I was flipping through one of my favorite cookbooks, A Modern Way to Eat, when I came across a recipe for Raw Thai Citrus Crunch Salad. I love all things Thai. I spent three weeks in Thailand for my honeymoon and it holds a special place in my heart. I started reading through the ingredients and the first one was courgette. I thought, “That is a lovely word. I wonder what it is?” I consulted my friend Google, and to my dismay, I found out it was zucchini. I cannot tell you how much I dislike zucchini. To me, it is the black licorice of the vegetable world. I am a nurse. I know a lot of gross words, but zucchini offends me more than most of those words. The only exception is if it is baked into bread and then that bread is covered in butter and honey.
After my initial reaction, I took a deep breath and continued to read the ingredients. Everything else sounded so yummy — in fact, it sounded like a fresh, healthy version of one of my favorite Thai dishes, Pad Thai. Also, I absolutely love this cookbook. The author, Anna Jones, has never disappointed me. She uses cool words like courgette and aubergine (eggplant) and refers to vegetables as simply “veg.” She is British, and the Brits have given us some amazing things. Think about it: Harry Potter, afternoon tea, and scones.
Considering all of this, I decided to expand my world a bit and make this salad. The flavors were so reminiscent of Pad Thai that I wondered what it would be like if I turned the zucchini into zoodles. Admittedly, I have not really been on board with them. Some person who probably likes black licorice took zucchini and tried to fool us all into thinking it was pasta. The first time I read about zoodles, I think my eyes rolled so hard they nearly got stuck. I was not going to participate in this travesty. Never.
I’m now eating those words, and eating the zoodles! I get it. The original recipe called for using a vegetable peeler to make strips, but making the zucchini into noodles is so much easier, and remarkably turns out a lot like actual noodles. This salad has that sweet, salty, spicy, sour balance that is so characteristic of Thai cuisine, but it turns it into something that you can eat and feel good about. It’s guilt-free and very satisfying. In fact, as the Brits would say, “It’s brilliant.”