Or if you prefer a title that's useful and descriptive and, like, boring: "Spicy Peanut Noodle Soup."
You know those days when there's only one food that even sounds worth the energy to chew? Today, my stupidly specific craving was also completely impossible: Dan Dan Noodles from Little Shanghai in downtown Santa Cruz, California.
"Oh, you luscious, spicy, peanut-buttery noodles! Why are you so far away from me? TELEPORT TELEPORT TELEPORT!" I wailed to absolutely no one as I wandered the streets of Over-The-Rhine (don't worry--not too terribly out of place in my neighborhood). Alas, my supplications to the laws of space and time were left unanswered, and I was left with a craving, a kitchen, and the world's tiniest Kroger.
The Kroger on Vine, which suffers many unsavory epithets I won't perpetuate here, is...improving. Compared to a few years ago, it's better--even offering a selection of fresh herbs (only cilantro, really--although I've heard many an offer to buy or sell a different sort of herb in its equally tiny parking lot) and some organic selections. Poor lil Kroger, and it's one shelf of Asian groceries that is mostly heat-n-go noodle dishes in New Xtreme Sodium! flavor.
But a craving is a craving, and in the immortal words of Mae West, I generally avoid temptation unless I can't resist it. So, here you go: A creamy, vegan, sweet and spicy dan dan noodle-inspired soup, using only items available for purchase at the Kroger on Vine. If I can make it here, you can make it anywhere.
I used linguine (because...well, you know why) but if I'd had my druthers/been even minimally prepared I would have used a more authentic noodle. You know what, though? Linguine is delicious. Fact.
During a trip to Ghana last February (the reason for Soupruary's one-year hiatus), I garnered the knowledge that spicy peanut (called groundnut there) soup can also be delicious. So why not merge that concept with some more East Asian ingredients, add some noodles and vegetables and make myself happy?
And if you can manage to make someone else happy in the meantime, well that's just a big bowl of fantastic.
Translation: This is really good. And with all the lovely creaminess, you can add as much sriracha as you like. Which, for me, is a lot.
|Speaking of cravings, I totally want these dumb shoes.|
I mean a lot-lot.
Spicy Peanut Noodle Soup
Influenced by Joanne Chang's Dan Dan Noodles in Food & Wine
Makes 4 big bowls
GET THIS STUFF
spicy peanut butter:
1/2 c raw peanuts, shelled
1/4 c peanut oil
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled
a thumb-sized chunk of ginger, sliced
3 T soy sauce
2 T water
2 T rice vinegar
2 T sriracha
1 T dark brown sugar
1 t hot toasted sesame oil
2 c vegetable broth
1 c water
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced small
1/4 of a large red onion, sliced thin
1 small zucchini, julienne
1 orange bell pepper, julienne
1/3 c frozen shelled edamame
14.5-oz can light coconut milk
8 oz. linguine (or Asian noodle of your choice)
1/4 c roasted peanuts, chopped
DO THIS WITH IT
Heat peanut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.
Add raw peanuts and a splash of soy sauce, and cook until peanuts are golden.
Poor peanuts and oil into food processor, and add all other ingredients in the top section.
Process until smooth.
Bring broth and water to a boil and add sweet potato and red onion.
Simmer until sweet potato is just cooked.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta until just al dente.
Add remaining vegetables, coconut milk and noodles to simmering broth, and cook a few minutes until edamame is heated through.
Serve immediately, garnished with peanuts, green onions, cilantro and sriracha.
Go ahead and put the sriracha and soy sauce on the table so people can spice and salt it up as they like.