Recipe: Sesame Peanut Noodles

At the end of last Summer I got to visit New York with my Girlfriend Lucy, on a mission to see places from the telly and eat like food bloggers for 10 wonderful, but increasingly sluggish days.  We spent the first five days in Williamsburg; acting like a slightly more bearable version of the characters from Girls, and when we got that out of our system we decided to head more central so we’d have better access to tourist places.  We didn’t count on it being one of the hottest days of the year, and against all better judgement, we hauled all of our luggage from Brooklyn to Harlem on the Subway.  That was a lot to take for the kind of pale, hairy guy who gets flustered on a scorching 15°c day in England, so when we reached the new apartment I was ready to pass out.  LUCKILY this was a Sunday, and we wanted to watch the episode of Breaking Bad that was airing that night, so we decided to spend the night indoors, asked our host for some take-away recommendations, and took the opportunity cross “New York Chinese-food in those little cartons” off my food-bucket list.

The experience was everything I’d ever hoped for while watching Friends as a fat teenager, and the one dish that stood out was a cold salad with green noodles (I do not know why they were green, spinach maybe?) and a sesame peanut dressing.  Neither of us had tried anything like it before, and it was just a nice break after 5 days of eating Chicken & Waffles and Chicken & Waffle flavoured crisps.  We tried to find something like it when we got home, but after checking the menus of the more credible Chinese takeaways back home we soon lost all optimism.  After a bit of experimenting though, I managed to come up with a recipe which is pretty similar.

This recipe is enough to serve two, with another two decent portions left over for lunch-boxes.
  • Dried Egg Noodles
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • A slack handful of Mange Tout
  • A similarly slack handful of Beansprouts
  • 1 Bunch of Spring Onions
For the Dressing
  • 2 Tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp Fish Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • Sesame Seeds
  1. Julienne all of the vegetables in advance, because the rest of this really won’t take long at all.
  2. With the vegetables sufficiently julienned, boil your noodles in plenty of lightly salted water.  While they’re boiling, combine all of the dressing ingredients and mix until they’re emulsified.
  3. When you think your noodles are ready, YOU’RE ALREADY TOO LATE.  Take them out about a minute before you usually would.  Drain them in a colander immediately, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil so they don’t stick together,  and add all of your vegetables and beansprouts so they soften a little in the noodles’ residual heat.
  4. With your noodles still in the colander, add your dressing and mix well.  Don’t worry if a little bit of the dressing escapes through the colander’s holes, if there’s any more than we need to coast the noodles then it could just sit at the bottom of the bottom of your bowl when you serve it, and that’s not what this is.
  5. Plate up, and garnish with sesame seeds and spring onions.  Pro tip: Cut your spring onions lengthways rather than into little disks.  It looks fancier, and it spreads the flavour of them out rather than biting into a tiny capsule of concentrated spring onion flavour.
It’s as easy as that.  I usually serve this with steamed broccoli or something similar, which is easy because you can just steam the vegetables in a colander over the noodles while you cook them.
I’m no closer to finding those elusive green noodles though, any ideas?

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