Sunday, October 9, 2011

North Carolina Asian Peanut Noodles

NC Asian Peanut Noodles

I grew up in North Carolina and feel blessed to call it my home now. The land is forested and beautiful. Our year is marked by four distinct seasons. And our summers are hot and humid with a great growing season. Tobacco, soy beans, squash, tomatoes, and peanuts all thrive. And the humble peanut is one of my favorite fresh ingredients.

In North Carolina, and other places through the south raw green peanuts are harvested and oiled by the bushel in salted water for hours. Their skins get soft and brown, and your fingers slip easy into them to uncase the soft nuts. I have always been given my boiled peanuts, by my grandmother who would  always freeze them in Ziploc bags after their initial boiling. To reheat, you just boil the frozen peanuts for 1o minutes.

The recipe I was following for Chicken Peanut Chow Mein called for dry roasted peanuts. I didn’t have any  in my pantry. Nor did I have (a preference to use) the oyster sauce and sesame oils listed. In both cases I substituted what I had in my pantry and prefered, and I rather liked my version very much. I daresay it’s even better with it’s North Carolina peanuts. They were like soft salty gems among the hardy chicken, slick noodles and crunchy vegetables. Best of all, it’s thrown together in 30 minutes if you have everything on hand.

North Carolina Asian Peanut Noodles

  • 1 frozen bag of boiled North Carolina peanuts
  • 1 cup carrots, matchsticks
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 6 oz chow mein noodles
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp anchovies paste
  • 1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 can mushrooms sliced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup green onion chopped
  1. Boil frozen boiled peanuts in water for 10 minutes.Then, shell the peanuts and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, slice the chicken thighs thinly. Then, sauté them with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce until the meat is nicely colored and completely cooked.
  3. Remove the chicken, and to the drippings add the ginger and mushrooms and sauté them. In a cup, add the vinegar, anchovy paste, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, sugar and broth. Add the sauce to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the peanuts and cooked chicken and keep on low while the noodles boil.
  4. In boiling water, add the noodles, carrots and snow peas. Bring back to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Drain.
  5. Put the noodles back in the pot and add the sauce. Toss to coat. Add the scallions on top and serve.