I am half-Chinese.
Some of you know this, but, understandably, some of you may be unaware of this fact. You know, even though I obnoxiously try to work the word “Whasian” into conversations and blog posts on an alarmingly frequent basis. I know, it’s a whole thing. I’m working on it. ANYWAY. It’s understandable, of course, due to the fact that at 5’9″ and 200 libbies, I am not exactly Lucy Liu-like in stature. Or, as it happens, in face…ness, either.
Now, while this may have caused me untold emotional damage in high school (I tell ya, going to high school in Taiwan my genetically petite classmates wasn’t easy on the ol’ self-esteem), I’ve begun to make peace with my lack of outward Asian-ness. Because what I may lack in physical features, I certainly make up for when it comes to the interior stuff. And I have the Tiger Mom to prove it.
But I’m not here to talk about my cross-cultural upbringing, any of my weird Chinese traditions, or the like. Not today, at least. Today I’m here to talk about the single most important aspect of my Chinese heritage: the food.
So, yeah, unfortunately, my attitude towards dinner was a little bit skewed as a kid. I was suuuper jealous of my friends that got pasta and hamburgers and meatloaf on a daily basis, completely oblivious to how good I had it. Of course, I now recognize, with the perspective that being an adult no longer getting free home-cooked meals on a daily basis provides, how lucky I was to grow up with my mom making all manner of delicious, authentic dishes for us. Because she really is an awesome cook.
And while I may not have inherited my mom’s height (she’s 5’2″) or many of her traditional sensibilities, I am proud to say that there are quite a few things she has passed down to me. Her love for karaoke, for one. Her flair for the dramatic (who, ME?!), perhaps. And, of course, her love of cooking.
So here, today, I’ve got some absolutely delicious, spicy, creamy, oh-so-awesome Peanut Sesame Noodles. They’re more Whasian than Asian, given my use of regular ol’ spaghetti noodles instead of something more, er, authentic, but hey, tasty is as tasty does. So read on for the reipe 不客气. (“You’re welcome.”)
Spicy Peanut Sesame NoodlesMakes 8 servings
This creamy, hearty noodle dish is the very best way East could possibly meet West. Add as much or as little chili sauce as you like for a slight kick or of a full-on wallop, and enjoy it hot or cold. I promise, it’ll be delicious either way!
- 1 box thin spagetthi, soba noodles, or pasta of choice
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup soy sauce (low-sodium preferred)
- 4 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce, or to taste (I used Huy Fong brand, the same company that makes sriracha. You can find it in any Asian grocery store.)
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp garlic powder, or 1 fresh clove, minced very finely
- 1-2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, as needed
- 1 finely sliced green onion, for garnish
- Cook pasta according to the direction on the box. Make sure to salt the water to give your noodles flavor.
- Combine all other ingredients in a bowl or blender, and blend or whisk together until completely combined. It should have a runny consistency.
- Remove the noodles from the water and toss with the sauce in a large bowl. I like to put a little sauce on the bottom of the bowl and then dump the rest on top for easy distribution.
- Eat hot or chill in the fridge and enjoy cold. Top with sliced green onion and enjoy!