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Friday, November 20, 2009

Pasta with a Spicy Peanut Sauce

Peanut butter is one of those things, you either love it or you hate it. And the funny thing is, these people that love it or hate it usually love it or hate it for the exact same reason ... because they ate it everyday as a child for lunch! What American didn't eat PBJ sandwiches as a kid? I qualify it as "American" since I'm starting to realize some of my blogging audience is not American.

Speaking of Americans and peanut butter. When my BF lived in Japan for a year, he made sure to take a huge container of PB with him. He knew it'd be difficult and expensive to get ahold of his beloved Skippy while he was out there. Although his Japanese is quite fluent with very little accent, he could still shock his Japanese friends and colleagues with his American-ness. And of course his love for PBJ sandwiches was a dead giveaway he wasn't "one of them" ... Though, I get this feeling his love for natto might have tricked them into thinking he was actually Japanese! (I love natto too!) You rarely meet a non-Japanese that loves this stuff. According to Anthony Bourdain its the vegemite of Japan!

Anyways, I've been trying to clean out the frig of random leftover ingredients. I had some napa cabbage, onions, carrots, scallions in the frig ... a chicken thigh in the freezer ... we always have a ton of pasta in our cabinets ... and of course PEANUT BUTTER! So I threw together this chicken pasta with a spicy peanut butter sauce.

Recipe for Pasta with Spicy Peanut Sauce

1/2 pound of a thin spaghetti
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 chicken thigh, cut into bitesized chunks*
1/2 cup napa cabbage, thinly sliced
3 small carrots, cut into batons
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 T hoisin sauce
2 T sugar
2 T sake
2 T mirin
1 t soy sauce
1 T roasted sesame oil
2 T sesame seeds
red pepper flakes to taste
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Before draining the pasta, keep a cup of the pasta water for later use.

Using the large pot you boiled your pasta in, saute the onions, garlic, and chicken in sesame oil over high heat. After the chicken is cooked, turn the heat down to medium, and add the napa cabbage and carrots**. Mix in the peanut butter, hoisin sauce, sugar, sake, mirin, soy sauce, additional sesame oil, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes. The sauce will be pretty thick. Taste it to check the flavor, adjust to your liking. Turn the heat to low, and add the pasta and pasta water until it is at a consistency you prefer. If the sauce is still too thick to mix, add more water. Make sure to check the flavor since it will get watered down by the pasta and water. Turn off heat and serve with more red pepper flakes and chopped scallions. I usually love cilantro, but since this was a frig clean out, I didn't have any! But please add some if you enjoy cilantro.

*This can easily be made a vegetarian meal by not adding chicken or replacing it with a firm tofu.
**I add these later because I prefer these veggies tender crisp.


My Man's Belly said...

I always love a good peanut sauce.

Jenn said...

My Man's Belly, it was perfect with all the veggies I had leftover. I almost named my blog something similar to your blog name, was gonna call this "in his belly" ...

lishapisa said...

nice! this recipe is a keeper ! i always have trouble the pasta or noodle with peanut sauce....sticky!!!
THanks :) looking forward to more of recipes

Tasty Trix said...

I made a spicy peanut sauce noodle thing just last week, with tofu. It's so good, and so cheap. Natto ... can't stand it! I ordered it at a sushi bar many years ago and almost died when I got it. The chef was looking at and asked if I liked it. I didn't want to be rude so I pretended and tried to eat it, but when he turned his back I put it in my purse! what a mess!!!

DhaleB said...

Did you know that November is National Peanut Butter Lover's month? and what a fantastic way to salute the month with this recipe. Excellent idea and I can't wait to try it!

Jenn said...

Lisphapisa, I hope it works out for you next time!

Tasty Trix, your purse must have smelled lovely after! You def have to have grown up with natto to like it! You shouldn't have felt bad for the sushi chef, he was prob laughing inside cuz there are even Japanese that don't like natto! My BF thinks its so hilarious that he makes people that come over try it, and he's started an photo album of their reactions!

Jenn said...

DhaleB, I wonder why they chose November? Tho you must be in the love PB group if you realize this ... :)

Indonesia-Eats said...

This reminds me of my childhood. Had noodle and vegetable with spicy peanut sauce (either gado-gado or pecel sauce)

Anonymous said...

I love PB-- maybe because i just started to eat it when i was 21 -- lol :) by the way, your dish look so good!!!

Dawn@CocinaSavant said...

wow! this sounds tasty! we've been trying to clean out our pantry, and this seems like a nice way to use up some of the pasta and peanut butter!

Divina Pe said...

I love peanut butter sauce with a spicy hint. Love the other Asian ingredients you added.

Brad said...

Your recipe sounds very tasty. I've never heard of someone "smuggling" peanut butter too funny, Thanks.

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

Yummy! I love peanut butter noodles! These are loaded with goodies. So delicious!

Jenn said...

Thanks everyone ... There sure seems to be alot people that love PB ... Maybe if I did a post about how much I hate PB, I'd get even more comments? Both from PB haters and lovers? haha!

Mr. P said...

Feeling the PB love here too Jenn! (They used to be my initials too, so I have every reason to feel fond. PH now).

Sounds scrumptious.

Anonymous said...

I am actually not a lover of peanut butter (I rather have the J without the PB) but i LOVE LOVE PB with soy sauce & sesame in noodles!

Jenn said...

experimental culinary pursuits, i like pb in asian recipes too ... not a huge fan of pb&j .. tho i do like pb and honey ... or pb and banana ... and recently, fluff n nutter ...

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