My favorite dipping sauce for baked tofu, made with peanut butter, sesame and soy sauce, works magic on noodles, too. I add three other ingredients that I nearly always have on hand -- bacon, eggs and greens – to make a quick lunch or dinner. I hope you like this! ;o) —AntoniaJames
2, but can be halved, doubled, quadrupled, etc.
6 ounces soba (buckwheat noodles) or fairly thin Chinese wheat noodles
2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
2 slices / 3 ounces bacon
4 scallions (white and light green portion)
2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (packed)
2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, plus more for seasoning, if necessary
2 teaspoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar or cider vinegar or lime juice (or more, to taste)
2 ounces / 2 cups, tightly packed, tiny tender greens (kale, spinach, chard, whatever) or arugula ** See note below for using more mature leaves.
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, or more to taste
Chili oil, to taste (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
Small handful of cilantro leaves for garnish
In This Recipe
Please note: These instructions provide a linear route to getting this on the table, stating from the assumption that you don't have any of the ingredients already prepped (or cooked). I've added below a much shorter description of how to put this together.
Get your water boiling for the noodles and the soft-cooked eggs. For the noodles: Put on to boil 2 quarts of water in a large pot (at least 4 quart capacity), covered. For the eggs: Fill a medium saucepan about 2/3 full; put on to boil, covered.
In a large skillet, toast the sesame seeds until they just start to turn brown. Remove immediately to a small bowl.
Cook the bacon in the skillet. While it’s cooking, slice the scallions into ¼” pieces and thinly slice the garlic lengthwise.
When the water in the small pot starts to boil, gently slip in the eggs. Once it's returned to a simmer, put timer on for 7 minutes.
When the bacon is done, remove it; pour off all but a tablespoon of the fat.
When the water in the large pot starts to boil, thoroughly rinse the soba under cold water and drop them into the pot of water. Set your timer for one minute less than the package instructions. (Mine usually take 6-7 minutes, total.) Stir the noodles gently to separate all the strands. ** If you're using larger greens, cut them into long strips and set your timer for 2 minutes before the noodles will be done. Throw them in with the noodles so they'll cook a bit before they're tossed in the skillet.
While the noodles are cooking, gently saute the scallions and garlic in the skillet over medium heat. Turn the heat off. Push the aromatics to one side and add the brown sugar; give it a good stir; add the soy sauce and fish sauce and stir to blend. Turn the heat back on to low. Stir in the peanut butter and vinegar. Cook gently for about 30 seconds. Taste and add more vinegar or soy sauce, if necessary. Turn the heat off, for now.
When the timer goes off for the eggs, put them in a medium bowl of very cold water. Run a bit more cold water over them after 15 seconds or so, and then let the eggs sit in the cool water.
Chop the cooked bacon into ½” pieces. Peel the eggs. (I do it under water, in the same bowl I used for cooling them.)
When the timer for the noodles goes off, remove about ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Put it in the skillet, give it a good stir, add the greens to the skillet if using tiny greens, and turn the heat on to medium-low.
Drain the noodles. Put them immediately into the skillet and turn the heat up to medium. Drizzle the noodles with the sesame oil and chili oil, if using, sprinkle on freshly ground black pepper, and toss. Put a lid on the skillet and turn off the heat. (This allows the sauce to soak into the noodles, as you would do with any other pasta sauce.)
Quarter the eggs. Divide the noodles between two plates; sprinkle on the sesame seeds, garnish with the bacon, egg quarters and cilantro leaves.
I hope you like this. Sincerely, AntoniaJames ;o)
To summarize: Make noodles. (If your greens aren't tiny tender ones, throw them in with the noodles a minute or two before draining.) Cook up bacon while you boil the eggs. Make the sauce in the skillet, add the noodles and greens, toss well and let sit for minute, and then garnish with the eggs, bacon, sesame seeds and cilantro.
If you have already-cooked eggs and bacon (and if not, why not?) simply make the noodles, use some reserved bacon fat for the sauce - or any vegetable oil if you prefer -- and you'll have this on the table, with practically no effort, in the time it takes to cook the noodles and toss with the sauce.
When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)