Spicy, Peanutty Udon with Kale

January 21, 2014
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

An exceedingly simple but truly delicious quick meal, with possibilities for variation galore (more Sriracha! more peanut butter! different greens!). To make it vegetarian/vegan, omit the fish sauce. —Laura

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Laura is just as excited about dark, leafy greens as we are.
WHAT: A noodle dish so simple and slurp-worthy, you’ll have to stop yourself from making it every night.
HOW: Make a savory sauce and round it out with everyone’s favorite sandwich spread (peanut butter!). Use the sauce to sauté greens and cooked noodles, then top with scallions, chili flakes, and chopped peanuts for more crunch and spice.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Big flavor need not require big effort. This peanut sauce turns to your pantry’s most potent players (sesame oil, soy sauce, Sriracha, fish sauce, and peanut butter) to make a powerful sauce in 30 seconds flat. Play with the ingredients to find the combination that’s right for you, then use it to make noodles and greens infinitely more exciting. —The Editors

  • Serves 1, but easily doubled or tripled
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1/8 teaspoon fish sauce, plus an extra dash at the end
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (any type)
  • 3 ounces udon or soba noodles
  • 1/2 bunch kale, deribbed and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (1 packed cup)
  • Chopped scallions, for serving
  • Chili flakes, for serving
  • Chopped peanuts, for serving
In This Recipe
  1. Heat 1 quart of water in a saucepan to boil.
  2. In a sauté pan over low or medium-low heat, add sesame oil, soy sauce or tamari, Sriracha, and fish sauce. Stir ingredients or rotate pan to combine and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add peanut butter, stir to combine, then turn off heat.
  3. When water is boiling, blanch kale for about 15 seconds. Drain the kale and add it to the sauce in the sauté pan and stir to coat.
  4. Bring clean water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook until al dente. Fresh noodles will cook very quickly; dry noodles will cook in 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Use tongs to add the noodles straight from the water to the sauté pan with the peanut sauce and the kale. The unstrained noodles will carry enough water to dilute the peanut sauce; if you decide to strain the noodles and then add them to the sauce, add 1 tablespoon water, as well. Add a dash of fish sauce to finish.
  6. Garnish with chopped scallions, chili flakes, and chopped peanuts.

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