Some people crave chocolate. I need cabbage. Not sure what part of the family tree this comes from but as far as I know, I am the only person in the family with this problem. My comfort food is a bowl of boiled cabbage and noodles or cabbage and potatoes smothered in Earth Balance margarine, salt and pepper. I know, I’m a little strange.
So a recipe in Vegetarian Times caught my attention that combines cabbage and noodles with an Asian flair, so I gave it a go. It really has great flavor once you double the sauce as the recipe below does, and add crunchy chopped peanuts or sesame seeds, minced fresh ginger, cilantro and green onions.
What’s particularly cool about this recipe is that you don’t need to cook the cabbage. It gets cooked in the hot water drained from the noodles, like in a quick hot shower. Then the cabbage continues to soften a little more as the noodles cool with it in the gooey warm peanut sauce.
It took all of 15 minutes to put this dish together. My husband Nick helped himself to three bowls of it and added some hot chili garlic sauce. If there is more sauce than you need, well just put it in the fridge and it’ll be good for a week or so.
Sesame Peanut Sauce Noodles with Cabbage
6 Tbs. peanut butter
4 Tbs. sesame oil
4 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. rice vinegar
2 Tbs. sugar or sweetener
1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced finely
2 tsp. chile garlic sauce or hot pepper oil
6 oz. udon noodles or linguini noodles
A small Napa cabbage, cored and shredded (about 6 cups)
About 8 scallions, green parts only, chopped
1/2 cup chopped peanuts or toasted sesame seeds (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Sesame seeds (optional)
Chop Napa cabbage into small pieces and set aside in a colander.
Start boiling a pot of water to cook the noodles.
As the water comes to a boil, make the peanut sesame sauce: In a small saucepan combine peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Stir together rapidly over medium heat until blended. Add a tablespoon at a time of water if it’s too thick until it has a nice saucy consistency.
When water is boiling, drop in noodles for only a few minutes, testing for doneness after about three minutes. Once noodles are al dente but not completely limp, pour them out, along with the cooking water, over the cabbage in the colander. Transfer noodles and cabbage to serving bowl and add the sauce, tossing gently until lukewarm.
Sprinkle with the scallions, cilantro, and peanuts or sesame seeds with extra chili garlic sauce on the side.