Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Peanut Noodles

Here's a super easy, quick, and delicious dish that can be whipped up with items that I always have on hand in my pantry. Two unusual ingredients used are:
• Mirin — a sweet rice-based wine commonly used in Japanese cooking
• Soba noodles — Japanese noodles made from buckwheat flour

Both can be found in the Asian food section of many grocery stores, at health food stores, or at Asian markets. Also, you can substitute sherry for the mirin and use rice noodles or spaghetti instead of the soba noodles.

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 pound soba noodles (two bundles)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon mirin
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup cooking liquid from the noodles

Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Cook noodles according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, in a hot pan toast the sesame seeds until they just begin to pop. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Mince garlic and ginger. Place in a cold pan with red pepper flakes and olive oil. Infuse the spices into the oil by slowly heating. When the spices begin to turn golden, pour into a mixing bowl. Add peanut butter, mirin, vinegar, and soy sauce. Whisk until smooth, adding at little of the hot cooking liquid at a time until the peanut butter mixture is a pour-able consistency.

Pour sauce over the drained soba noodles and toss. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Serves 2 two 3 people.

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