Sunday, January 21, 2007

Peanut-Sesame Noodles

In addition to the Black & White Brownie Delight, "A" also made the Peanut-Sesame Noodles from the same issue of Family Circle magazine. Here are her thoughts on that recipe:

Okay, up front I must admit that I did make quite a few changes to this recipe. I don't like going out and buying ingredients unless I'm pretty sure I'll use them again. And I do like to use up what I have. In this case, I used whole wheat rotini, thinking it would go well with the peanutty flavor (which it did). I used ordinary vinegar and soy sauce, olive oil instead of sesame oil, and powdered ginger instead of fresh. I also cut out the red pepper flakes (I'm not into high heat) and scallions (I'm not into garnishes), and replaced the chicken broth with water because I wanted a vegetarian dish. Oh, and I cut the recipe in half. And ate it warm instead of cold.

The good thing about this recipe is that it's really fast. You do want to start the pasta cooking first, because it takes longer to cook than the sauce does. The directions say to cook the sauce for about 10 minutes, but for me it didn't take nearly that long. Maybe 5 minutes tops. Even that was probably a little too long, because when it cooled, it thickened to about the consistency of tomato paste.

As for the flavor - all I could detect was peanut, and a hint of garlic. I probably should have put in more ginger - maybe a teaspoon at least - and maybe a little chili powder. Or something. Any ideas?

"A's" Verdict: Has potential, but needs some work.

Peanut-Sesame Noodles
(source: Family Circle magazine, January 2007)

1 pound linguine or lo mein noodles
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/3 cup chicken broth plus 1/3 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Asian dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons peeled ginger, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 scallions, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal

1. Cook linguine in a large pot of lightly salted water following package directions. Drain, and immediately plunge into an ice water bath. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in medium-size saucepan, combine peanut butter, chicken broth and water, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Whisk until combined. Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.

3. While sauce simmers, toast sesame seeds in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes, shaking pan to keep seeds from burning.

4. Drain noodles, discarding ice cubes. Toss with half of the dressing (about 3/4 cup), and allow to soak in for a few minutes. Add remaining dressing and toasted sesame seeds to noodles and toss until well combined. Top with sliced scallions and serve cold. Best if served on the day it is made.

Recycle: peanut butter jar, soy sauce bottle, sesame oil bottle

Compost: ginger peels, scallion greens


Anonymous said...

If you didn't use sesame oil then you missed a major aspect of the dish. sesame oil is very strongly flavored, and olive oil would be a rather significant deviation, which would have made the peanut flavor a bit stronger with no sesame flavor to balance it.

Lauren said...

Conversely, if you don't like "extra" ingredients hanging around but like the oriental flavors, I recommend buying a small bottle of peanut oil. You could cut down the amount of peanut butter in the recipe in favor of the oil, and it might not get quite so thick. Also FYI, "Ginger People" makes a jarred grated ginger that keeps indefinitely in the fridge (like garlic in a jar, but superior I think, since garlic is easy to press but fresh ginger is a pain to grate and doesn't keep as long as garlic). This sounds similar to a Frugal Gourmet recipe in his Whole Family Cookbook. As you say, quick--and kid-friendly, too. I prefer it warm as well.

Ali Parker said...

Lauren - knobs of fresh ginger, kept in the freezer grate easily on a box grater - almost like a hard cheese.