkle over bouillon powder.

  • Season well. Bring to a bubble, stirring, then lower the heat a little and let the sauce simmer.

  • Cook for about 15 minutes until slightly reduced but still sloppy. Break noodles into a bowl.

  • Pour in enough boiling water to cover. Stir and set aside. When sauce is ready, drain noodles.

  • Tip them into the sauce with uncooked prawns. Stir well and heat through for 2 minutes only.

  • Taste for seasoning and add more chilli flakes and a little sugar if you like. Makes 2 servings.

Spicy Prawn Egg Noodle Pasta

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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