One of my most favourite things to do on a weekday morning when I have no work scheduled, when the kids are in school, when I have that precious few hours to myself is to lay out all my food magazines, cookbooks and recipe cards around me. Last week was definitely one of those weeks.
As I was flicking through glossy page after page, bouncing from cover to cover, I came across Food, Love and Life from Dalia's Kitchen. A dear friend's cookbook, a friend I text when I'm worried about that rash that Hassan has, one that I consult about work with, one that I share exciting news with. A cookbook that I had the immense pleasure of of photographing. Such fun it was.
I still can't believe it was nearly 18 months ago we worked together on this. We both always gauge time according to when we shot the cookbook. When our babies were 9 and 12 months. They're now two and two and a half. That's how time has flown. Two birthdays have gone by since that time. And Dalia has had a beautiful baby girl since then.
One of the best parts of shooting the book was Dalia introducing me to so many foods I had never eaten. Through this cookbook, I ate in Germany, Italy, USA, Lebanon, France and so many other places. All from the comfort of Dalia's home in Dubai. Not many people know but I'm quite a picky eater, so many foods I haven't yet tried. It was through Dalia's book that I got to try so many new ingredients and meals.
She also introduced me to classics such as banoffee pie, panna cotta, lemon meringue tart, pizza bianca and Umm Ali- all with her own twist though, of course. Muffins that are healthy, savoury cakes - oh yes, there is such a thing. And those salad dressings. Possibly my favourite section of the book? It's hard to decide.
But today I want to share her recipe for Spicy Peanut Prawns with Garlic Noodles. It's everything I look for in a meal- ease and simplicity, sweet and sour, crunch and spice. And more. Most importantly, it's a family everyone in my family adores. I usually cut back on the chilies just a little when serving it for the children but I highly recommend keeping if serving to adults only. It's definitely a meal to serve when entertaining, when sharing, with friends and loved ones.
Spicy Peanut Prawns and Garlic Noodles
From Food, Love and Life from Dalia's Kitchen by Dalia Dogmich Soubra with permission
Spicy Peanut Prawns
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tbsp mirin
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
1/2 cup hot water
2 tbsp nut or vegetable oil
1 tbsp ginger, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tbsp)
1/2 red chili, sliced
12 tiger prawns cleaned with tails intact)
salt and cracked black to taste
2 tbsp spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, rice vinegar, miring, sesame oil, soy sauce and hot water. Mix well and set aside. Heat the nut or vegetable oil in a large sauté pan or wok over a medium high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, chili and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the prawns. Depending on the size of the prawns, cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the peanut sauce mixture and cook for another minute just to incorporate the sauce. Add a little more soy sauce if it needs seasoning. Sprinkle with spring onions and sesame seeds.
4 1/2 cups rice noodles
4 tbsp sesame oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp grated ginger
1/2 red chili, finally sliced
3/4 cup oyster sauce, combined with 1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup soy sauce, plus more for garnish
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1 spring onion, finely chopped
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Prepare noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. In a large wok or sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil over a high heat until almost smoking. Stir fry the garlic, ginger and chili oil for approximately 30 seconds. Add the oyster sauce, hot water and soy sauce, and cook for approximately a minute, or until bubbling. Add the noodles, reduce the heat to medium, and cook until warmed through, for approximately 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with spring onions and sesame seeds. Serve together with the spicy peanut prawns.