Cooking noodles in peanut sauce for someone who eats grain free is a challenge when they don’t do Konjac and aren’t big on zucchini. I scratched my head awhile on the matter, because most root vegetables turn to mush when cooked. Then I happened on kohlrabi. It has a mild flavour, firm texture and holds its shape beautifully when sautéed or stir-fried. And besides, no one ever knows what to do with a damn kohlrabi! Lest it be said, kohlrabi ‘noodles’ have become my new go-to when rice noodles are a no-no.
When it comes to the peanut sauce, you’ll find here my super-quick short-cut sauce. Sure, there are dozens of far more authentic recipes. Most require many more ingredients than this one along with stove-top cooking to blend the flavours. This, on the other hand, is instant. Blend the ingredients and you’re good to go with maximum taste and minimum time.
Do feel free to customize this idea: add more vegetables, different vegetables, some seared tofu or deep-fried tempeh – it’s up to you. Make it your own. But use kohlrabi.
Yield: 1 serving
What you need for the ‘noodles’ and veg:
- 1 soft-ball sized kohlrabi, peeled and spiralized, 3 cups (see note below on spiral slicing)
- 1/4 cup sliced scallions, green parts only
- 2/3 cup tiny florets of broccoli
- 3/4 teaspoon of toasted sesame oil (or be decadent and use way more)
What you need for the peanut sauce:
- 1-1/2 tablespoons natural crunchy peanut butter (the no-salt, no-sugar and no-funny-stuff kind; preferably organic)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 drop lime zest oil or the zest of about 1/2 a lime, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger juice (grate some ginger and squeeze it out, that’s the juice; keep and use the juice and compost the pulp)
- a generous 1/2 teaspoon red miso paste (or more to taste, or tamari, or salt – you pick what you like)
- sriracha or another hot sauce you like (optional)
- warm water
What you do for the ‘noodle’ sauté:
- Heat a non-stick (read cast-iron) fry pan over medium heat. When hot, add the oil and the spiral-sliced kohlrabi. Use tongs to toss the ‘noodles’ in the oil to coat. Spread in the pan evenly and let cook several minutes, until beginning to brown a bit on the bottom. Use the tongs to turn the ‘noodle’-mass over and cook another couple of minutes on the other side. At this point, the kohlrabi will be looking drier. (If you spiralized really fine, like vermicelli, the cooking will only take a minute or two. If you went more linguini like me, then it will be in the 3 to 5 minute range for each side.)
- Add the broccoli to the pan. Add a generous pinch of salt and mix to distribute throughout the vegetables. Now get the broccoli on the bottom of the pan and cover it over with the noodles. This will get the kohlrabi further from the heat and give the broccoli some time to get acquainted with the hot frying pan.
- Once you have things placed, cover the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. Let cook, undisturbed for 5 or 6 minutes.
- Uncover, add the chopped scallions and stir to distribute throughout. Cover again and cook 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a serving plate. Top with the peanut sauce and any garnishes you desire (freshly chopped basil and some chopped roasted peanuts are nice!) Serve with hot sauce and lime wedges if desired.
What you do for the peanut sauce:
- Put all the ingredients in a small bowl or cup. Whisk together with a fork. Add water until desired texture is obtained. Make it as thick or thin as you like. Taste and adjust the levels of salt and sour to taste. That’s it.
Note on spiral slicing:
- In case you have absolutely no idea what a spiralizer is or what spiral slicing is – read on. Spiral slicing, as the name implies, involves cutting a large hunk of vegetable into a noodle form by using some kind of blade system. You can see a few different models here. There are tools called spiralizers which do the job efficiently and easily, while also being a royal pain in the tushus to clean. On the other hand, it’s worth dealing with the cleaning on occasion for the benefit of getting the best out of your veggies!