As a child, I was by far one of the pickiest eaters in my family. Just thinking back on it, I cringe at the eating habits I had. I practically lived off of mac and cheese and hotdogs. Feel free to have a cringe of your own. And even with that, I ate my hot dogs pretty plain and maybe sometimes with ketchup. But that was it! Even the taste of mustard was too weird for me. Let alone ever getting near anything even slightly spicy.
No one else in my family had this same affliction. My brothers would put hot sauce, red pepper flakes, and hot peppers on top of their pizza and still say it wasn’t hot enough. My dad, who lived in dorms for over 7 years, has tried every possible combination of dining hall food imaginable and somehow made it even weirder.
But, a lot has changed in the past 10 years or so. I have slowly conditioned myself to begin enjoying the taste of foods that I wouldn’t even go near as a child. I’ve even corrupted my tastebuds into liking spicier foods. There are still moments that I will sprint to the sink as soon as I take a bite. But I’m getting there.
One of my favorite types of foods to add some heat to is with asian cuisine. I don’t know why but something about the flavor combinations in these dishes makes it so much easier for me to handle spiciness than if I was to put something spicy on a burrito. Although I do add spices to those dishes from time to time.
Do any of you have specific kinds of heat that you just can’t handle? Or am I the only odd ball out there?
When things become too hot, my one tried and true method is mint gum. I know. Odd. But although it burns when you first begin to chew it because of the mix of spice and mint, it somehow seems to draw the spiciness right off my tongue and make it somewhat bearable.
Now I know a lot of you may be wondering what is a swoodle? Or you may have already guessed it by the images. If you have ever heard of the zoodle, which is a zucchini noodle than you will understand the swoodle. The swoodle is a sweet potato noodle. I like to use this name in part because it’s easier than having to say a sweet potato zoodle. In addition, it is just so much fun to say out loud.
Although a sweet potato noodle may defeat the purpose of lowering the carbs like the zoodle, it is an amazing addition to any dish. It has a light sweetness about it but at the same time can be a hearty, savory flavor. It’s this little extra flavor is what can really help to complete any number of dishes. It can even be a snack that you can munch on throughout the day all on its own.
With this dish, I decided to combine my new found love of spice with the incredible swoodle to create this explosion of flavors. Although there are so many different realms of flavors in this one dish, they somehow meld together perfectly.
However, if you do not like anything too spicy, you can simply omit the red pepper flakes from the recipe. This will tone down the heat drastically but not mess up any of the other flavors in the dish. You can do this with just about any aspect of the dish to make it suit your specific tastes.
Even if you have a couple of different people, you can make the simple base of the peanut sauce recipe. Then have each person add the extras in as something to top the entire dish with. This is extremely useful and makes for a perfectly personalized dish for the family.
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons tamari (or gluten-free soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon peanuts
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups sweet potato, spiralized
- 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 3 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1 lime, sliced
- For the sauce, place all ingredients, except peanuts, into a food processor and allow to blend thoroughly until a smooth consistency is reached. Remove from processor and mix in peanuts by hand to add crunch.
- In a frying pan, heat up coconut oil and salt. Once heated, add in sweet potato and bell peppers. Allow to cook until sweet potato begins to brown slightly before adding sauce and thoroughly stirring.
- Remove from heat, top with scallions, cilantro, peanuts, and lime slice and enjoy~