When I was in grade school, a common question teachers asked us was “What is your favorite food?” I would inevitably say it was spaghetti and peanut butter. I laugh at this now, because no doubt my teachers considered calling child welfare to do a check on my parents to make sure my brother and I weren’t living under the deck and being force fed dog food.
Indeed, this was (and continues to be) a favorite food of mine. Now there are hundreds of recipes for noodles with peanut sauce, but that was not quite the case in the 1970’s. Back then, my mother and a friend took a Chinese cooking continuing ed course at a local high school. The class was taught by the wife of a MIT professor who was born and raised in China. We ate this version of noodles with peanut sauce for much of my adolescent life. I had to get the recipe from my Mom, because I recently made a modern version of it and although similar to my favorite childhood comfort food, it lacks the punch of Mom’s age old recipe. If I made the newer recipe again, I would add more peanut butter (and use Jif or the equivalent, not natural as called for). I would also reduce the amount of tahini. While on the subject, the Food & Wine recipe calls for roasted peanut oil. I am lucky to live within walking distance of a number of the largest, best stocked asian groceries in Chicago, and NONE of them stocked roasted peanut oil. I think you can find it in Whole Foods or it’s equivalent, but for an “authentic” recipe, I’m skeptical they are using it on the other side of the world. I used just plain ‘ol peanut oil.
Here is how to prepare Noodles with peanut sauce that my Mom made back in the day: