It is strange to me that the NYT food section consistently makes easy things so much more complicated than they have to be. For example, today I noticed that they had a recipe for something they were calling the “Fastest Sesame Noodles”. Strangely, the headline blurb went on to say that you could make these noodles in the incredibly short time of “30 minutes”. This was strange to me because sesame (really peanut butter) noodles should not take any longer than about five minutes plus however long it takes you to cook a box of noodles. Everyone should know how to do this … so here I am to help.
Here is what you do.
Boil water to cook a box of noodles. Any noodles you like will do. My parents used to just make spaghetti that they had torn in half as they dropped it in the boiling water. Chinese noodles are a bit shorter than spaghetti, so while this mutilation would be disturbing to some, it makes sense in context.
While the water is boiling, make the sauce. The sauce is easy, but I will extract the recipe for my mom’s peanut/sesame sauce and reproduce it here.
Start with a couple of tablespoons of hot water. Add to this a couple of table spoons of peanut butter. The best kind to use is JIF or Peter Pan or something. You can’t use the stuff that is nothing but organic ground nuts because the fake stuff has emulsifiers in it that hold the sauce together. If this bothers you, get the Whole Foods version of JIF. It works about as well.
Get a whisk and whisk in some soy sauce. How much? 2 glugs. Enough to give the sauce enough soy sauce flavor. Enough so that the consistency is right. Not so much that things get too salty or you kill the taste of the peanut butter. The finished product should be thick enough to stick the food, but still more like a liquid than a solid. You just have to keep mixing and adjusting until it looks and tastes right. Of course, you’ve never made it or tasted it so you don’t know. Thus, this recipe is useless.
When you have the base correct, add a bit of chili oil and sesame oil, because those things are nice with noodles.
Now drop the noodles in the water. While they are cooking, cut up some cucumber into slivers. If you have some cooked chicken around, cut that up too. If you have some scallion, dice that to put on top. Scallion is always nice.
When the noodles are done drain them and cool them off. Mix in the sauce. Put your toppings on top. Add more hot sauce if that’s your thing. I have recently discovered the wonders of “Lao Gan Ma” chili crisp. You should put that on the noodles too.
There. You are done. And if you made most normal noodles, which take about 10min to cook, you should have 15min left over from the NYT time window to go play Halo. Have fun.