I have been experimenting a lot with cooking Thai food and other curries, and after a little bit of trial and error (I made a peanut sauce with fresh banana peppers last week that was so spicy my fingernails and ears burned), I struck gold last night with an improvised panang curry sauce (red curry and coconut milk) and bean threads. This is an easy dinner, the bean threads only take about a minute in boiling water to cook and the only prep is chopping vegetables, but is soooooo delicious. When I was slurping up the long thin noodles with the friend I invited for dinner, I kept thinking that this was like eating Mac 'n' cheese - creamy, savory, noodl-y comfort. But it is much healthier! And not really anything like Mac 'n' Cheese. You'll know what I mean if you try it out . . .
Torunn's Thai Mac 'n' Cheese
2 bunches of Bean Thread noodles (they come in a packet of four)
one orange bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
one garlic clove, finely chopped
1/3 cup of onion, chopped lengthwise into long thin slices
two large carrots, peeled
one can of coconut milk
4 tablespoons Red Curry sauce
finely chopped peanuts
Put a teaspoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of water in a large skillet over medium heat. Chop carrots lengthwise in half, and then into thirds, so the pieces are about as long as your thumb and about a half inch wide. Put carrots in skillet, cover, and simmer for two minutes.
Put the bean threads into a large heat-resistant bowl. Bring a kettle of water to a rolling boil, and pour over noodles until they are completely covered. To prevent noodles from all sticking together, give them a quick stir after you pour the water over.
Add the onion and garlic to the pan, stir and simmer until the onions are just turning golden. Throw in bell pepper, simmer for one minute. Using a large wooden spoon and fork, take the bean threads out of the water, let drip for a moment over the bowl, and place them in the skillet with the vegetables. Pour half of the can of coconut milk (or a little more) into the pan, and add 4-6 tablespoons of Red Curry Sauce (Trader Joe's has a good version) and squeeze half a lime's worth of juice on top. Stir together until everything is combined, and the sauce is a light golden-orange color. Add salt and pepper to taste. Bring it to bubbling, turn off the heat, and serve with a sprinkling of peanuts on top and a lime wedge.