In Montreal, there is a place on St. Laurent that has some infamy. Mainly, this is because they offer food for $2. In university, this was key to life. We would walk for an hour, an hour and a half to get the $2 meal. Not only was it cheap but it was also delicious. Peanut butter chow mein (if you wanted a spring roll, it was an extra buck). I ate my fill of them, they were great after a bar night.
Sometimes I crave that peanut butter-noodle combination. It’s such a tasty dish, but I haven’t been able to recreate it very well. Probably because the original place used a disgusting sauce that was full of MSG, or other gross things. It was always in this gross plastic tub with this big ladle and it would have dried and gooey peanut butter stuck to the sides. That’s how you knew it was good.
I found this recipe on another blog that I love, Smitten Kitchen, and Deb from there originally got it from Gourmet. The noodles could easily be switched out for chow mein and you could be like the place on St. Laurent and omit all vegetation to be legit. Or, if you want to “fance it up”, follow this recipe. Either way, the main thing with it is the sauce. And this sauce is as close as I will ever come to recreating Montreal.
Peanut Butter Sesame Noodles
Adapted from Gourmet and Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 4 main courses, 6 sides.
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter
1/4 c. soy sauce (be careful here – I found it a bit salty, likely dependent on your peanut butter…taste!)
1/3 c. warm water
1 tbsp. chopped peeled fresh ginger (I upped it)
1 medium garlic clove, chopped (I used 2)
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
1 1/2 tbsp. Asian toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp. honey (I upped it because of the saltiness)
1 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes (I used 2)
3/4 lb dried soba noodles (I couldn’t get them at my grocer, so I used spaghetti today…linguini fini would also work in this, but soba is the best)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch-thick strips
Half a cucumber, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
Puree dressing ingredients in a blender until smooth, then transfer to a large bowl.
Cook pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water until al dente or almost tender. Drain in a colander, then rinse well under cold water.
Add pasta, scallions, bell peppers and cucumber to dressing, tossing to combine. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.