Eat Well for Less
Spicy peanut butter noodles
When I need to rustle up a quick meal out of nothing, I often turn to my stash of dried noodles and Chinese seasonings. A simple bowl of noodles, stirred into excitement by a spicy Sichuanese sauce, finished with a little fresh spring onion greens and some fragrant seeds or nuts, is extremely satisfying and takes less than half an hour to make.
This particular recipe is inspired by similar noodle dishes I've tasted in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, although I've used peanut butter instead of the more typical sesame paste. If I happen to have a cucumber or a crisp lettuce in the fridge, I might make a little salad to serve on the side.
I try to keep a supply of Clearspring dried udon and buckwheat noodles in my larder, but you can use any kind of dried Chinese or Japanese noodle for this recipe. If you don't have Chinkiang vinegar, use a marginally smaller amount of red wine vinegar instead: just enough to sharpen up the rich, nutty sauce.
peanut butter 4 tbsp
light soy sauce 2 tbsp
dark soy sauce 1 tsp
Chinkiang vinegar 1 tbsp
chilli oil 2-6 tbsp, to taste
sesame oil 2 tsp
garlic finely chopped 4 tsp
stock or water 3-4 tbsp
dried udon noodles 500g
white sesame seeds 2 tsp
finely sliced spring onion greens 4 tbsp
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry wok or frying pan, over a gentle heat, until golden. Set aside.
In a bowl, use a spoon to mash the peanut butter with the soy sauces and vinegar until evenly mixed. Stir in the chilli and sesame oils and the garlic, with enough stock or water to give the sauce the consistency of single cream.
Cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet. Drain well and divide among the serving bowls. Sprinkle each serving of noodles
with the spring onion greens and toasted sesame seeds. Ask your guests to mix everything together well
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image: © Stacy Spensley