|Should be on your bookshelf|
I bought it the next day, and it remains on my "absolute favorite" shelf.
Why I love this book (beyond the recipes)Remember, this was 1997, before you could buy rice noodles and Sriracha in every grocery store in America. The first few pages has beautiful, clearly-labeled photographs of almost every noodle you would ever want to cook, and it follows on with exacting instructions for cooking each one.
I went from the bookstore to a Chinese market on University Avenue in Saint Paul, walked the aisles, filled my shopping cart, went home to cook, and never looked back.
The recipesAsking for a list of "favorites" is a lot like asking a parent to name The Favorite Child. Some have become my staples: Chile Noodles (p.28), Ginger-Scallion Noodles (P. 30), Curried Vegetarian Noodles (a version of Singapore Noodles) (p. 34), Singapore Fried Rice Noodles (with shrimp) (p. 93) and the door-opener to my favorite recipe of all, Rainbow Peanut Noodles (p.82).
The backbone of Rainbow Peanut Noodles is Chinese Peanut Dressing (p. 122) which reminds me that a pantry with a very large jar of peanut butter, some ginger and garlic, and spaghetti can feed five people for 10 days or 10 people for five days.
Simonds says:She writes "My refrigerator would seem empty without a batch of this all-purpose peanut butter-based sauce. I serve it with vegetable and noodle salads, and as a go-with-anything dipping sauce."
But there's more: spread it on toast, bagels, or matzoh; two-three tablespoons will zip up any stir fry; add a bit to any coconut-based stir fry sauce and swoon. This dressing/sauce/dip is a friend to chicken, shrimp, and crispy tofu. I have seen people grab spoons and eat it straight from the bowl.
Chinese Peanut Dressing (adapted from Asian Noodles)
- This can be multiplied to the limit of your food processor's capacity.
- I buy fresh ginger by the pound and then freeze about half in 1-inch cuts. Frozen ginger isn't great for stir fry, but it works in this recipe, and it makes dandy ginger tea.
- Adding fresh chili gives this a real kick.
- Simonds suggests Worcestershire sauce as a substitute for Chinese Black Vinegar. I have never done that, so I have no idea how it would taste. I use Chinkiang brand black vinegar. Buy a few bottles. This vinegar lasts forever.
- No, I don't make my own chicken broth. I use 1T Penzey's Chicken Soup Base and 1/4 cup of water.
- Simonds says that this keeps in the fridge for two to three weeks. I have never made enough for that to be a possibility.
1 inch chunk of fresh ginger (or frozen ginger from your ginger stash)
8 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled
1-2 tsp fresh jalapeno or serrano chili, finely chopped (optional)
1 tsp of Sriracha or any other hot chili sauce (or more)
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 T sugar
4 T Chinese Black vinegar
4 T toasted sesame oil
3 T Chicken broth or water
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (or more)
- Finely chop the ginger, garlic and fresh chili (if using) in a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients except peanut butter and blend until smooth.
- Add the peanut butter and blend. Taste. Taste again.
- Thicken with peanut butter; thin with chicken broth. Taste again.
- For a dressing: the sauce should be like thick heavy cream.
- For a dip: the sauce should be like thick yogurt.
- For a spread: Slightly thinner than plain peanut butter.