Lunch Box: Spicy Noodle Bowl with Beef and Mango

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While I will eat a hot, soupy, saucy noodle stir-fry any time of day, they don't make for the best leftovers, usually becoming gloppy and congealed. (And usually only dug into on a lazy Sunday morning after a late Saturday night.)

Although eaten cold, this noodle bowl has all the satisfaction of fresh take-out, but is tailor-made for surviving a night in the fridge. Noodles can break down and become mushy if they sit in sauce for too long, so I packed the dressing separately overnight, and then tossed it in the next morning before I left the house. By lunchtime, the noodles and vegetables were well saturated, but still held their texture.

Made with tangy fish sauce, lime, chili flakes and soy sauce, the dressing does double duty as a quick marinade for the beef. Adding a little bit of honey to the dressing rounds out the tart flavors, and helps gives the beef a glazed crust on the grill. Throwing mango in there was an inspiration from a recent trip to Fatty Crab, where the Green Mango and Papaya Salad is pretty revelatory. Here I just use regular mango, but the natural sweetness takes on an acidic edge as it soaks up the dressing. And instead of breaking out the mandolin, I peeled it into long strips with a vegetable peeler.

Topped off with Thai basil and peanuts, this noodle bowl is incredibly easy to make, and good enough to keep you away from your Seamless account. If you can't wait until morning to take it to-go, dress the noodles and beef while they're hot--but don't expect any leftovers.

About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. On twitter and instagram @suzerbruiser

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