Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rainbow Peanut Noodles

I probably have about 3 or 4 staples. They've been the same for about 10 years now. Not very exciting I know. But this is one of them. I haven't made this one in a while. It came from the same Asian cookbook I got my Pad Thai recipe from. A girl I worked with about 9 years ago brought the book in and I photocopied a few recipes. Now, there's something very odd about this recipe, the peanut sauce calls for 8 cloves of garlic. The first time I made it I think I put in 6. My husband and I reeked for days and the fridge, well, we just did our best to keep it shut. Ever since, i've only ever put 2 cloves in. But no matter where I check online, it always still calls for 8. Has no one ever found this overly offensive?? Anyway, this dish is wonderful. It's more of a summer meal, but i'm going to a potluck tomorrow and need to bring something. And since my list of what I make is pretty small, this is what they're getting. I omitted the chicken for the potluck just because there will be many other dishes. But below is the complete, original recipe – 8 cloves and all!

What you’ll need
1/2 pound thin noodles, such as linguine, cooked until just tender, rinsed under cold water, drained, and tossed with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
5 carrots, peeled and grated
2 English (seedless) cucumbers, peeled,halved lengthwise, seeded, shredded, and squeezed dry
2 cups bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strings (about 1 cup)
2 cups sliced cooked chicken (cut into thin strips)
1-1/2 tablespoons minced scallion greens
Chinese peanut dressing (below)

What to do
Arrange the noodles in a large serving bowl. Arrange the vegetables in concentlic circles over the noodles and then pile the chicken in the center. Sprinkle the scallions on top. Serve at room temperature or chilled, with the Chinese peanut dressing. (In the case of my potluck, I just mixed everything together kind of as a salad.)

Chinese Peanut Dressing
One 1/2 inch-thick slice fresh ginger, peeled and sliced in half
8 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon hot chile paste,or more to taste
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter, or more if necessary
1/4 cup soy sauce
3-1/2 tablespoons sugar
3-1/2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
5 tablespoons Chinese Chicken Broth or water, or more if necessary

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a blender, finely chop the ginger and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed and process until smooth. The dressing should be the consistency of heavy cream. If it is too thick, add more water or chicken broth; if too thin, add more peanut butter. Refrigerated, in a covered container, the dressing will keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

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