Recipe Review: Peanut Sesame Noodles

May 20, 2008 at 8:18 pm (Recipes) (, , )

Today I’m going to shamelessly plagiarize from Smitten Kitten.  This is the recipe I found on her site and thought it looked easy enough and tasty.  Bear with me because I am actually recommending this recipe even though mine didn’t turn out nearly as pretty as hers.  I thought the flavor was good and it was something different.  Tom didn’t much care for it, so it’s officially Chick Food.

Peanut Sesame Noodles
Adapted from Gourmet, June 2002

Servings: Makes 6 side-dish or 4 vegetarian main-course servings.

For peanut dressing
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes or a splash of the hot sauce or chili paste of your choice

For noodles
3/4 lb dried soba nooodles (dried linguine fini or spaghetti will work in a pinch)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
Half a seedless cucumber, thinly sliced
1 cup firm or extra-firm tofu, cubed
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted

Purée dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes, then transfer to a large bowl.

Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until tender. Drain in a colander, then rinse well under cold water.

Add pasta, scallions, bell peppers, cucumber and tofu to dressing, tossing to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Mmm….doesn’t that just look yummy?  Now I’ll tell you my experience.

First, I didn’t use tofu.  I’m not sure tofu is allowed in my house.  I used grilled chicken but shrimp sounds good too.  Secondly, I didn’t used cucumber.  Ech.  I had some asparagus, so I blanched the asparagus for 2 minutes (actually, I just threw it in with the noodles for the last two minutes of cooking time).  You could basically use any veggie combo your heart desired.  Snap peas, sweet peas…umm….out of ideas now.

This, however, is not how my dish looked.

I hate to type this, but my dish was kinda, um, dull colored and tacky looking.  And by tacky I mean sticky looking.  It didn’t have the smooth look like above.  It may have partly been due to the fact that my soba noodles, when I did find them (three grocery stores later!), were already a brown color like the color of wheat pasta.

Smitten’s soba noodles are white and that may help brighten the dish up considerably.  However, the soba noodles were tasty, regardless of their color, so if you can find them, try it.  They are shorter than spaghetti, about 6 inches, so it was easy to eat.

Also, I used tiny red and yellow peppers and sliced them very thin.  I would recommend using larger slices of the large size peppers, but the thought of spending almost $5 for TWO peppers broke my heart so I instead spent $5 on 5 tiny peppers and felt I got more bang for my buck.  It’s all psychological.

My sauce did look like hers though.  Maybe my peanut butter was extra creamy and that’s why my sauce really stuck to the noodles.

I used my Magic Bullet which was great, but a blender or even a stand mixer would probably be fine.

Smitten describes eating this cold.  I didn’t want to eat cold noodles, so mine was more of the warm/hot variety.  Obviously, I liked it hot.  I tried it the next day straight out of the fridge and wasn’t impressed, so I imagine that it might be good at room temp, but hey, do what you please.

Also, it seemed to make a lot.  You could try halving the recipe, or make some and freeze, or use for leftovers.

In all, I recommend trying this recipe, even if my dish turned out kinda gummy looking and rather colorless.  It tasted just fine.  I liked the peanuty flavor (um, who doesn’t) and it wasn’t too spicy for me, but you could kick it up if you wanted.  And if you make if for a guy, I would try to throw in some think flank steak or something to appease them.  Or do what I did and top it all off with extra cake for dessert!

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