For me, browsing though a cookbook is sometimes more than an exercise in finding a recipe, it often evokes fond memories of people, time and place.
And so it is with the cookbook I used for this fortnight's challenge, World of the East Vegetarian Cooking (1981). I bought this book second-hand at a sidewalk stall late one autumn afternoon when I lived in Brooklyn, along with a Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway album. Every time I look at this book it takes me back to my mid-20s, when life was a little bit more carefree and I was living a strange adventure in New York City.
It really is a lovely cookbook, published before the advent of food-porn and hand-illustrated. Each time I look at it I realise I simply don't use it enough. It features an extensive collection of Asian recipes that are very easy to make and particularly good for busy people. So I was glad of the opportunity to use it for this fortnight's cookbook challenge - rice/noodles.
These noodles are a great summer dish, which you can prepare ahead and eat sometime later when it is just too hot to be in the kitchen, and the peanut sauce is delicious. I really recommend that you give this recipe a try.
Recipe: Cold noodles with a peanut sauce
Cookbook: World of the East Vegetarian Cooking (1981)
Author: Madhur Jaffrey
500g thin Chinese egg noodles (I actually used soba)
2 tbls sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 1 tbls shelled, salted roasted peanuts (I used unsalted roasted peanuts - it tasted fine)
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 tbls peanut oil
1 tbls thin soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese black vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
A couple of thinly sliced spring onions
Prepare noodles according to the packet directions. Drain and run cold water over them to rinse and cool, them let them drain for about 5 minutes.
Put the noodles in a serving bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of sesame oil and toss. You can cover and refrigerate the noodles at this stage for a couple of hours.
Combine the 1/4 cup of peanuts, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, garlic, peanut oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, cayenne, and 1/4 cup of water in a food processor or blender. Blend until you have a smooth sauce.
Crush the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanuts to a coarse crumb texture in a spice grinder, mortar, or food processor.
When you are ready to eat, pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Garnish by putting the spring onion over the noodles and top with the crushed peanuts.
You can find out what everyone is up to this fortnight here