Quickies Noodle Challenge: My Sweet Tart

Strange things are afoot in the THIH household.

Bonnie has mastered the use of a “burrow bed“:

Maddie shows off how evolutionarily advanced she is by relaxing with her belly exposed:

And Jessie is heating up the new kitchen:

What’s that, Jessie? Why, it’s my entry for Denise‘s and Lazaro‘s Quickies Noodle Challenge, of course!

The Challenge? I quote: Prepare a noodle dish of your choice. It can be your unique twist on a classic like Mee Goreng, Pad Thai, Char Kuay Teow, Laksa, Fettucine Alfredo, Chicken Noodle Soup, Bucatini all’ Amatriciana, Mac and Cheese, Soba, Udon, …. or a concoction of your very own creation, making its debut here. Use any type of noodle or pasta and ingredients you wish. It can be vegetarian, vegan or piled with meat, fried in a wok, baked in an oven, swimming in soup or broth or sweetened for a dessert. What we’re looking for is a delicious sounding and interesting twist or creation. Think outside the box, turn cooking conventions on their ears, try something you normally wouldn’t. The most appealing and interesting or unexpected entry, wins!

The prize? Denise’s cookbook Quickies: Morning, Noon and Night (check out a preview of the book here). I have been drooling over the prospect of getting this awesome cookbook, so here goes!

This recipe is a take-off on a green noodle and shrimp dish served at a family friend-owned restaurant in my old hometown. But, before we get to the recipe, we must perform the most important step: naming! You may remember my entry for the first Quickies Challenge: Acorn Squash Cradles Avocado, Feta, Tomato, and Egg (a.k.a. Stuffed Acorn Squash). Can I top myself, recipe name-wise?

My Sweet Tart: Colorful Noodles Wrap Around Crispy Shrimp ‘n’ Chinese Sausage
Serves 4

8 oz. dried noodles of choice, preferably colorful (or else the recipe title doesn’t work, see?)
1/4 tsp each coriander seeds, black mustard seeds, fenugreek, tumeric, and sweet curry
1/2 tsp black peppercorns (I used Tellicherry)
1/2 inch ginger
3 tsp canola oil, divided
1 13.5 oz. can light coconut milk
2 drops coconut extract (key!)
1/4 cup light sour cream
1 cup green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 Chinese sausage, thinly sliced
~24 raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (don’t count them out – guess! Isn’t that a freeing feeling? 🙂 )
1/4 cup all purpose flour

Peel the ginger. Don’t forget to use the spoon trick (rub edge of the spoon against the skin). Mince or grate ginger using your favorite method (mine is using this inexplicably fish-shaped ginger grater, one of many single-use items in our kitchen).

Whenever I use spices in a recipe, I usually try to hold all the spices containers in one hand. Can I do it with SIX containers?

Why yes, yes I can.

Have I ever showed you our spice rack? Peter built it.

Place peppercorns, coriander, mustard seeds, and fenugreek into a grinder. What’s fenugreek, you ask?

Fenugreek is a plant in which both the seeds and leaves are used as flavoring (I used the leaves in this recipe). The leaves are slightly bitter and pungent in smell. A little goes a long way, so a pinch will suffice.

Grind spices. Combine with curry powder and turmeric (optional).

You can toast the spice mix in a hot pan if you like a stronger flavor. I left the mix untoasted for this recipe. Meanwhile, cook pasta. As I mentioned earlier, this recipe was inspired by a dish with green noodles. The closest I could find in our limited grocery store was this pasta:

Normally I avoid refined-grain products masquerading as health food, but, hey, this pasta is green and orange! 😀

Back to the recipe: Heat 1 tsp oil in a medium saucepan or saucier and add ginger. Saute one minute. Add coconut milk, sour cream, coconut extract, and spice mix. Mix really well to incorporate the sour cream.

I love noodles!

At this point, you can add cornstarch to thicken the sauce if you desire, or you can leave it as is.

Thinly slice your Chinese sausage and acknowledge that Chinese sausage is a sometimes food in which a little goes a long way.

Add Chinese sausage and cook through. Turn off heat and add green beans. Don’t let the green beans get too hot or they will cook!

While the sauce is heating, prepare your shrimp: place flour on a plate and dredge the shrimp in the flour.

Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in frying pan over high heat (or if you have an induction burner, you can turn that baby up to level 7 or 8 to make the shrimp crispy). Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, or until cooked through, turning once halfway through.

Assemble, bask, and devour.

Crispy shrimp.

Even Maddies wants a taste:

Why did I call this recipe “My Sweet Tart“? Peter and I both agree that this sauce is incredible: sweet from the coconut milk, tart from the sour cream, slightly spicy from the spices, and with an occasional crunch from the green beans and crispy shrimp. I’m glad I made a big batch of the sauce – future meals are calling its name!

So, there you have it! Recipe, I send you out into the world, in hopes that you may bring me the ultimate prize – or at least a happy tummy or two.

Q: What’s YOUR favorite noodle dish?

P.S. After reading Nicole‘s gentle insistence that everyone make these life-changing maple snickerdoodle cookies, I succumbed to pressure and happily baked a batch (with the addition of chocolate in a few cookies).

Yep. They were good.


  1. yuuuumm! your recipe looks absolutely delicious (and love the name)!! i have a bunch of frozen shrimp sitting in my freezer, so i may just have to take a nice study break and whip this up 🙂 thanks for sharing–you’ve definitely got my vote!

