Monday, 2 April 2012

Singapore Noodle Salad

Singapore's cuisine is influenced by Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Malay, and western cuisines. There are also traces of Middle Eastern and Thai recipes in there. The cuisine of Singapore is probably most similar to Malaysian food because the two countries have deep historic ties. A lot of dishes are shared between the two nations, although preparation methods differ a bit.
Singapore is quite a small country and the population is large, which means that most food and produce is imported since there is not much space for farmland or agriculture. There are however a few farmers who produce poultry, fish, fruit and leafy vegetables. The country is well connected with sea transport and air routes so importing many kinds of food is not a problem.
One of the most famous Singaporean recipes has to be Singapore noodles and if you fancy making a salad instead of a hot dish, the following recipe is traditionally Singaporean and really flavorful. The various vegetables add color and flavor and the sesame seeds, garlic, chili sauce, chives, sherry and more add plenty of flavor. You can serve this in small portions as an appetizer or larger ones as a side dish to go with a marinated steak recipe or something similar.
Before you baulk at the lengthy ingredients list, rest assured that this is a fantastic tasting and impressive recipe and it is well worth making. Use spaghetti-style Chinese noodles for this dish.
What you will need:
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 head broccoli, in 1 inch florets
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 lb dried noodles
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb asparagus, in diagonal 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions
  • 1 red bell pepper, in thin slices
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced ginger
  • 1 minced clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced shiitake or button mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese chili sauce
How to make it:
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet until they are golden brown and fragrant; this will take about a minute. Cook the noodles in boiling salted water for a few minutes until they are tender. Separate them with a fork and drain them. Toss them with the vegetable oil.
Boil the broccoli for a few minutes until it is al dente, and then chill it in a bowl of ice water until cold. Drain it. Cook the asparagus in boiling water for a minute or two, then chill it in the ice water and drain it.
Bring the stock to a boil over a medium high heat, then take it off the heat and stir in the vinegar, sesame oil, peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, sherry, garlic, toasted sesame seeds, scallions, ginger and chili sauce. Toss the noodles with the vegetables. Add the dressing and toss well. Chill for half an hour. Sprinkle the chives on top and serve.