I love the idea of combining fish with pasta, but not all pasta and fish combinations work well in real life. What I found, however, is that using Asian flavors to create a base sauce for pasta and fish is always a win. For example, if you haven’t yet tried my recipe for Asian salmon and noodles with snow peas and mushrooms - please do! It’s really good and ridiculously easy to make, it remains one of my top recipes of choice for making dinner at the end of the hard work day. And now, let me introduce you to my other recent favorite, Asian fish and peanut sauce noodles:
This recipe is also very easy to make, and, let’s face it, you can’t really go wrong with a peanut sauce and noodles. So, by choosing peanut sauce for my noodles, I was already off to a good start! The peanut sauce here is very simple and is somewhat of a cross between Pad Thai and drunken noodles. If you like either one of those dishes you will love this recipe! I make the peanut sauce by first combining fish sauce, honey (or brown sugar if you don’t have honey), rice vinegar and red pepper flakes in a pan and heating the ingredients until they all mix together, and honey becomes liquid and easy to stir. Then I add some coconut milk and just a tablespoon of red curry paste – I like to use a very spicy one, such as of Mae Ploy brand, but Thai Kitchen brand will work too. Finally, I add a very creamy peanut butter – I used Skippy brand in this recipe. You don’t want to add “real” or homemade peanut butter because it will not be able to blend in as well, use Skippy or Jiffy brands istead for guaranteed results. Stir this peanut butter mixture on low-medium heat until everything is well combined:
Then, I cook rice stick noodles or fettuccine pasta (if you don’t have rice noodles) according to package instructions and add to the sauce:
Then, the only thing you have left to do is to sear fish fillets on very high heat and make a very simple and quick glaze to pour over the fish. Searing the fish is very easy as long as you get your skillet really hot. Only when the skillet is very hot do you add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, which should immediately sizzle and even smoke a bit. Then you add fish fillets seasoned with salt and pepper, without crowding them, and sear for about 2 minutes on each side.
What’s great about this recipe is that you are not limited to a certain type of white fleshed fish. I cooked black cod for this recipe, which is what you see on these photos – because I have lots of it in my freezer, and I find black cod to be very forgiving and impossible to screw up while cooking: it’s a very flaky and buttery fish, and it does not dry out easily. But, in reality, you can use any other white fish such as tilapia, sea bass, halibut, mahi mahi, etc.
Asian fish and peanut sauce noodles
Prep time: 1 hour
Makes 4 servings
Ingredients for peanut sauce and noodles:
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 1/3 cup honey or brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (Skippy creamy peanut butter works well)
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 4 ounces fettuccine-width rice stick noodles (gluten free or regular) or fettuccine pasta
Ingredients for the glaze:
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Ingredients for cooking the fish:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound or four 6-ounce filletsof white flesh fish (black cod, tilapia, halibut, mahi mahi, sea bass)
- salt and pepper
- chopped green onions or chives – for garnish
1) Mix first 4 ingredients for the peanut sauce in a large pan, heat it up on low-medium heat, stirring to melt honey. Then add peanut butter, coconut milk and red curry paste, continuing to stir until very creamy. If it is a little bit watery – that’s fine.
2) Cook rice noodles or fettuccine according to package instructions. Add noodles to the peanut sauce, keep it on warm (if you have that setting) or off the heat – otherwise too much liquid from peanut sauce will evaporate
3) To make the glaze: combine 2 tablespoons of brown sugar or honey, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar in small sauce pan, cook on medium-high heat until the glaze thickens slightly. Set aside and keep covered while you cook fish:
4) Season fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet on high heat until very hot. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil – it should sizzle immediately. Add fish fillets to the skillet without crowding them, and sear about 2 minutes on each side. I’ve used black cod but any other white fish will work too.
5) To serve, place a scoop of peanut sauce noodles in the middle of the plate, top with the fish fillet, pour some glaze over, making sure you have enough glaze for other fish fillets. Sprinkle with chopped green onions or chives on top, if desired.