Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce

I’m feeling a bit run down from last weekend, and the bizarre weather (75° Monday and an expected high of 92° today) isn't helping, but KK and I still managed to have a busy Tuesday night.  We went to the Hoboken Volunteers general interest meeting, and we’re hoping to volunteer at their 5th Annual Chili Cook-Off/Craft Beer Competition in February.  The organization is geared towards giving back to the local community, which is something I've had a compelling feeling to do since Hurricane Sandy wracked havoc on Hoboken last October.  After the volunteer meeting, we met up with the Budnicks and some of their Hoboken friends for a competitive game of trivia and $5 All-You-Can-Eat Ribs (none for me, thanks) at McSwiggans.  This is our second time playing together as a team, and it was our second time winning!! I’m not going to lie – I’m not the strongest player on the team, but I was able to contribute to our win with a few random answers.  We used our winnings (a McSwiggans gift card) to pay part of last night’s tab, and now we need to plan another trivia outing to make use of our new winnings (another gift card)!

This is yet another "add whatever veggies you have on hand" recipe.  Despite what I just said, we wanted some greens in the dish, so KK and I stopped at the local bodega to pick up a pack of snow peas at the tail end of our run when we cooked this last week.  In case you were wondering - KK is a former cross country runner, and running is very near to torture for me.  Anyway... I'm always worried about sauce-to-noodle/veggie ratios, but this recipe was spot on.  If you're short on time or feeling a tad bit lazy, you can use jarred peanut sauce.  If you're going that route, I'd start with ½ cup of sauce, and then add more if the dish is still looking dry.  As you can see, I topped my serving with additional Sriracha sauce, but you can always omit the chili flavoring all together if you choose to do so.

Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce
Adapted from Recipe Girl
Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 2-3

8 oz. udon noodles or spaghetti
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp water
¼ cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 ½ tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 ½ tsp sesame oil
½ tsp cornstarch
½ tsp chili sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped or shredded carrots
8 oz. snow peas, halved crosswise
5-oz. can water chestnuts, sliced

1. Cook noodles or pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, combine water, peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, cornstarch, chili sauce, and garlic in a small saucepan; whisk until blended.  Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and stir constantly for 1 minute.  Set aside.

3.  In a wok, cook chopped carrots over medium-high heat for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add snow peas and water chestnuts, and continue to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until vegetables are tender and some have started to blacken.

4. Remove wok from heat.  Add noodles and peanut sauce to the wok.  Toss well to coat, and serve hot.  If desired, top with additional chili sauce.

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