As part of my degree I spent a year and a half living and studying in Beijing. As a city it is a riotous, frenetic place to live that, for me, could swing violently from intoxicating and wonderful, to frankly a little overwhelming. Every day we would join the mass of people biking through the city dodging lorries, donkey carts piled high with watermelons and motorbikes carrying insanely oversized loads of crates/bricks/whole families. At the end of these hair-raising journeys we would pass through an ornate gate and into the beautiful campus of Peking University. Although the campus has the usual dormitories, canteens and lecture theatres it is also home to numerous picturesque lakes, pergolas and gardens – a thoroughly lovely place to study.
Unsurprisingly the food in Beijing was the highlight of my time there. Like any major city it is a real melting pot of cuisines. It was not the international food that interested me really, more the seemingly endless range of regional Chinese cuisines: fiery chicken dishes from Sichuan, the rich, lamb and bread broths of the northwestern Hui muslims, right through to Mongolian yak stew. The street hawker stalls were incredible and cheap; even the food at the university canteens was good.
This recipe is a pared down version of a noodle dish from one of the canteens that a particular friend of mine was obsessed with – and for good reason. The addition of peanut butter might sound strange at first but it works perfectly with the sesame and soya sauce – try to think of it more like tahini or satay sauce than what you would spread on toast! Although I have no doubt that my noodle-loving friend would tell me this is nowhere near as good as the real deal, this is proper, simple comfort food and I love it.
- 2x 80g bundles of green tea noodles (available from Asian supermarkets)
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp crunchy, unsweetened peanut butter
- 1tsp garlic oil
- 1 tbsp light soya sauce
- 40g crushed roasted peanuts
- 20g toasted sesame seeds
- 20g mixed seeds (here I used chia, pumpkin, linseed and sunflower seeds)
Cook the noodles in boiling, salted water for 5 minutes and drain.
While the noodles are still hot add the sesame oil, garlic oil, peanut butter and soya sauce. Mix well to melt and distribute the peanut butter evenly.
Mix through the crushed peanuts and transfer to a serving bowl. Scatter over the seeds.