Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Sesame Peanut Noodles

I returned to work in early December after some time at home sick. My first week was only a short one to build up my strength, but I was still very excited for my first weekend. I can't say that we did anything to write home to Mum about, but we did go to a new market and I did a lot of things that I hadn't been able to do for a while and I enjoyed every bit of it.

It was pretty hot, so Saturday afternoon was spent at home, actively vegging out. How do you actively veg out? Well, it involved doing chores and moving about, and it was opposed to recently being able to do neither. D was a wonderful help in that time, I should add. He washed and cleaned and vaccuumed and did a great job. I'm sure he's regretting it now, because I know he can do it and I'm asking him to help out with other things that I used to have to do by myself. He hasn't been too cranky about it though.

Anyway, during my Saturday afternoon chores I noticed that Nigella Express was on ABC. I was in and out of the room at the time, but it piqued my interest and I wanted to watch it properly. I have a few Nigella DVDs but I didn't think that I had Nigella Express on DVD. I was excited for a moment, as D kept asking me what I wanted for Christmas and I didn't know what to tell him, but a quick dig in amongst our DVD collection unearthed a copy of Nigella Express, still in its shrink wrap.

Sunday was very hot too. D had bought me the Masterchef Masterclass DVD as a going back to work present, so I had two cooking DVDs ready to watch while I did nearly three months worth of filing. The Masterclass DVD was a little disappointing, as it was just the Masterclass episodes and had no special features or recipes. Since I had recorded each episode of the Masterchef series, I already had these episodes. In hindsight, we both thought that the cookbook would have been a better buy. Masterclass being a bit of a dud, I changed DVDs and started watching Nigella.

Nigella makes no secret that the recipes in Nigella Express aren't really the healthiest recipes out there, but she says that she's not advocating that you cook them every meal. These are fast tasty recipes for the times that you need an express way out. This particular recipe is a good example, as there's a little bit of oil and great big couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter. It's very very tasty though, and I like to think that loading it up with vegies makes it a little better.

If you've read my blog for more than a few posts, chances are that you know I like noodle salads. It does appear that clicking on my noodle related posts doesn't really reflect this, but trust me, the few noodle salad recipes that are listed there have been made a lot. An awful lot. Particularly this one. And this one. In fact, I've gone for weeks having nothing but these salads for my work lunches. I'm always on the lookout for a quick noodle salad that can be taken to work for lunch. If it's not quick, it needs to keep well in the fridge. This one is a keeper. I made up a big batch on Sunday night and it fed me quite happily throughout the week. Since there is a bit of oil in it, I kept the portions small and bulked up the rest of my lunch with fruit and salad.

It's really good. I found that as written, the sauce tasted too much like straight peanut butter but after adding some dark soy sauce it melted into a nice satay-like dressing. I say satay-like as there was an added almost vinegary taste and I'm not exactly sure where it came from. It was good though, really woke up the tastebuds at lunchtime.

The dressing is made with a tablespoon of this and a tablespoon of that. I halved the recipe for the salad, but because of the measurements needed for the dressing, I made the dressing as written. I then forgot I halved the rest of the recipe and added all the dressing to the halved salad, which meant mine were quite peanut-y. It bordered on gluggy, but it didn't quite get there. When I make this again, which I intend to do this afternoon, I will be careful not to repeat the same mistake. I do have a half teaspoon measure around here somewhere...

Update: I've made the recipe again this time as written. I still felt it needed an added tablespoon dark soy sauce, but now with a full bowl of salad and noodles the dressing is much lighter and there is no glugginess.

It appears that I did not trust my knowledge of food when I first got this book (which would have been only just before I started this blog) as I have noted next to where the recipe requires 125g mangetout that this means snow peas. Thanks, past me. Where on earth did you learn that it was okay to write on books???? I can't imagine myself ever writing on a book, so I must have really doubted my ability to remember that mangetout meant snowpeas. This is the UK release so I don't know if past me would have also felt the need to remind me that cilantro is coriander or arugula is rocket.

Sesame Peanut Noodles
from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson

For the dressing

1 x 15ml tbs sesame oil
1 x 15ml tbs garlic oil
1 x 15ml tbs soy sauce
2 x 15ml tbs sweet chilli sauce
100g smooth peanut butter
2 x 15ml tbs line juice
(I also added 1-2 tbs dark soy sauce)

For the salad

150g snow peas
150g bean sprouts
1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into small strips
2 spring onions, finely sliced
2 x 275g packets ready-prepared egg noodles
20g sesame seeds
4 x 15ml tbs chopped fresh coriander

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a bowl or jug.

Put the snowpeas, bean sprouts, capsicum, spring onions and noodles into a bowl.

Pour the dressing over them and mix thoroughly to coat everything well.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped coriander and pack up as needed.

Thanks to a huge backlog of posts, the posting of this recipe has been a little delayed. It was originally made in December 2009.


  1. "... thanks, past me" - reminds me of those letters they made us write to ourselves at year 12 camp (or was it year 10? Did we HAVE camp in year 10?) and then gave back to us 6 months later...!

  2. I can't remember which camp it was but we definitely had a camp in year 10. Remember, they ran out of food? In year 12 we had to take our own food and we tried to defrost the chicken by drowning it in water.

  3. oh yeah! shame you weren't so into cooking back then! It was chicken rissoles, and by the time we defrosted and cooked them it was more like chicken mince paste...!