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Matcha-Sesame-Peanut Ramen

More about fun ingredients than technique, the sauce is made quickly and effortlessly in a blender.  

Matcha, a finely ground powder of a specially grown green tea, offers a subtle hint and hue to an otherwise classic sesame-peanut noodle.

Tender ramen soaks up a matcha-sesame-peanut sauce to create a chewy noodle dish with a crunchy peanut finish. A traditional sesame noodle sauce has a beige hue.  But I wanted this recipe to have a touch of green in honor of the matcha, so I added some cilantro to the sauce and then some julienned cucumber to the noodles. These noodles are outstanding as-is for a side dish or the main event, but just as good with some hacked chicken tossed in the matcha-sesame sauce for a full-meal masterpiece.


Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; wet and dry measuring cups; measuring spoons; blender or food processor; Japanese mandoline or julienne peeler (optional); stockpot; colander; large mixing bowl; tongs

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh ramen

2 tablespoons sesame oil

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

½ cup boiling water + ½ teaspoon matcha

2 garlic cloves, peeled and trimmed

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup rice wine vinegar ¼ cup packed cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 bunch scallions (white and green), sliced on bias

1 cup coarsely ground peanuts 1 hot house cucumber, seeds removed and julienned


1. In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook ramen according to the package. Strain the noodles, rinse with cold water, drain thoroughly, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Toss with sesame oil and set aside.


2. In a blender, combine the canola oil, peanut butter, and prepared matcha. Then add in the garlic, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, cilantro, honey, and black pepper. Blend well until the cilantro leaves become invisible and tint the sauce. Taste and correct the seasoning to your liking.


3. Pour half the mixture over the noodles and toss well to coat, adding more sauce if necessary.

The noodles will be sitting in what might appear to be excess liquid at first. Be patient because they will soak up a lot of it within a half-hour. Serve the noodles immediately if you like them 'wet' and do not mind if they are warm. Ideally, make them a few hours ahead of time and refrigerate them if you like them to be a bit drier and cold.

4. Stir in the scallions, peanuts, and cucumber, and combine well. Use the remaining sauce for hacked/shredded chicken or as a dipping sauce for crudités, grilled steak, or shrimp.


Makes 8 servings.



“Dress noodles first with oil for a noodle salad. Whether you are making sesame noodles or a classic Italian picnic pasta salad, dress the noodles first with a light drizzle (1-2 tablespoons) of oil before you add the other components. This will prevent the noodles from sticking and, in the case of this recipe, add another layer of flavor (sesame oil for sesame noodles).”






"I like to serve the hacked chicken tossed in the sauce on top of the ramen, but you certainly could mix the chicken into the noodles. Remember, it's about technique, not torture . . . that's the ILOC way! Make the recipe your own!"
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