  2. hey Jessie,

    i’m totally loving everything about this dish. this is almost like an Asian fusion you’ve got going on with the noodles, Chinese sausage, shrimp and spices. i’m a big fan of any dish with coconut milk. it never would have crossed my mind to add in the coconut extract – LOVE IT! you call it “key”, i would’ve called it “secret ingredient” 😉 i’m also loving the fun, colourful noodles. your dish has everything from creativity, to taste, and texture. the presentation is lovely and very appetizng. a great dish indeed, my friend!

    your fish-shaped ginger grater is too cute. now i want one!and your spice rack? holy moley, i think someone has a spice obsession? job well done with the spice rack by the way, Peter. it looks quite professional. 6 is quite impressive, Jessie because i’ve actually tried something like that and it’s not easy. thanks for introducing me to Fenugreek. i was actually going to ask you what it was, but you read my mind.

    those maple snickerdoodle cookies look delicious. adding chocolate to themn was a great idea. i think we need to see more of happy Jessie happily baking. mine always turn out not as great as expected. glad to see you’re having better luck with baking. enjoy the weekend, dear!

  3. wow, the noodles look delish, Jessie!! I like the different colors of the noodles…presentation is a huge deal for me, even if I’m making something for myself. I’m not the biggest fan of Chinese sausages…but I like them enough in small doses. You’re right, a little goes a long way!

  4. Oooh, so cute!

    I think pasta is all about the sauce and this one looks fantastic! I find sauces very daunting, they seem so complex and a bit fussy. My favourite way to cook is to throw everything in a big pot and add some spices 🙂 I really need to expand my horizons, haha.

    Have a wonderful weekend Jessie 🙂

  5. jessie I LOVE that spice rack! That is exactly what I need in my kitchen. Now. If only I could find a man to build it for me…

    this noodle dish sounds delicious! Quick, easy, tasty (I mean HELLO – SIX spices!). Yum.

  6. What a delicious pasta dish! I have never heard of coconut extract before, but now I’m eager to jump down to Whole Foods and find it! I bet it adds some amazing flavor! And I must say that I love your spice rack! What a great way to organize and store all of those herbs and spices. I hope that you win this challenge…you certainly have my vote! Thank you for sharing with me today. I hope you have a joyous Monday!

  7. Love the colors of your noodles, love the Chinese sausage in there too! Maddies is in luck! *envy*

  8. So creative!! Keeping my fingers crossed that this recipe brings you the win! 🙂

    And I love little Bonnie in her bed. So cute. I also love your spice rack! Can Peter please come and build me one!? My spices are a mess!

  9. I have never tried half of the ingredients you used so I cannot fathom how it might taste, but I have to say, the presentation is awesome! This is one of the most beautiful dishes I have ever seen, with the green/orange noodles and the shrimps and the sausage! Also my mum believes that you can never go wrong when cooking shrimps and prawns, so well done for creating a recipe which looks great, is quite unlike anything I’ve seen before and I’m sure tastes good! 🙂 Good luck in the competition!

    Favourite noodle dish? Um I don’t think I have one actually, noodles is not my favourite type of pasta, and pasta is not my favourite type of food (though I eat it quite often because it’s so easy and quick to cook! And I can be creative with the sauces!).

    The spice rack looks cool and very useful! 🙂

  10. J,

    Thanks for a fantastic entry into the Quickies Challenge. Love the Chinese sausage. Just a wonderfully balanced bowl of noodles. I would probably put down two easy.

    You have the neatest spice rack. Mine looks like a bomb ravaged it.



  11. Hubby is probably going to cut off our internet connection soon LOL Every other week, at least, I tell him, why can’t we have ……. or why can’t we buy a ……. like ……. or why can’t you make a spice rack like …… *ahem* 😀

    LOVE your adorable ginger grater too!!! Oh man! I want one now *arghh*

    Thanks Jessie, for a great entry into our challenge! Love the colours, the flavours and the topping of pan fried shrimp. Great textures! I am intrigued by the addition of coconut extract and imagine it must really add to the flavour profile of this very appealing creation!

    My favourite noodle dish?? Two – beef pho and char kway teow. Yeah.

  12. First I have to say, the burrow bed is adorable! The noodles look pretty fantastic too, I especially love the balance of flavors in that sauce! LOVE your spice rack…does Peter sell his products? (Seriously!)

  13. I think your noodle dish turned out great. I love angel hair with garlic and olive oil. I could eat that all day, maybe with a little grated cheese. I need to see if my dog would do the burrow bed thing. My cat has something similar.

  14. Oh, I always knew you were a spice-y gal, Miss Jessie. 🙂

  15. First off, this dish looks amazing! Second, what a fun challenge! You should definitly win!!

    Love Maddie and the tummy stretch!

    I am super impressed with the spice rack Peter built! It looks like you have everything!!!

  16. Hello Jessie…I was just visiting my friend Denise and saw your winning recipe. As curious as I am…especially when noodles are involved…I had to come take a look at your ingredients. I can now fully understand why they chose your entry. Congrats to a creation well put together.

    BTW…first time to meet Maddie…and my puppy ‘Sushi’ would probably have his eyes all over her…too adorable ;o)

    Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,

  17. Love the pics of your babies 🙂
    This is such a fantastic dish, congrats on your win…
    Hope you are having a lovely Holiday Season and have a wonderful weekend 🙂

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