peanut sauce and rice noodles

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Zeno Marx

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This is very quick and easily modified. I do this entire thing in one small pot and a small Tupperware container for the sauce. If you do this all at once, it shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes to make the entire dish. Serves two people.

1 part of a rice noodles packet (you decide on your preferred width; the ones I buy come 2 folded sections per package, and I only use one of the folds = 8oz)
--boil water, dump noodles into the water, immediately shut off stove, push noodles into water until completely covered. wait. I use the medium width noodles and start checking after 8 minutes, but it can take up to 10 minutes. for the thinner "vermicelli" noodles, it'll take less time, and for the thicker noodles, it will take longer. this is entirely trial and error. I used to make the mistake of boiling until soft because that was the package directions (like paste, but rice noodles aren't like pasta), and that results in gummy noodles. DO NOT THROW OUT THE WATER...when the noodles are just about done, take 3 tbs of the water, which is now infused with rice starch, and mix it in with the peanut sauce and stir. Because the sauce is so rich, you don't have to drain the noodles of every drop of water, either. A little wettish noodles are a good thing in this recipe.

the sauce:

2 tbs peanut butter (crunchy preferred)
2 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs brown sugar (or palm sugar if you prefer)
2 tbs Sambal Oelek (or sriracha or gochujang or gochugaru flakes)

Stir it up. I prefer the Sambal Oelek + a little glob of gochujang, but that's because I have gochujang and want to use it before it gets hard. You can make this part of the sauce recipe the night before and refrigerate it.

just before serving:
Add 3 tbs rice water from noodle preparation to the peanut sauce and stir, which begins the thinning of the sauce process and will thin further when added to the noodles, and that's supposed to happen with this rich sauce.

I add fried tofu to the noodles (that I fried in the pot before making the noodles and don't even bother to wash the pot out in-between). Add sauce to the prepared noodles and stir. You can top with scallions, bean sprouts, and/or julienned carrots. I prefer the bean sprouts for their crunch, and because I just like them a lot on Asian dishes. I'm told this is also good with chicken.
 
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Zeno Marx

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I should add that I don't use an actual measuring spoon. I use a tablespoon out of the silverware drawer because none of this is designed to be exact. The peanut butter is two tablespoon globs out of the jar, so it is likely to be more like 3 or 4 tablespoons if you bothered to precisely measure it out. Eyeball the whole dang recipe. You can't screw this up.
 
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