Bean-Thread Noodles with Crisp Vegetables in Peanut Sauce
Brimming with barely-cooked vegetables, this noodle dish makes a good light dinner. Leftovers packed in a container and eaten cold also make a terrific change-of-pace offering in a brown-bag lunch.
- 4 ounces bean-thread (cellophane) noodles
- 2 tablespoons natural-style or reduced-fat peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or other mild white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 1/2 cups snow peas or sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into
matchsticks or sliced diagonally
- 6 stalks bok choy, sliced diagonally
- 1 15-ounce can baby corn, liquid reserved
- 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
- 2 to 3 scallions, green parts only, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 8-ounce package baked marinated tofu (see note),
cut into short, narrow strips
- 2 tablespoons natural soy sauce, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
Combine the noodles with enough hot water to cover in a heatproof container. Let them soak, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until done but still firm. Drain the noodles, then place them on a cutting board and chop in several directions to shorten.
Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and whisk together. Set aside until needed.
Prepare all the vegetables as described before starting to stir-fry. Slowly heat 2 tablespoons of the soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, plus 1/4 cup of the reserved liquid from the baby corn in a wok or stir-fry pan.
Raise the heat to medium-high and add all the vegetables. Stir quickly to coat them with the soy sauce mixture, then add the tofu and stir-fry for not more than 5 minutes, until the vegetables have just lost their raw quality. Remove from the heat.
Place the drained noodles on a cutting board and chop them in different directions to shorten. Transfer them to a large serving bowl and toss with the peanut sauce.
Add the vegetables to the noodles and toss well. Serve at once, passing around extra soy sauce if desired.
Note: Baked marinated tofu comes in 8-ounce cellophane-wrapped packages and is available from natural foods stores and some well-stocked supermarkets.