3/4 pound dried rice noodles (wide, flat rice noodles (often sold as rice “sticks” typically used for pad Thai, or 1/8-inch thick Chinese egg noodles)
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, plus a splash to loosen noodles
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste or tahini ( You can add an extra splash of toasted sesame oil to compensate for any lost toasted sesame flavor if you use tahini, if you wish. )
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated or brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 1 medium-large clove)
Chili-garlic paste, to taste – optional
1/2 pound cucumber, very thinly sliced (or more!)
1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, roughly chopped
A handful of chopped fresh herbs, such as mint and cilantro, for garnish
Cook noodles according to package directions and rinse with cold water to cool. Drain well. Drizzle with a tiny splash of toasted sesame oil to keep them from sticking until dressed.
Meanwhile, whisk sesame paste and peanut butter in the bottom of a small bowl, then whisk in soy sauce, rice vinegar, remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, sugar, ginger, garlic and chile-garlic paste to taste until smooth. Adjust flavors to taste. It might seem a bit salty from the bowl, but should be just right when tossed with noodles.
Toss sauce with cold noodles.
Place a medium-sized knot of dressed noodles in each bowl, followed by a pile of cucumber. Garnish generously with peanuts and herbs. Serve with extra chile-garlic paste on the side. – smittenkitchen.com