better than take out

food detective

Categories: Grains and Pasta, Dinner for Two, Supper, Posted on July 20, 2021 by Sandy Bergsten

This past week I’ve been feeling very nostalgic. It’s had me reflecting on the onset of my adult life and the milestones that followed. In the mid-eighties and early nineties, I lived way up on the Upper West Side of NYC. The cold sesame noodles from our corner Chinese were one of my guilty pleasures. I don’t know how they packed so much flavor and ultimate comfort into that little white takeout box.

I’ve been trying to duplicate that recipe for decades, with no avail. Then when I was making this amazing recipe for roasted shrimp and pineapple with peanut sauce, I realized I could use that sauce to make own takeout noodles. The result a perfect creamy, salty, soothing, utterly delicious edible memory.

Here are my cold sesame noodles.

For the peanut sauce whisk together a half cup of smooth peanut butter, three tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk, three tablespoons hot water, one and a half tablespoons fresh lime juice, half a teaspoon lime zest, two teaspoons brown sugar, two teaspoons soy sauce, two teaspoons grated ginger, a minced garlic clove, half a teaspoon sriracha, half a teaspoon fish sauce and a pinch of kosher salt.

Whisk until smooth. Add more lime juice and/or salt to taste. 

The sauce can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to five days.

For the noodles, cook eight ounces of dry spaghetti until al dente according to package directions. 

Drain, rinse with cold water, drain well. 

Toss the noodles with a tablespoon of toasted sesame oil. 

If making ahead of time add a couple big spoonfuls of peanut sauce to lightly coat, cover, and refrigerate. Don’t add any more sauce. Toss with the rest of the sauce with noodles just before serving, otherwise the noodles will absorb all of the sauce.

Before serving add the remaining sauce to the noodles and toss to evenly coat. 

For the garnish cut a red pepper and half of a peeled and seeded cucumber into matchsticks.

Trim and slice two scallions on the diagonal. Destem a quarter cup of cilantro leaves and roughly chop a quarter cup of salted peanuts.

Add three quarters of the cucumber, red pepper, scallions, cilantro leaves, and chopped peanuts to the noodles and gently toss. Sprinkle the remaining on top to garnish. 

You'll find this throwback takeout is so addictive you might want to make a full batch of the peanut sauce, then when the craving hits cook two ounce of noodles and toss with a quarter of the sauce and a quarter of the vegetables and peanuts. 

For an easy breezy dinner, pair with beef lettuce wraps

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