Rockin’ it Seaside Thai Noodles

Have you ever been on a tropical beach somewhere with your toes in the water, a deep orange sunset, and a drink in a coconut being served to you by a cabana boy?

Okay, I don’t think I’ve ever had a drink in a coconut, but I do think it would make up part of the perfect backdrop for dining on a plate of shrimp-and-scallop-adorned Thai noodles.  Spicy seaside food that’s exotic and delectable without knocking all your hard beach-body work!  So even if you’re making this as a pseudo-summer-getaway dish, you know you’re not making a mistake.

Speaking of which…

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Apparently mistakes can be a good thing.  Mistakes are part of the learning process, they tell you in grade school.  Mistakes are normal, even if they often involve a little frustration and embarrassment – like sending someone a text that was meant for someone else.  Stuff like that builds character, right?  Mistakes were not encouraged in driving school.  For good reason, really… but we’re not really going to talk about that.

Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that when I come up with a whole recipe without looking at any other instructions, I tend to make a lot of mistakes. 

Like, why did I cook my noodles first?  That leaves them to sit and get dry and gummy while I do everything else.  Why did I sauté everything separately instead of saving time and doing them all in the pan together?  How did I manage to overcook the scallops?

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Well, hopefully, it’s because now I know what happens when you do the noodles first, and that you should not let them cook fully before putting them in the hot sauce because they will continue to cook and soak in the sauce. 

And now I can share with you the proper times (or what I, at least, found to be the proper times) for cooking all the veggies so that you can sauté everything together, and how long it takes to cook shrimp and scallops – with the insistence that you still pay attention to them as they cook.

Now, let’s get our beach-fooding on!

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1  8-9 oz package red (or brown) rice noodles

2 cups raw shrimp (thawed/not frozen)

2 cups large scallops (thawed/not frozen)

2 large carrots, peeled & julienned (cut like matchsticks)

1 large red onion, sliced into strips

3 cups chopped raw broccoli

Garnish options: Thai basil/chopped cilantro/or sliced green onions (I had the onions in my backyard, so I used those!)

Lemon wedges

Rockin’ Sauce

4 oz Hoisin sauce

1 tsp. Thai red curry paste (more if you like it really spicy)

2-3 minced garlic cloves

1 cup low sodium vegetable stock

1 can light, unsweetened coconut milk

½ tsp. ground ginger

¼ tsp. each: ground black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper (use more as needed)

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Stir ingredients for the sauce together in a bowl and set aside.

Heat a large frying pan sprayed well with canola oil over medium heat.  Sauté broccoli about 2 minutes or until the color starts to brighten.  Add the onions to sauté for about 1 minute before adding the carrots.  Sauté all the veggies a minute or two longer until everything is just barely tender, and transfer to a separate bowl.

Spray the hot pan with canola oil, still over medium heat, and add the shrimp.  Cook about 1-2 minutes per side until pink and just done.  Transfer to a separate bowl.  Cook scallops 2-3 min per side (less if smaller-sized) until opaque all the way through, and transfer to the shrimp bowl.

Pour the sauce into the hot pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce the liquid to about 2/3 the original amount, about 5-10 minutes

While the sauce reduces, cook the rice noodles according to the package – usually involving boiling water, taking it off the heat, and adding the noodles to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally… all that good stuff – EXCEPT cook about one or two minutes LESS before draining and transferring to a bowl.

Once sauce is reduced enough and the flavors are concentrated and tastyful, add vegetables and noodles, and stir together, cooking one or two minutes longer until everything is heated through.

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Now for the most important step:  Serve the noodles!  Of course, with seafood on top of each place, unless you have a vegetarian or vegan at the table, in which case you can individualize theirs to magically become a vegan dish!

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I like to serve with a lemon wedge, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, red pepper flakes (I like spicy!), and either Thai basil, cilantro, or green onions on top.

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Now go call the cabana boy.  We need us some coconut drinks.