Sometimes I decide to make a certain recipe for a particular reason. Other times, it's truly a whim. Spicy peanut sesame noodles (p. 332) was definitely a whim. The recipe has looked tasty to me for a while but was extremely long and had quite a few ingredients, including several odd items I didn't have on hand.
The odd ingredients:
1. Unsalted peanut butter. Unsalted PB is not particularly easy to find--likely because it doesn't taste very good.
2. Dark soy sauce. This ingredient was another mystery. I thought that maybe it was full-flavored soy sauce as compared to lite soy sauce but I wasn't sure about that. While at the local Asian grocery store looking for Chinese egg noodles, I ran across a bottle--it really is different than normal soy sauce. It's thicker and almost syrupy.
3. Freshly brewed black tea. I love tea, I drink a LOT of tea, I even really like black tea, but I don't drink a lot of plain, unflavored black tea. Luckily, Josh had a stash of it that he uses for iced tea.
I also had trouble finding "Chinese egg noodles". I found Chinese noodles but they weren't egg noodles. TJOC mentions that spaghetti could be used instead, so I figured they were close enough.
This recipe has quite a few ingredients that an average pantry probably doesn't have on hand unless you do at least an occasional amount of Asian cooking, such as chili oil, sesame oil, and rice vinegar (thankfully I had all of those).
I mixed the peanut butter, rice vinegar, light and dark soy sauces, garlic, one chile pepper (it gave me an option of 1-3 and I figured I would start low), honey (I think this recipe would be vegan if you used a different sweetener), salt, sesame oil, chili oil, and tea in my blender and blended until smooth:
I cooked the noodles in unsalted water and then rinsed until cool. I tossed the noodles with sesame oil (I assume so they don't stick):
I mixed the sauce into the noodles:
SO GOOD! Honestly, this recipe goes in to the pile of "Best of TJOC". The dish was very spicy, so I can't imagine how hot it would be with three peppers instead of one. It kept BEAUTIFULLY. In fact, I think it was better after it sat in the fridge for a couple days. The spicy, creamy sauce was amazingly delicious and I just wanted to keep eating it. The recipe makes a LOT of noodles though, so make sure you have hungry people on hand!
One warning--these are cold noodles. I got very used to cold noodles in Japan but not everybody likes them (although I think you should give them a shot, especially if you've never tried them).