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.

Serves: 4

  • 4 ounces bean-thread (cellophane) noodles

Sauce:

  • 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.

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