Saturday, October 24, 2009

A crowd-pleasing peanut sauce

Last night Bryan and I were trying to get in the holiday spirit by watching "Night of the Demons." After all, who can resist a cheesy '80s horror flick when Halloween is just a week away?

During the ultra-cheesy character development in the beginning, the heroine's mom was mercilessly teased because she always makes the recipes on the backs of cereal boxes. Why does everybody always have to diss compulsive recipe clippers? If I see a recipe that looks good, I clip it, no matter where I find it: on the back of a cereal box or any other food product, with the Sunday coupons, and really, anywhere in the newspaper or online. And then I feel like I have to lie about where I got the recipe if anybody asks. What, it's not from "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" or "How to Cook Everything"?

Well, I may be somewhat of a food snob, but at least I'm not a recipe snob. However, I can't lie about the success rate with my compulsive clipping habit. I've had about as many misses as hits, but there's always room to improve any recipe. And besides, the repeat performers make up for all the not-so-tasty meals, plus you only know whether something is good if you try it.

And today was definitely a hit. Christina asked me to bring my crowd-pleasing guacamole to her daughter's 2nd birthday party, but I wasn't quick enough to play the avocado-ripening game. So I found a peanut-sauce recipe in Parade magazine last weekend that I figured would do the trick, especially considering that I'd been promising her peanut sauce for years, and that half of our friends are vegetarians.

I adapted the recipe a bit, including using green onions instead of bean sprouts because I'm scared of E. coli. So I'll share my adapted recipe and hope the magazine doesn't sue me.

Noodles with Peanut Sauce
1/4 c. plus 2 T. peanut butter
1/4 c. plus 1 T. soy sauce
1-1/2 T. sugar
1 T. warm water
2 T. sesame oil, divided
1 T. rice vinegar
1 t. garlic-chili sauce
1-inch piece ginger, minced or grated (use a Microplane! It's the bomb!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. sesame seeds
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/2 pound fried tofu*
2 pickling cucumbers, cut in slivers
1/2 red pepper, cut in slivers
about a dozen snow peas, thinly sliced across
1/2 c. chopped green onions

Mix the peanut butter, soy sauce, sugar, water, 1 T. sesame oil, vinegar, garlic-chili sauce, ginger and garlic in a food processor or blender. Mix the cooked spaghetti with the tofu and remaining 1 T. sesame oil. Add the peanut sauce and sesame seeds and mix well. Place in serving bowl, then sprinkle the vegetables on top.

*The original recipe calls for shredded chicken, boiled in 6 c. salted water with 1 clove garlic and 4 slices ginger. I also made it one night with about a 1/2 pound of cooked shrimp, which was superb.

Note to fellow party-goers: I accidentally doubled the amount of noodles, which is why they weren't very saucy. I know you like it that way, Sakina, so go ahead and use the entire package of noodles! But the rest of you might actually want to follow the recipe a little more closely than I did.


  1. Thanks for posting Mai Ling :O) It really was fabulous and this is a recipe quick & easy enough to get even me into the kitchen for a spell. I hadn't heard about your guacamole prior to this but maybe I'lhave the pleasure another time - one of my favorites. Good seeing you today at the party. Keep clipping girl, lol

  2. Mai Ling, I still have sigh-inducing memories of those noodles ... and zingers of angry vibes toward my sister for eating MY LEFTOVERS!