How you doin’? I recently heard from Spencer, our former R&D chef. Chef Spencer is now the executive chef for Chatrium Hotels in Bangkok Thailand. Chef Spencer tells us that tourism in Thailand has slowed considerably due to the pandemic, so, I guess I’m not going to be traveling to Thailand any time soon. I’m really missing great Thai food. There are only a few decent Thai restaurants in Los Angeles that have food that is even close to authentic Thai food.
A little history about the chef… We first met Chef at the Mandarin Oriental on the Chao Phraya, the major river in Thailand that flows from the north through Bangkok and out into the Gulf of Thailand—a beautiful setting. Chef Spencer is a Brit with over 30 years of culinary experience in high-end hotels, restaurants and resorts across the globe, including America, Australia, Barbados, England and Thailand which is what attracted us to him, aside from the fact he is such a very likable guy.
So, when you’re missing good Thai food and none of your favorite restaurants are open, what do you do? Create and innovate. Here is my easy recipe for a salad with an elegant Asian flair and good for even the fanciest party meal. I think Chef Spencer would approve. Most Thai noodle salads have a peanut butter infused dressing—this one doesn’t and is much lighter. It's not only a healthy alternative but is delicious. It is zesty and pairs well with some Thai barbecued chicken and a bottle of Singha Thai Beer. I like to sprinkle some additional peanuts right before serving.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Chill time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 servings
15 ounces dried Soba noodles
1-3/4 teaspoons dark sesame oil, divided
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1 lime, zest (microplane) and juice
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Sambal--chili garlic paste, or to taste (optional)
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons green onion top rounds
2 tablespoons cucumbers, julienne cut
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped roasted, salted peanuts
8 ounces grilled chicken breast, julienne cut (optional)
2 tablespoons crisp bacon bits (optional)
ChefSecret: What is Sambal? It is an Asian chili sauce or paste typically made from a mixture of a variety of chili peppers with shrimp paste, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar and lime juice. It is native to Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Singapore and Country Thai cuisines. It is quite spicy, so use sparingly.
What is a microplane? A Microplane grater originated as an excellent smoothing tool for woodworkers, and it has proved to be an indispensable grating tool for chefs and cooks. It is a great tool for quickly zesting citrus fruits and even grates the hardest Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
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Who is Ed Engoron?