There’s something about the sticky, humid weather of summer in Toronto that makes me want two things – an infinite variety of cold noodle bowls, and a heavy dose of natural disaster videos.
Growing up in Toronto doesn’t exactly bring you close to extreme weather in your own backyard (with the exception of some incredible lightning shows). But for whatever reason, my brother and I share a fascination with tornadoes (I know there are lots of us that saw Twister at a pivotal age). And when I feel overwhelmed, or self-pitying, or overheated, nothing brings me back to reality like a tornado video.
Which takes me back to a particular hot night in June a couple years ago, after a sweaty commute home. I was tired. I was surly. And I was drawing closer to the realization that I had to quit my office job. And whenever I feel overwhelmed with a life decision, I enjoy being reminded of things that make me feel insignificant: outer space, the bottom of the ocean, and of course, the raw power of nature. Bow down.
Tucked away in my apartment, lights off and curtains drawn, tornado videos queued up, I realized I hadn’t picked up anything for dinner. And so, a face-off with the kitchen. Thankfully, I had three things I always try to keep on hand:
peanut butter, noodles and green things.
This recipe for peanut sauce requires no cooking, and comes together with simple combining of ingredients, further adding to it’s power as a stress-relieving meal. It makes more than you might need, so either just go crazy with the sauce, or find something to dunk in the leftovers. Use whatever noodles you have on hand, and cook to the package directions. I’ve suggested some options that would be great in the bowl below, but it works well with whatever random bits you have lying around.
I highly encourage that you enjoy these noodles with a solid tornado video. I think you’ll end up keeping noodles + peanut butter on hand at all times after this experience. And several YouTube channels of xtreme weather vids.
Cold Peanut Noodles
2 Tablespoons peanut butter (100% peanut variety, trust)
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar (or runny honey)
1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon oil (olive, grapeseed, coconut etc) *Optional – will give a more silky sauce
Dried or fresh chili,to taste
Noodles of your choice
Fresh herbs (mint, cilantro, parsley, & basil are all amazing here)
Fruit & veggies (LETTUCE is my favourite, mango, shredded carrot, cucumber, diced onion, diced tomato, avocado etc)
Sriracha or Sambal Oelek
1. Mix all ingredients together for peanut sauce.
This is a no cook sauce, so just stir together. Taste and adjust for your preference for hot, sour, sweet and salty.
2. Cook noodles according to package directions. Cook as many as you feel like eating.
I tend to use brown rice noodles, and rinse them under cold water after they’re done cooking (makes them cold and slippery, two things I like in this bowl.)
3. Assemble your bowl.
Basically, add whatever you want. Fresh herbs are integral for the final result. For the rest, you’ll probably go with what’s in your kitchen. (And I really recommend lettuce!)
4. Garnish & enjoy.
Cue up a tornado video at least 10 minutes long, turn off the lights, and get ready to feel.
♠ The sauce is quite thick, and as a result, you’ll find the noodles clump up quite a bit. This doesn’t bother me, and in fact, makes it a more enjoyable experience (sloppy eating = very satisfying). Adding the optional oil will help with this.
♠ Planet Earth “Ocean Deep” also makes for an excellent viewing experience.