My niece is one of those crazy vegetarians. Not the total nutjob vegan type but your average every day vegetarian. I, on the other hand am one of those freakshow meat eaters. Meat, meat, meat. I. Eat. Meat.
I thought I ate a lot of it. I thought I was the meat eater of the century, capable of winning awards and making third world countries disease free with the juice of my antibiotic laced meat sweats. Turns out … maybe I’m not as good at is as I thought.
For the past 2 years, for whatever reason, I’ve been taking a quick iPhone picture of my dinner and sending it to my niece before I settle down to put my incisors to good use. She Oooosss and Ahhhhsss over all of the vegetables, noodles and extra stuff while making barfing sounds at the sight of the meat. It’s our thing. I make fun of her “lifestyle” as a vegetarian she makes fun of mine as a barbarian. Then we talk about what’s going on in Homeland this season and whether or not we think her husband will make it a full month without injuring himself in some ridiculous way.
But the other day I scrolled through a few hundred of my dinner photos and realized … I’m not the Majesty of Meat at all. I probably eat meat 3 out of 7 days a week which barely counts as a meat eater at all. I’d be laughed right out of caveman training.
Technically the recipe I’m going to show you today could be served with chicken but I kindda like it without. In fact, I way prefer it meatless.
It’s Spicy Sesame Noodles. And it all comes down to the sauce.
I’ve been trying, searching for, experimenting with developing a spicy peanut type sauce for years now. I’d pretty much given up on it actually, then a month or so ago I thought I’d give it another shot.
I know there are a bunch of sesame noodle recipes out there that are really easy and pretty good, but I didn’t want pretty good. I wanted great.
And low and behold it’s not only vegetarian, it’s VEGAN.
The important thing to this recipe, the only thing really, is the sauce. It’s a spicy sesame/peanut sauce that will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Probably longer actually but it’s never lasted that long around these parts because it’s so versatile. This sauce is GREAT on noodles, chicken, fried tofu, spring rolls, and it’s especially good stirred into one of my favourite side dishes, sautéed kale with shredded carrots.
There are other sesame noodle sauce recipes with less ingredients, but that’s why they taste a bit flat. This one has more depth of flavour making it taste more complex. In other words better.
The other great thing about this recipe is it’s completely customizable. I’ve developed it for my tastes and so it has a balance of sweet, salty, acidic and heat. But if you don’t like heat, then just don’t add the chili pepper flakes. If you LOVE heat, then add more.
Ditto for the sugar, ginger, or anything else.
- 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted)
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp your favourite hot sauce
- ¼ tsp. hot pepper flakes
- ½ cup of hot water (approximately)
- 1 lb Chinese Noodles (like Instant noodles for instance)
- 4 green onions (sliced thin)
- 1 carrot (grated or sliced in matchsticks)
- 1 red bell pepper (sliced very thin)
- To toast your sesame seeds just put them in a dry pan over medium low heat and toast until golden.
- Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the sesame seeds for garnish.
- Add the sesame seeds, soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, hot sauce, and pepper flakes to a blender or food processor. Blend until combined well.
- Add the water a tiny bit at a time until the sauce becomes runny like cream. Stop adding water once you're at the right consistency. You might not use all the water.
- Cook the noodles according to package directions. Instant noodles only take 1 minute to cook.
- Strain noodles and add the green onions, carrots and red peppers. Toss with the sauce then garnish with reserved sesame seeds.
Keep any leftover sauce in the fridge. It’s great for chicken satays.
Unless of course you’re a vegetarian. Or vegan. If that’s the case then insert barfing sounds here.
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