Carrot & Courgette Noodle Stir-Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Here’s a little secret:I’d never had a stir-fry before I lived in London. 

But out in the Big Smoke, it’s the ultimate dinner, it seems. ‘What’s for tea?’ ‘Oh, let’s make a nice stir-fry.’ That, or fajitas from a box.

Well I can assure you stir-fries and fajitas from a packet are not as pretty as my stir-fries. (Maybe I should do a fajita recipe next?) 
Nor are they cheap. If you’ve ever purchased an Old El Paso or whatever they’re called boxes of ‘Make Your Own Fajitas At Home’ now is the time to solemnly swear never to do so again. Newsflash: they are not cheap. They don’t even come with the chicken or the vegetables, so your dinner ends up being over a tenner instead of a few pounds, which is what this recipe costs to make. 

Newsflash: vegetables are cheap. Eat ’em up.

I used quite a lot of parsley, as you can tell from the photos, however I soon discovered I like my parsley used… sparingly. Just a little bit is enough, otherwise it starts overpowering the other flavours. However, if you love your parsley to the ends of the world, go ahead and sprinkle on that herb. Or use coriander if you prefer (I shudder at the mere thought of coriander – ‘t is an abomination of nature, methinks).

Don’t be discouraged if your noodles don’t turn out very pretty the first time around: mine were short and ugly and very un-noodle-like the first time I tried making them. Practice makes perfect! (Or pretty.) Mine sometimes turn out a bit more like slaw, but oh well. It still tastes pretty darn good. Someday, perhaps, I will invest in a fancy spiraliser, but till then, I shall have to make do with my grater. 

For the stir-fry:
1 large carrot
1 courgette
100g (3.5 oz) mangetout
20g (0.7 oz) peanuts
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
a handful of chopped parsley

Wash your vegetables and peel them if you like. Spiralise the courgette and carrot into noodles (with a peeler, a grater or a spiraliser – whatever you have on hand. I use a mandolin slicer, and sometimes a grater.) Set aside for now. 

Place a wok over medium heat and drizzle the sesame oil in it. Toss the peanuts about in the oil until they are lightly toasted on all sides, then add the onion, chilli and mangetout and sauté for another five minutes. Lastly add the noodles, sauté for two minutes and take off the heat. 

Serve with the sauce (recipe below) and fresh parsley.

For the sauce:
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp soya sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
a small chunk of ginger, coarsely chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, roughly chopped
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
4-5 tbsp water (or oil, but I don’t like my sauces too oily)
juice 1/2 lemon
a drizzle of date syrup (maple would work nicely, too)

Blend all ingredients till you obtain a smooth, thin paste. Add more or less water depending on the power of your blender and your personal preference (I like a thin sauce so I can coat every noodle with it.) The lemongrass will leave a few strings, but that can’t be helped (and it doesn’t taste bad.)

Is there a herb or ingredient you simply cannot stand? Apparently even the illustrious Julia Child used to pick out leaves of coriander if she found them in her food, so I feel a little reassured that I’m not being too fervent in my hatred of this herb.

5 thoughts on “Carrot & Courgette Noodle Stir-Fry with Spicy Peanut Sauce

  1. Lol, I think my brother lives off stir-fry and fajitas in a box!! I do love both homemade stir-fry and fajitas though 🙂 You should make my jackfruit fajitas next 🙂
    This dish looks exactly my kind of food. You know I've never actually cooked with lemongrass?!
    And I say treat yourself to a spiralizer! You can get them pretty cheap and I bet you'd get a lot of use out of it.
    P.S I love coriander! I feel bad for all you haters…


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