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We love peanut butter. We really do. (If you're anything like us, then you probably went out and bought a big tub of the stuff this weekend to make your own peanut butter cups.) Now, the week is trundling along and the peanut butter cups are probably gone, and you've got a half-empty jar of peanut butter staring at you from the condiments shelf. Look no further! Here's a meal that uses a few (generous) spoonfuls to make a dish that comes together in the time it takes water to boil. Make one serving, make two, make six—this umami-filled, peanutty noodle bowl will have you dining happily.
(Organized by area of the market)
1 bunch kale
1 bunch scallions (for serving)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1/8 teaspoon fish sauce
3 ounces soba or udon noodles
Chopped peanuts, for serving
We're assuming you already have peanut butter, Sriracha, soy (or tamari) sauce, and chili flakes, but if not, add those to your list too!
With a half hour to dinner, bring one quart of water to a boil. While you're waiting, make the sauce by adding 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, 2 teaspoons soy or tamari sauce, 1 teaspoon sriracha, and 1/8 teaspoon fish sauce to a saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Let cook for 30 seconds, and then add 2 tablespoons peanut butter, turning off the heat. The best part about the sauce is that you can get a little creative. Did you accidentally buy two jars of peanut butter? Toss in an additional spoonful for extra peanutty-ness. Feeling like some spice? Add a few more dashes of sriracha. Are you vegan? Omit the fish sauce and add a few more dashes of soy or tamari. Then, wash and chop up half the bunch of kale, and, when the water is boiling, blanch it. Drain it, add it to the sauce, and stir to coat it completely.
In another pot, cook the udon or soba noodles until al dente (these noodles, especially if they are fresh, cook very quickly). Use tongs to remove them from the pot and toss them in the sauce. Ladle into bowls, garnish with another dash of fish sauce or soy sauce, some chopped peanuts and a shake (or two) of red chili flakes. Settle down on the couch with your favorite scary movie, and tuck in!
Photo by James Ransom