I still have a soft spot for cold peanut noodles. These days, I make them with far fewer noodles and many more vegetables. Indeed, it's now more of a vegetable salad with a few noodles added in for textural contrast. A handful of fresh herbs rounds out the flavors.
Note: Fresh Chinese wheat noodles are available in most Asian markets. 1/4 pound dried linguini, fettucini, or spaghetti can be substituted if fresh Chinese noodles are unavailable.
- 8 ounces fresh Chinese noodles (see note)
- For the Dressing:
- 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons fresh ground chili sauce (such as Huy Fong brand Sambal Oelek or Sriracha), more or less to taste
- 2 tablespoons juice from 2 limes (or rice wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
- 1 clove garlic, grated on a microplane grater
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- To Assemble:
- 2 large red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, sliced into thin strips
- 1 large cucumber, seeded and sliced into fine julienne or small half moons
- 1 cup mung bean sprouts
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh basil, mint, or cilantro leaves
- 8 scallions, finely sliced at a severe bias to create long, thin strips
- 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, sliced into fine strips
- 1 to 2 red thai bird chilis, finely minced (optonal)
- 1/2 cup roughly crushed roasted peanuts
Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Agitate noodles until thoroughly chilled. Set aside while you make the dressing.
In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, soy sauce, chili sauce, lime juice, sesame seed oil, garlic, sugar or honey, and water. Whisk until homogeneous. Drain noodles thoroughly and add to bowl. Add bell peppers, cucumber, bean sprouts, basil leaves, scallions, jalapeños, and bird chilis (if using). Toss to combine. Serve immediately, topped with roasted peanuts.