Sunday, May 25, 2008

Soba Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Jenn came up to visit this weekend and so I thought cook up this simple little dish that I know she likes. Peanut sauces, either as a dipping sauce, or with chicken skewers or noodles, occupy a central place in the pantheon of North Americanized Asian cuisine and are always very popular. I find that restaurants often make the sauces a little too sweet, so I had a fun time trying to balance the different flavors making up this sauce.


Recipe (Adapted from Ted Allen's The Food You Want To Eat, published at
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/3 cup roasted peanuts
1/3 cup light soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon mirin
2 medium garlic cloves
1 small cucumber
1/2 pound soba noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 scallions, sliced

Dry roast the sesame seeds in a wok or cast iron pan under medium for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. In a small food processor, blend the peanuts, sesame oil, half of the sesame seeds, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, mirin and garlic until the consistency of a thick sauce. Slice the cucumbers in half lengthwise, scoop out the insides with a fork and slice into U-shaped pieces. Cook the noodles in boiling water as directed on the package. Drain, rinse in cold water, and re-immerse in some boiling to reheat. Drain again, mix in with the sauce, cucumber, scallions, cilantro and remaining sesame seeds. Serve hot or cold.

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