When I first moved to Denver, my sister came to visit. We decided to frolic in the mountains but were too cheap and unskilled to ski or snowboard so we took sleds up to the continental divide. Well, needless to say you can't just sled down a mountain that butts up against a major road, but we did hike up [took 10-15 steps at a time then fell in the snow gasping for air] the mountain and were ravenous afterwards. Being such an amazing big sister, I had made sesame peanut noodles and served them cold in the back of the car after our "sledding" adventure. It may just have been the altitude and the hunger pains from our "hike" but those noodles were God's gift to our mouths!
A couple of weeks ago, my sister, Susie, politely requested/demanded that I make and post my recipe for those noodles since she still craves them, seven years later. Again, because I am such a stellar and devoted big sister/I had a hankering for those noodles, I made sesame peanut noodles for dinner last week. They were uh-mazing, even at a lowly 5280 ft and after an afternoon of playing trucks and trains with a toddler as opposed to "strenuous hiking."
If you try nothing else, please make this sauce and try not to ladle it into your mouth. In my opinion it is the perfect balance of savory, sweet, spicy and acidic. You could marinate meat in it, use it as a dipping sauce for egg or spring rolls or bathe in it. For you spicy people, you might want to add sriracha into it or that awesome vietnamese garlic chili paste. Mine was dinner for a one year old, so I omitted.
Sesame Peanut Noodles
Yields 4 servings
1 tsp cumin seeds, crushed or 1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup of peanut butter [I prefer a natural, crunchy variety like Smucker's]
2 tbsps chopped cilantro
3 green onions, chopped
Juice of 1/2 a lime
1 tbsp agave nectar or honey or brown sugar
*If you are missing any of the fancier ingredients in your pantry, don't be alarmed, this sauce would be great if it were just the soy sauce, peanut butter and sweetener...the rest of the ingredients are the icing on the cake.
1/2 pack/8 oz. of spaghetti/linguine noodles [I used whole wheat for the health and nutty quality]
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 small onion, sliced
1 cup quartered lengthwise baby carrots [I was out of normal carrots, feel free to substitute]
2 small bunches of broccoli, sliced into small florets
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp each of chopped green onion and cilantro to garnish
*This is another great pantry/veggie drawer buster. Use whatever veggies you have on hand. I have used asparagus and even al dente green beans. You truly can't mess it up if it mixed in with this sauce.
Add cumin and sesame seeds to a dry saucepan and toast on medium heat for about a minute to bring out the flavors.
Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, ground ginger and peanut butter. Stir until the peanut butter is totally mixed into the liquid.
Remove from heat to keep the following ingredients tasting fresh. Add the green onion, cilantro, lime juice and sweetener. Stir to combine. Set aside.
Begin preparing your pasta by bringing water to a boil in a large pot. Prepare pasta as directed on pasta package. Cook noodles until al dente.
While pasta is cooking, stir-fry the veggies. I use a wok, but feel free to use a large frying pan. Heat the cooking oil on medium high heat and then toss in your carrots, onions, broccoli and ginger.
Saute until broccoli spears are tender [10 minutes-ish]. This process can be expedited by putting a lid or piece of aluminum foil over your pan. If pasta is ready and your veggies are still looking raw, you can also "cheat" by adding a 1/2 cup of your pasta water into your veggies to help cook them quickly.
Add the al dente noodles to the pan with the vegetables and toss until combined.
Add the sesame peanut sauce and toss to equally coat the vegetables and noodles.
Garnish with cilantro and green onion and serve.
*Sidenote: Noodles taste way better when you eat them while watching a cute someone.