When I need more than two hands (and, if we’re being honest, two feet) to count the number of times I’ve made a recipe then it means it’s probably time to share it with you.
Enter my latest obsession: CHILE CRISP PEANUT NOODLES.
A weeknight dinner hero if ever there was one.
The first time I made these noodles, which are based on a recipe from Meera Sodha’s East cookbook, was to use up part of a head of red cabbage that was languishing in my fridge.
The second time was to photograph them.
The third to twenty first times were because I am now officially a card carrying chile crisp peanut noodle addict and there is nothing to be done about it other than to eat more noodles.
Not only are they insanely easy but they are the epitome of everything I want a noodle recipe to be! Mouth numbingly spicy, peanut butter laden, and with some vegetables added for crunch and fiber and all around wholesomeness.
To make this, we’ll start by quick pickling some shredded cabbage and thinly sliced cucumber. The veggies are seasoned with a simple mixture of seasoned rice vinegar, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt. If you’ve ever had seaweed salad from a Japanese restaurant then that is the flavor profile we are going for here. It has some tang, a hint of sweetness, and nuttiness from the sesame oil and seeds.
Bring a pot of water to a boil while the veggies are marinating. Then, mix together the sauce for the noodles in a large bowl – peanut butter, chile crisp, and more sesame oil is all you’ll need!
While the original recipe called for making your own chile oil, I just used store bought chile crisp (Fly By Jing brand, to be precise). Use whatever brand you like (the only one I would NOT use is the Trader Joe’s crunchy chili onion and that is because it has more of a Mediterranean flavor profile that doesn’t really fit here) or, if you’re an overachiever, make your own.
Once your noodles are done cooking, toss them in the peanut butter sauce. The easiest way to do this in order to ensure that every noodle gets evenly coated is to use your hands. It will feel wrong (but also so so right).
Pile the noodles on top of serving plates and top them with handfuls of the cabbage mixture. Spoon some more chile crisp on top if you’re feeling daring and dig in.
- 3 cups finely shredded red cabbage
- ½ greenhouse cucumber, seeds scraped out, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp chile crisp, plus more to taste
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- ¼ cup toasted sesame oil
- 1 lb fresh lo mein noodles
- Combine the cabbage, cucumber, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and a pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Toss to combine. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, sesame oil, and chile crisp.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. Drain, rinse under cold water, and then drain again. Place the noodles in the bowl with the peanut butter mixture and toss with your hands until the noodles are completely coated. Season to taste with salt and more chile crisp.
- To serve, lift the noodles with your hands onto individual serving plates. Top with the pickled cabbage and another drizzle of chile crisp, if desired.