Please note: Eileen Goltz is a freelance kosher food writer. The Orthodox Union makes no endorsements or representations regarding kashrut certification of various products/vendors referred to in her articles, blog or web site.
Every now and then I want to have something “different” for a main course. After only eating red meat, I’m chickened out, and if I have to eat one more piece of salmon I’m going to grow gills. I want fast, easy and ok, I’ll say it, I want pasta.
Not just any pasta, mind you. It’s not spaghetti or macaroni or even lasagna that I crave. No, I long for the luscious, creamy sesame and peanut noodles of my childhood. The ones I used to get when my mom and dad took us (my siblings and me) to dinner in Chicago’s Chinatown. For lo, these many years I’ve eaten many a Thai, Szechwan, Mandarin and Vietnamese dish in my quest for the same creamy, fiery, smooth and delicious sauce that smothered noodles and chicken and salads. While I’ve found a few recipes that are really close and none have been exactly the same as the sauces of my memory.
Since the restaurant that served my favorite dishes has been long closed I’ve been experimenting with sesame and peanut sauce recipes to see if I could recreate the culinary experience. I’m convinced that with enough time, enough pasta and sesame oil I will succeed. In the meantime the following recipes are some of the ones I’ve tried that run a close second to the sesame/peanut noodles of my dreams.
Noodle Note: You can use any type of pasta with the sauces. For the less adventurous chef I suggest angel hair pasta or linguini but if you’re adventurous you’ll probably fall in love with soba, rice and cellophane noodles. They are easy to prepare and readily available in most grocery or specialty stores.
EXTRA SPECIAL SPICY PEANUT SAUCE (pareve)
You can use this recipe on pasta, chicken or as a salad dressing
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 lime, zest and juice
2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons minced garlic or 2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh minced ginger
1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or parsley if you don’t care for cilantro)
1/2 cup oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
2 to 3 teaspoons chili sauce (or less if you don’t like a kick in your dressing)
3 to 4 tablespoons of water depending on how thick you want the dressing.
Place everything EXCEPT the water in a blender or food processor and mix until smooth. Add the water slowly to achieve the desired consistency. You don’t have to add the water if you like the dressing the way it is. I always add a bit of water if I’m using it to dress greens. Makes about 2 cups.
PEANUT NOODLES WITH VEGETABLES AND CHICKEN (meat)
1 to 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, grilled or poached, cooled and cut into bite sized pieces or shredded
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
8 ounce whole-wheat spaghetti
2 to 3 cups chopped fresh vegetables (broccoli, carrots, green beans, cauliflower etc)
Put a large pot of water on to boil for cooking the pasta, add the pasta and cook until almost done. Add the vegetables and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes, just until the vegetables start to get soft. Drain the pasta and vegetables but save 1 cup of the liquid. Rinse the pasta and vegetables in cool water to stop the cooking process. Drain. In a bowl combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, garlic, chile sauce and ginger. Whisk to combine then add the hot left over liquid, whisk to combine. Place the pasta and vegetables into a large serving bowl. Add the chicken and pour the dressing over the top. Mix to combine and serve hot or refrigerate for a few hours and serve cold. Serves 4 to 6. This recipe can be doubled or tripled.
Modified from eatingwell.com
DUMP IN NOODLE SALAD (pareve)
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 chopped cucumber
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 small red onion, diced
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 to 3 packages Ramen noodles, cooked and drained (discard the seasoning packet)
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3/4 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 to 2 teaspoons minced garlic
red chili flakes, as much as you like
3 tablespoons water or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped green onions and/or parsley
In a blender or food processor combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, sesame oil, garlic and red chili pepper. Process to combine. Add a little water if the mixture is too thick. Season to taste with a bit more of the soy sauce if you feel like the dressing needs a bit more kick.
In a salad bowl combine the pasta, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, red pepper, onion and bean sprouts. Pour the peanut sauce all over the salad and toss to coat. Garnish with chopped green onions and/ or parsley. Serve hot or cold. Serves 4 to 6. This recipe can be doubled.
My file, source unknown
SESAME PEANUT PASTA SALAD (pareve)
3 cups shredded mixed greens
2 cups cooked noodles (I like angle hair or linguini), drained and cooled
3/4 cup shelled edamame
3 stalks celery, sliced
4 green onions, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper cut into thin strips
1 can baby corn, drained and cut into pieces
1/2 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped (sunflower kernels may be substituted)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
In a small bowl combine the sugar, sesame oil oil, pepper and soy sauce, Whisk to combine. In a salad bowl combine the cooked noodles, edamame, celery, baby corn, green onion and red pepper with half the dressing. Toss to coat. Add the lettuce and remaining dressing to the noodle mixture and toss to coat. Garnish with peanuts before serving. Serves 4.
Note: you can add grilled chicken to this but you will need to double the dressing recipe and add the cooked chicken and dressing with the noodles.
Modified from yummly.com
DIAKON & SESAME PEANUT NOODLES (pareve)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine or white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
8 ounces linguini noodles, cooked, drained and rinsed
Salt to taste
2 cups bean sprouts, blanched
1 cup carrots, finely shredded
1 cup daikon (or red radish), finely shredded
1 English cucumber cut in half then sliced
4 green onions, sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
Fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
In a bowl combine the soy sauce, vinegar, salt, sugar, peanut oil, sesame oil, orange zest, and chili. Whisk to combine.
In a large salad bowl combine the noodles with the bean sprouts, cucumber, carrots, daikon, green onions, and sesame seeds. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours before serving. Garnish with cilantro. Serves 6 to 8.
© Eileen Goltz sesame peanut noodles 13a