Growing up in an Asian household, I have had years’ worth of noodles. Szechuan cooking is notoriously spicy, relying heavily on chili oil made from crushed red peppers. While I love hints of fiery flavors, I am not one of those people who can handle a lot of heat. This dish for me is the best of both worlds; it is slightly spicy, but sweet and creamy from peanut butter and hoisin sauce. The dish is easy to prepare and even easier to modify. Any ground meat will work (I prefer pork or turkey, but beef is great too), and if you don’t have freshly made noodles (available at an Asian grocer) spaghetti or dried soba works just as well. The more vegetables the better (broccoli, bok choy and bell peppers are always good with these flavors), but here I just use some fresh spinach and green onion. This dish can be done in 25 minutes, and will be a lot cheaper and healthier than your local takeout joint. It is a perfect weekend recovery meal for an easy Sunday night dinner, but be warned: It is addicting.
1. Prepare noodles as directions imply.
2. Brown meat in a hot skillet, seasoning with Chinese five-spice. Once cooked through, add garlic and stir quickly until fragrant.
3. Pour in spinach, allowing the heat and steam to cook it down completely.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, sesame oil, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and chili element (I use 2 tablespoons of Chinese chili oil for a medium heat level) until well combined.
5. Add noodles and sauce to skillet with meat and spinach mixture. Toss together, coating everything evenly.
6. Serve warm, garnished with crushed peanuts and chopped green onion.
Spicy Sesame Peanut Butter Noodles:
-8 – 10 oz. of noodles
-1 lb. ground meat
-2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-1/2 tablespoon of Chinese five-spice
-1/3 cup of peanut butter
-1/4 cup of Hoisin sauce
-1/4 cup of sesame oil
-3 tablespoons of soy sauce
-Crushed red peppers or Chinese chili oil, to taste
-6 oz. bag fresh spinach
-Chopped peanuts & green onion to garnish