I have a fear of weird ingredients.
If I can’t pronounce the ingredient, I usually end up kind of… ignoring it. Or, if I think I have a close substitute for what the recipe calls for, I just sub it out. ( Sesame oil vs. olive oil? Eh, same thing.) Usually, it ends up working out okay and we still enjoy the meal. But I am always a little disappointed, thinking maybe if I had just followed the recipe, it would be all I had hoped for.
Those ‘eh, its all the same’ days are behind me now, because of this recipe. I had this sesame peanut pasta a few weeks ago when I was in Michigan for that wedding. My Aunt Jodi whipped this up for dinner one night during that wedding week, and I hadn’t arrived yet so my first taste was having it cold for lunch the next day. Every single bite had me spellbound. Incredulous. Very protective over my own portion. Spurned cousins had to go dish up their own plate because this girl was not sharing. Every single ‘weird’ ingredient is there for a good reason!! It makes the dish complete- and if you decide to forgo the foreign spice here, or the nut oil there, your final product will be missing a little something. I was ready to go to any store I needed to get the ingredients for this!! So I asked my aunt for the recipe, and encountered a little problem.
My aunt warned me when we sent this email to me that 1.) She doesn’t measure. Ever. 2.) Her recipes are based on what she has in the kitchen, so they come out different everytime. 3.) Sometimes they turn out awful- especially if she is a little too liberal in her substitutions, see #2. (I seriously doubt #3, because I’ve never witnessed an awful anything come out of her kitchen.)
You can imagine this made me a little worried, because I am the type of person that follows the recipe precisely. (except the weird ingredients, before.) I need exact measurements!! So what you have here is a precisely followed, loosely described recipe that will rock your socks off. And its good hot OR cold. And for breakfast.
(disregard how I splatter ever ingredient all over my stovetop. That’s not a worm in the grate there, promise )
Get cookin! It’s so easy, don’t let the Asian ingredients intimidate you.
Sesame Peanut Chicken Pasta
serves 6-8. Or 2, with lots of leftovers. 🙂
Boil 1 pound of pasta (we used WW spaghetti)
In a hot skillet, add 1-2 Tbsp of vegetable oil. Add one thinly sliced onion. Saute until translucent. If you are using raw chicken, at this point, add boneless chicken, cut into chunks. (My aunt suggested thighs, but all we had was breasts and it worked well too!) Continue to cook until the chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from pan.
Add to the onions & drippings:
3-4 Tbsp Sesame oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1 Tsp. fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2-2/3 cup Peanut butter
3 Tbsp honey
1-2 Tbsp. mirin or soy sauce (I used soy)
1/2 cup roughly chopped peanuts
1 Tbsp red pepper flakes
Bring together over medium heat, and add water to thin a bit. (I probably added about 2/3 to 1 cup). Toss in 1 bunch of chopped green onion, and a 1/2 head of shredded cabbage. My aunt used green, I used red because it’s what I had. It tasted great, but the color had Joey a little hesitant for a while. He got over it and ended up addmitting that he loved the cabbage 🙂
Saute for a few minutes with the lid on. This helps to wilt the cabbage faster. Now is the time to add the chicken back in and stir it all up! Now you can add a little more water or chicken stock to make sure its nice and saucy. Pour over the cooked noodles and mix it all together! Eat immediately, or chill and eat later. Or do both, like we did. If you like it hot, add a little more crushed red pepper flakes on top.