Monday, April 11, 2005

Crunchy Thai salad

I love Thai salad, especially from a local cafe here, in Pittsburgh called the Thai cafe. Its spicy and screams HEALTHY. I decided to make a home version on thursday. I had some left-over bean sprouts that were wilting and turning almost soggy. I rejuvenated them by soaking in cold water and drying them on layers of paper towels. They recovered somewhat and so I decided to try a salad. We are not a big salad eating family, at least not the usual Olive Garden style salads. I love greek salad along with a lovely portabello grilled california salad from Mad Mex. The key is lotsa flavor...

I wanted a dressing that was creamy unlike asian vinagrette that used lots of oil. I knew peanut butter (reduced fat, if you must know) was the way to go. I looked at recipes for satay sauces but they made way too much for making a salad for two people. Here is what I came up with: I heated PB in the microwave for 20 seconds with 2 cloves of crushed garlic and a little water. Then I added a little grated ginger, a dash of chili sesame oil, a tsp of Thai chili paste, a tbsp or so of soy sauce, a tsp rice wine vinegar, a dash of hoisin sauce, a little salt and a pinch of sugar. Mixed it up and added little lemon juice to perk up the flavors. Am I clever or what?

I chopped up cukes and tomatoes into wedges. Tore up some old iceberg lettuce (why waste romaine hearts, when the dressing has so much things going on) and did not forget to add the rejuvenated bean sprouts. I also added some chopped cilantro and mint. I dry-roasted some peanuts and chopped them up. Added everything to the bowl and tossed it all with just enough of the dressing. I was left with almost half a cup of the dressing or sauce. What is the verdict? The salad was DELISH and I am so proud.

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