These peanut noodles are creamy and thick and just plain good. This is one of those recipes that is pretty flexible, depending on your taste…so adjust away! We enjoy peanut noodles, particularly in the warmer summer months. Make the noodles early in the day, then into the fridge to chill. Toss something wonderful on the grill, pull out the noodles and top them as desired. Dinner can be on the table in a flash!
I prefer to use rice noodles for this, but I have used linguine (as I did here), spaghetti or fresh Asian egg noodles. If you choose to use anything other than rice noodles, you’ll need to cook them in actual boiling water, before proceeding.
If there ever was a recipe that is “all about the sauce”, this is it. This is a recipe for peanut sauce. And please do feel free to use it in that manner. The noodles are just a means to a nice side or salad. I use the optional ingredients when I’m making this for a side salad or main course, but it’s damn fine, just as is, sprinkled with scallions (or chives) and maybe some chopped peanuts. If you like the sauce sharper, increase the lime juice. If you like it spicy, increase the sambal.
One thing to note, if you’re using this sauce with noodles, after you dress the noodles, taste. It should taste a little saltier than you’re comfortable with. The noodles will pull the salt from the sauce and be perfectly seasoned when you serve them later. I prefer to add the salt to the sauce (this applies to when I’m using wheat noodles, too), rather than to the soaking water. I find it’s easier to control the salt level. If you’re serving it as a sauce for chicken, shrimp, etc., then the salt level should be about right.
Rice noodles are placed in hot water, rather than boiled like wheat pasta. You just give them a good stir and let them sit for about 4-6 minutes. Drain, saving at least 1 cup of the water (you probably won’t need all of it, but it’s better to have too much); set aside. In the bottom of a large bowl, combine the sauce ingredients, except the soaking water. You want a bowl that will hold the noodles and allow for room to combine them with the sauce. Whisk in about 1/3 cup of the water (so I didn’t take a picture of that!). Add the drained noodles; stir gently, until well coated. Be careful not to break up the noodles too much. If the mixture is too thick, add some additional soaking water, as needed. The noodles absorb the sauce and will thicken on sitting in the fridge. Taste; they should taste just a tad on the salty side. The salt will level off as they sit. When thoroughly coated, cover and chill. To serve, stir and sprinkle with the chopped scallions. You may also wish to sprinkle with chopped peanuts, snipped garlic chives, cilantro and mint leaves torn into bits, julienned cucumbers, carrots and cabbage…I consider the scallions essential, but the other ingredient depend on what you are serving the noodles with.
The pictures here are using wheat noodles. They absorb far more of the liquid in the sauce than rice noodle, so plan accordingly. I used about 3/4 cup of water for these.
Quick, Creamy Peanut Rice Noodles
- 1/2 pound rice noodles (see NOTE)
- Hot water
- Peanut Sauce:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons lime juice (or cider vinegar)
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- 3-4 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 3 clove garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used more)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon sambal oelek (optional)
- 1/2-3/4 cup noodle soaking water or more as needed
- To serve:
- 2 scallions, very thinly sliced (include some of the green part)
- Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Fresh mint, chopped (optional)
- Coarsely chopped peanuts (optional)
- Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Julienned English cucumbers (optional)
- Finely grated carrot (optional)
- Very thinly sliced savoy or Chinese cabbage (optional)
- Shredded cooked chicken, shrimp or pork (optional)
Place the noodles in the hot water; give them a good stir and let them sit for about 4-6 minutes. Drain, saving at least 1 cup of the water (you probably won’t need all of this); set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the sauce ingredients, except the soaking water; stir until smooth. Add the drained noodles; stir until well coated, being careful not to break them up too much. If the mixture is too thick, add the soaking water, as needed. When thoroughly coated, cover and chill.
To serve, stir and sprinkle with the chopped scallions. Add the additional ingredients, as desired. This is best if allowed to chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours before serving.
NOTE: Rinsing the cooked noodles with cold tap water until they are at room temperature, will prevent them from being too sticky, absorbing less of the peanut sauce. Drain them before saucing them, but some water clinging to them is fine. If using wheat noodles, do not over-cook them and rinse them well, then drain.
This can be a side “salad” or a main course, depending on the additions you choose. The amounts given have some flexibility, depending on your own taste buds.
Quick, Creamy Peanut Rice Noodles Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020. All rights reserved.