I could slurp peanut noodles for days. But as something of a seasoned peanut noodle slurper, I wanted my version to be spot on, and up to snuff. The sauce is a balance of salty, sharp, sweet and rich, and just hovering between liquid and paste for the perfect amount of "noodle cling".
I love the taste of peanut noodles the next day when they've had time to really let the flavors meld. I threw in some easy pickled bean sprouts for kick (and crunch) and some simply seared tofu to make this a well-rounded lunch box. Just try not to slurp too loudly.
The sauce will taste a little heavy on the soy and saltiness when you first taste it, but as it sits overnight the peanut flavor will become more prominent, and the sauce will balance itself out. The pickling brine for the bean sprouts is pretty generic, so feel free to try it out on a different vegetable to toss in here--carrots, cucumbers or snow peas would all add equal color, crunch and flavor.
About the Author: Suzanne Lehrer is a writer and recipe developer in New York and a recipe editor for Cooking Channel. When not curating her budding hot sauce collection, she puts her French Culinary Institute education to good use in kitchens all around town. Find her on twitter @the_suzchef
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- Yield:serves 2
- Active time: 10 minutes
- Total time:8 hours 10 minutes (includes pickling time)
- 1/2 cup white, apple cider or rice wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 2 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon juice from 1 lime
- 4 ounces dried soba noodles
- 2 teaspoons white or black sesame seeds
- 8 ounces firm tofu, cubed and dried on paper towels
- Kosher salt
Whisk together 1/2 cup water, vinegar, sugar and salt in small bowl until sugar and salt are dissolved. Combine brine with sprouts and scallions in a small sealed container and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to overnight. (This can be done ahead and combined with the salad the next day when serving).
Whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, 3 tablespoons warm water, 2 teaspoons sesame oil, fish sauce, honey, lime juice. Cook soba noodles in lightly salted water according to package instructions. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Toss together noodles with peanut sauce and sesame seeds to coat.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons sesame oil in saute pan. Saute tofu until lightly browned on all sides, about 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Place noodles in containers and top with tofu. Refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, top with pickled bean sprouts and scallions.