Cozy Bowl of Asian Noodles

It’s cold in Chicago. I don’t mean the kind of “Oh! I should think about putting on a hat today” cold. I don’t mean the kind of, “Oh! A cup of hot tea sounds lovely” type of cold. I am talking holy mother of Christ it feels like someone has placed an ice cube on my nose, inside my eyeballs and it feels like I am breathing in shards of ice.” Yep-that kind of cold. A hat isn’t just a good idea, it’s a must to cover basically your whole face until you just see two little eyes peeping out. And hot tea isn’t just a lovely thought, it’s the only thing that keeps your stomach from freezing over itself.

You may think I am whining, but when you have seen double digit quantity of days where the windchill is below -10 I think that basically gives you the right to whine. Dontchya think?

The good thing about the cold is that it makes you all snuggly, wuggly. It makes it necessary to light the wood in the fireplace, open a beautiful bottle of red wine and make some cozy, comforting food. So in these polar vortex days we are experiencing I find myself baking an infinite amount of muffins and making stews, braises and simmering pasta sauces with every opportunity.

Sometimes after a long day I don’t have time to make a braise that will need to cook for 3-4 hours, or even pasta sauces that need at least an hour or so to blend the flavors. On those nights I love to make nutty asian noodles. A blend between pad thai and chicken satay, these nutty noodles are as flexible as a stir fry with the ingredients. I love to use almond butter and keep it vegetarian with shiitake mushrooms, woodear mushrooms, snap peas and red pepper. But you can just as easily make it nut free with either sunflower seed butter or soy nut butter. You can add some stir fried skirt steak or some tofu. You can add broccoli and carrots. The possibilities are endless and fun if have kids to let them assemble their own bowl.

So, cozy up, light the fireplace and go make yourself a hot bowl of these tasty Asian noodles. Give Father Winter the boot.

Thai Noodle Bowl
Serves 4
-½ c. almond butter*
-2 T. grated ginger
-3 T. coconut aminos or reduced sodium tamari
-3-4 T. coconut sugar or brown sugar
-2 green onions, minced
-1/4 c. cilantro, minced
-zest from 1 lime
-1/3 c. hot water
Noodle Bowl
-½# chicken thighs, sliced into stir fry strips
-2 T. coconut aminos or reduced sodium tamari
-6 green onions, finely minced
-2 T. coconut oil
-1 red pepper, thinly sliced 
-1 c. chopped snow pea pods
-½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
-2 T. chopped ginger
-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
-2 t. mirin (asian cooking wine)
-4 servings of brown rice noodles, cooked and drained (or just rice noodles, also commonly known as “pad thai noodles”)
-¼ c. minced cilantro
1.     Toss together the sliced chicken thighs, 2 T. coconut aminos and the 2 minced green onions. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the sauce.
2.     Mix together all the sauce ingredients with a small whisk until no more lumps of almond butter remain. Taste and add more sugar or more coconut aminos as needed. Set aside.
3.     Warm a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the 2 T. coconut oil and saute the sliced chicken thighs with any remaining marinade until cooked through. Remove to plate.
4.     In the same pan, saute the red pepper, pea pods, sliced shiitakes, chopped ginger and chopped garlic until the vegetables are softened and fragrant. Add the 2 t. mirin and saute another minute.
5.     Add the cooked rice noodles to the pan with the vegetables, along with the reserved cooked chicken. Pour in the satay sauce and toss with tongs until everything is coated. Scoop into bowls and top with minced cilantro to garnish.
**you can substitute sunflower seed butter for the almond butter 

happy, healthy eating! ~Kendra