I live in a noodle house. Thick, thin, fresh or dried, I could probably eat them every night and never get bored because there are so many sauces and preparations to make them glow.
This spicy, Thai-inspired lo mein is a winner because it comes together in a flash and is so full of flavor. I make it with creamy peanut butter, but you can substitute it with nut butter. Boneless chicken breast adds protein, but vegetarians could swap out for extra-firm tofu. The noodles also go well with shrimp or thin strips of beef.
If the sauce is too thick or too hot, add a little more vinegar or a few tablespoons of water. Sambal oelek, an Indonesian chili paste made with hot peppers, salt and vinegar, adds a gentle warmth. You may want to taste as you go, adding more or less to achieve the desired spiciness. I’m a pure chili, so I also like to add some crunchy garlic with chili oil both to the sauce and over the noodles.
LO MEIN CHICKEN WITH SPICY PEANUT SAUCE
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 piece of ginger, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of sambal oelek
12 ounces boneless chicken breast, sliced or cubed
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
3 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 pound red cabbage, thinly sliced
2 or 3 green onions, thinly sliced and divided into white bottoms and green tops
8 ounces of fresh or dried lo mein noodles
Fill a medium saucepan about three quarters full with water and bring to a boil.
While the water is heating, prepare the sauce: in a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, honey, ginger, garlic and sambal oelek.
Add about 1/4 cup of water and stir to combine; you can add a little more if you like a thinner sauce. Put aside.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat until heated through. Add the chicken and sliced carrots in an even layer and cook, 3 to 4 minutes without stirring, or until golden brown.
Add the sliced cabbage and the white portion of the sliced green onions. Cook, 3-4 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are soft and the chicken is cooked through.
Add the cooked noodles and peanut sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, or until the noodles are coated and the sauce thickens.
Remove from the heat and season with a little S&P, if desired.
Serve the noodles with the tops of the sliced green onions.