I live in the largest city in Canada, with a population of 2.5 million, and my favourite restaurant is in a town with only 100,000 people. I’ve only been to Thrive Juice Bar once but it was enough to have me hooked. Sadly, the commute kills me. They aren’t open late on Saturdays, and not open at all on Sundays, which makes it hard to visit.
I really liked their pad thai which was overflowing with Asian vegetables topped with a spicy cashew sauce, with a raw option to replace the rice noodles with even more veggies! The menu says it is filled with daikon radish, snap peas, bok choy, Asian cabbage with a raw cashew pad thai sauce, topped with spicy peanuts and cashews, Thai basil and Thai mint (??), while finished with an almond chili oil and mint lime vinaigrette. Wowzers, eh? I am not even going to try to recreate it home because it seems so complex.
I will, however, try out something more simple. Something just as tasty, even though it was not at all the same. But it definitely made me go Mmmmmm! Yes, I made MamaPea’s infamous Peanut Mmmm Sauce!
Inspired by Thrive, I loaded my dish up with veggies: a huge bunch of baby bok choy, 2 red peppers, broccoli and edamame. For my noodles, I opted for kelp noodles, but feel free to use soba instead. Or as they used to do at Thrive, add more veggies! (Scanning their recent menu, it now seems that the raw option is to add kelp noodles). The sauce is a zippy and creamy peanut-based sauce that coats the veggies ever so lightly. Delicious…. all I can hear is the resonant Mmmmm…
This is a super simple dish to make, to boot. Perfect when you have leftover coconut milk. Whiz together your sauce, then quickly stirfry your veggies to remove their raw edge, but keep them crisp and bright. Add your noodles and simmer a bit with your sauce. Now you’re good to eat!
Kelp Noodles, Baby Bok Choy, Broccoli and Red Pepper with a Coconut-Peanut Sauce
1/4 cup coconut milk and 1/4 cup water (or 1/2 cup lite coconut milk)
3 roasted tomatoes (1/2 cup) (alternatively use 1/2 cup canned tomatoes)
1/4 cup peanut butter
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce or Braggs (I used Bragg’s)
2 tbsp lime juice (from 1 lime)
2.5 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp pressed garlic
1 tbsp agave or maple syrup
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, or to taste
16 oz kelp noodles, or your noodle of choice (soba)
2 red bell pepper, chopped
400g baby bok choy, fine leaves removed and stems thinly sliced
2 cups edamame, frozen or fresh
1 cup broccoli, chopped
1. If you don’t already have roasted tomatoes, preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place 3 sliced tomatoes on the sheet and drizzle with oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 1 hour and 10 mins at 400F. Watch closely during the last 15 minutes of roasting. This should make 1/2 cup tomatoes.
2. For the sauce, combine the coconut milk, water, roasted tomatoes, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, ginger, garlic, sweetener and chili flakes, if using, in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Adjust heat to your tastes.
3. Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to package directions. For kelp noodles, that means rinsing under cold water. Drain and set aside.
4. Coat a large non-stick skillet with a drizzle of oil and place over medium high heat. Add bell pepper, bok choy stems, broccoli and edamame and stir fry until crisp tender, about 4-5 minutes.
5. Add drained noodles directly to the pan along with the bok choy greens. Toss to combine. Add the sauce and toss once again.
6. Simmer an additional 1-2 minutes until everything is coated and the flavours absorbed. Can serve hot immediately or refrigerate until serving and eat cold. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and peanuts.