Carolyn's Famous Noodle Salad (two versions)

Carolyn's Famous Noodle Salad
( There is another version under this recipe, with some slight changes.)

I made the noodles. A couple of people have asked for the sauce recipe again. I know it's been posted, but I have no idea where it is.

This is a basic outline (I don't really have precise quantities, let your taste be your guide. What you are aiming for is a delicious combination of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. The sauce will be enough for a few batches of noodles, or you can put it on grilled chicken, fish or meat, etc. It keeps for about a week in the fridge, but is best right after its made.

1 cup peanut butter (use natural style, preferably one that is not over-salted)
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
2-3 tbsp chili sauce with garlic
   (available in the Chinese market, or the chinese section of the supermarket)
   I like Lee Kum Kee brand, it has a brighter flavor
dash of dark sesame oil
   (do not overdo; or it will overpower the noodles)
handful of cilantro
a one inch piece of ginger, peeled
one good sized clove of garlic

Into the work-bowl of the food processor, put the ginger, garlic and cilantro. Mince finely. Add peanut butter, and remaining ingredients. Slowly pour about 1/4 - 1/2 cup hot water -- until the consistency is that of thick cream. Taste and correct seasonings. Sometimes you will want a bit more vinegar, sometimes a bit more sugar, etc.

Boil a lb of Chinese lo mein noodles, rice noodles, whole wheat spaghetti, or even plain old vermicelli. Cook just past the point of al dente, but don't really over cook. Run very cold water over the noodles (they firm back up when you do this, so if you cook them al dente they will be too firm). Drain, toss with a bit of peanut oil so that they won't stick. It is best to make the noodles the day before and chill them in the refridgerate overnight, but this doesn't always happen at my house.

When making this for company, or a potluck, I arrange a bed of mesclun greens in a large bowl, place the noodles in the center, scatter matchstick carrots and chopped scallion on top, and put cucumber spears all around. Cut up pieces of tofu are also nice (use extra firm, and drain thoroughly). Tofu doesn't travel that well, so I leave it out when I bring the salad to a potluck.

Serve the sauce separately. It is not a good idea to sauce the noodles, then refrigerate them -- the peanut butter gets clumpy, and the texture is not as good.

Carolyn, who maintains that spicy noodles are served in heaven, where ever that is.
(5/26/02 and 7/25/04)

Slightly Revised Version of Carolyn's Famous Noodle Salad

Well, that got me out of lurk. I think it's on the sheepthrillsmansion site, but the way I currently make it has evolved somewhat. I am using less sugar (in fact, I made a low carb, lower fat, South Beach friendly sauce recipe this week, which I did with a grilled chicken salad -- see my blog for details).

The basic outline is this:
a handful cilantro
a clove or two of garlic
a one inch piece of ginger

Whizz around in the food processor.

1/2 cup natural style, pref. unsalted peanut butter
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
about 3 T soy sauce
a tablespoon or two of hot sauce to taste.

Thin with a bit of warm water until it is the consistence of thick cream. Serve over cooked, chilled noodles of choice (Chinese lo mein, whole wheat soba, rice noodles, etc.)

Arrange salad on a bed of mesclun or baby salad greens, with cucumber, firm tofu, shredded carrots, perhaps some bean sprouts and sliced green onions.

Prepare to never make another thing for a potluck again.

Whoops! In the original recipe, I put in about 2 tbsp of brown sugar. I now use less than 1 tbsp and it still tastes great, but you may like it sweeter. My low carb version has no sugar, just a hint of OJ to even out the flavors.



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