Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Potluck Recipe #27: Dan Dan Noodles

As a college student, I ate these noodles several times a week. I bought them from a tiny stand in an open market and ate them, right from the takeout box, standing on the street corner. Later, I learned to make the sauce at home and saved a couple bucks, along the way developing a taste for udon and buckwheat soba noodles.

There is life after ramen, of course, but occasionally I crave the comfort of that spicy peanut sauce and the ease of a one-bowl meal. As a cold salad, they make a great summer potluck dish and travel well, provided you toss the ingredients together just before eating, so the noodles stay al dente.

Dan Dan Noodles

Peanut sauce
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup warm water
2 tbsp. chopped peeled fresh ginger
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp. white vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes

3/4 lb soba, udon, ramen or rice noodles
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4 strips (or to taste)

1. Blend all dressing ingredients together until smooth and then transfer them to a large serving bowl.
2. Cook noodles according to directions in a pot of salted, boiling water. Drain in a colander and, if eating warm, toss with dressing and vegetables. You can also eat these noodles as a cold salad. Simple rinse the noodles in cold water after draining and toss with sauce and vegetables. In either case, serve immediately.

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