Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kid-Tested Easy Peanut Noodles

Don't let the picture of basic brown noodles throw you off - this is one of my kids' favorite (and after-school-friends' most-requested) recipes; it's quick, easy, filling and doesn't have to have "weird ingredients and leafy vegetables" in it.
(Note: I have added some suggestions for vegetables at the end, because just as often we DO make it that way.)

Not that that my kids don't like veggies. They'll actually eat just about anything, and often fill this dish with all sorts of color and crunch - but some days, we all want to stir something quick and easy together. (Still a lot better than Cup-A-Noodles too!)

Just be aware that my girls like stuff medium-spicy, adjust spices as you prefer.

Easy Thai-Inspired Peanut Noodles

1/2 cup vegetable or veggie-chicken-style broth
1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger root (substituting dry ground ginger will NOT work well here)
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons peanut butter (creamy, chunky, plain, natural style, whatever; I tend to like Peanut Butter & Co.'s regular peanut butter here, it seems to blend smoother than many)
1 1/2 tablespoons brown rice syrup, honey, maple syrup or agave nectar (or corn syrup works in a pinch)
1 - 2 teaspoons hot chile sauce or paste (like Schiracha - from an Asian market or well-stocked supermarket) or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne or hot pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, pressed thru garlic press
1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice or red wine vinegar

8 ounces noodles of your choice: Udon noodles, Buckwheat Soba noodles, thin vermicelli noodles or rice sticks (like for Pad Thai), or in a pinch, plain ol' unseasoned Ramen noodles or whole wheat spaghetti!!

*ADD INS (as few or as many as you like - your preference):
-- Lightly stir-fried veggies - carrots, cabbage, peapods, peppers, whatever
-- chopped fresh spinach or kale
-- fresh bean sprouts
-- toasted sesame or sunflower seeds
-- cubes of cooked butternut or other winter squash
-- raisins (yes, raisins)
-- frozen peas, slightly thawed
-- favorite seitan or gluten product, cubed and browned a bit
-- chick peas/garbanzos
-- cubes of browned tempeh
-- crispy cubes of tofu
(see picture - we get these ready-made at the Asian Market. Flash-fried an even brown using a whole lot less oil than when I try it. Yum!)

TOPPINGS/GARNISHES (as preferred):
-- 1/4 cup chopped green onions
-- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts or cashews
-- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
-- 1/2 cup chopped mint

First, cook the noodles according to package directions for whatever type of noodles you have.
Drain and set aside, covered, to keep warm.

Meanwhile, (or while noodles are cooking if you can do two things at once) make sauce:

SAUCE: Combine broth, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter, syrup, chili paste, lime juice and garlic in a small saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, stirring until peanut butter melts and is heated through.

Stir hot sauce into well drained noodles.

At this point, add whatever optional "Add-In" ingredients sound good, depending on who is making the dish. Stir "Add-ins" into hot sauce and noodles just to heat through

Garnish with toppings.
It's these garnishes that REALLY make this dish special!

It's that easy!!

I love this recipe because it's so versatile - you can make it many different ways, depending on what ingredients you have on hand and it's all good.
My older Sprouts make this with no written recipe, each adding variations that suit them, my youngest gets in these moods where she begs for it almost every day after school. And hey, it can be a "snack" OR a whole meal, your call.

Sometimes we do the stuff just "plain" and other times, we (well, mostly I) add LOTS of lightly sauteed veggies according to what's in the fridge that day - red pepper strips, carrots, green beans, bean sprouts, red onion and/or brocolli. When the girls cook, it's usually pea pods, carrots and fried tofu cubes. The nice thing is that pretty much anything goes and the dish can be individualized to make almost anyone happy!


vko said...

Hi there Tofu-Mom! it's been awhile! love love love peanut anything but especially peanut noodles...I love mine with buckwheat soba for that extra nutritional boost!

Tanya said...

Love any sort of "peanut" noodles!! (I use whatever I have, Sunbutter, or Almond Butter)And it's usually so easy to do....however I haven't made any in a while. But now I want some :)