Sarah and I are both in the midst of orientation now. Hard to believe that in less than a week, we will be introducing ourselves as “Dr. Ren.” FYI Sarah changed her last name partially because she realized that pediatric programs often feed their residents unlike surgery programs and has every intention of stealing my lunch…I only partially jest.
One of our go to simple recipes in a time crunch is a version of Chinese cold noodles or “涼麵.” This particular dish originated in the Sichuan province and traditionally involved sesame paste. Growing up, this was my family’s version of spaghetti and meatballs, especially suited for a hot day. My mom made her own version and would take Jif peanut butter and mix it with soy sauce as a base for the noodles. A DIY assortment of condiments, julienne veggies, and minced meat was laid out for us to customize the meal as we saw fit.
In the version that Sarah and I make, we’ve blended a lot of the flavors into a more uniform sauce that still retains the original nutty base with hints of acidity, spiciness, and sweetness. It continues to be a crowd pleaser. In fact, I remember making this noodle dish for Lunar New Year for a group of friends in New Orleans. I spent all day cooking and yielded a fairly impressive spread of dumplings, steamed fish, short ribs, and eggplant in addition to the noodles. To my surprise and chagrin, it was the humble peanut noodles that stole the show.
Spicy Peanut Noodles
I’m not going to bore you with the details on how to cook noodles. I tend to like wider flour noodles for this dish. You can also customize it with any vegetables that you want. We just happened to have some leftover kale from the farmer’s market.
Ingredients for spicy peanut sauce:
- Peanut butter 3 T
- Rice wine vinegar 3 T
- Green onions 2 stalks, chopped
- Thai chili 2-3, chopped
- Ginger 1 T, chopped
- Garlic 3 cloves, chopped
- Soy sauce 1 T
- Honey 1 T
- Sesame oil 1 tsp
- Water 2 T
Put all ingredients into blender and blend until uniform consistency. Pour over noodles and toss until noodles are coated. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, sliced green onion, and Thai basil.