Barefoot & In The Kitchen – 5 Spice Steak & Noodle Salad

I am a magazine junkie.

I receive a vast number of magazines in the mail each month, as part of a long term subscription for only $14.95/month (for the rest of eternity). A number of these magazines are ones that I would go out of my way to read on my own – McLean’s, BC Business, Canadian Business, Conde Naste Traveller. Others, I would read strictly on a stuck-in-the-waiting-room-nothing-else-to-read-but-this basis. Chatelaine belongs in this grouping. It’s a fine Canadian women’s publication (much better than the ungodly Flare or LouLou that come as a mandatory part of my bundle despite being unwanted) but I would typically not pay money for a magazine that specializes in “5 Ways To Prevent Muffin Top Today!” and “Where Does The Sex Go at 40?” variety of articles. I prefer my headlines to scream “Are You a Bull in a Bear Economy?” or “Is Harper Too Hot To Handle? Why King Iggy is a Cold Fish.”


One of the things that I do derive pleasure from as a result of Chatelaine (beyond something to read on the crapper/while pretending to watch my daughter at ballet) is perusing their fairly extensive and varied recipe/food section. Being a foodie, I am always looking for new and tasty ways to shake up the routine here in the Fortress. Nothing makes me giddier (besides a federal election/death of a celebrity that I picked in my death pool) than the preparation and anticipation of a dish that I haven’t had before and am about to make.

Tonight, I served the familia a healthy meal of 5 Spice Steak & Noodle Salad, based on a recipe in the April 2010 edition of Chatelaine.

Asian inspired, highly fragrant, and easy to prepare, this recipe was a winner with The Old Man. His meal preferences run towards stirfries and soups, the use of chicken/fish or beef, and plenty of veggies. This fit the bill. The kids were not as impressed.  While they are not picky eaters, neither one of them is a big fan of noodles/pasta. The bulk of the meal consisted of cooked rice noodles, and this was received less than enthusiastically. They did, however, gobble up the steak, and declared it “very yum!”

My own thoughts? Meh. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t knock my socks off. I found the steak bland, and ended up jazzing it up with horseradish during the frying process. I omitted the evil fish sauce (Satan’s Condiment) and replaced with soy sauce. I doctored my own portion with sriracha sauce (I prefer my food heavy on the spice) and several sliced up Serrano peppers.

Five-Spice Beef Noodle Salad

Published by Chatelaine on 4/1/2010

This flavourful rice-noodle salad will perk you up with a tangy dressing that perfectly matches the juicy steak’s spice rub.


  • 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) hot chili-garlic sauce
  • 4 tsp (20 mL) fish sauce
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 454-g pkg medium rice vermicelli noodles
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) dark sesame oil
  • 3/4 lb (375 g) top-sirloin grilling steak, preferably 1 in. (2.5 cm) thick
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) five-spice powder
  • Handful of snow peas, trimmed
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Put a kettle on to boil. Meanwhile, finely grate 1 tbsp (15 mL) peel and squeeze 1 tbsp (15 mL) juice from limes into a small bowl. Stir in chili-garlic sauce, fish sauce and sugar. Place noodles in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let stand, stirring occasionally until tender, 8 to 14 min. Drain, then return to bowl. Toss with sesame oil.
  2. Brush steak with vegetable oil. Rub both sides with five-spice powder. Sprinkle with salt. Coat a frying pan with oil and set over medium-high. When hot, add steak. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, 3 to 4 min per side for medium-rare. Let stand 5 min.
  3. Meanwhile, slice snow peas lengthwise if you like. Add to noodles in bowl along with carrot and cilantro. Drizzle with lime mixture. Toss to coat. Divide noodles among plates. Slice steak, then lay over noodles. Serve with lime wedges.

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