Chinese takeout-style sesame noodles: $1.30/serving

In my second attempt this week to prove that takeout-style Chinese food is easy enough to make at home, I present these noodles. I admit I’ve never actually had them myself as takeout, but they do exist as such, and certainly taste takeout-quality. The key to truly satisfying that Chinese-noodle craving is to cook the noodles just to the point where they’re still slightly chewy and springy but not yet soft. Something about that texture and the creaminess of the sweet-spicy peanut-sesame sauce really hits the spot. They’re also really quick and simple to make, pretty much eliminating your last excuse for wanting to eat out.

Recipe adapted from “The Essential New York Times Cookbook.” As below it makes about 3 servings.

• 12 oz.- 1 lb. Chinese egg noodles (my favorite for this at regular grocery stores are the uncooked—not the brown crunchy ones—long, straight chow mein noodles that come in the yellow-and-orange package): $2.29
• 1/2 a cucumber (I used the other half for the Asian noodle salad with peanuts and mint), peeled and cut into rough matchsticks: 40 cents
• 2 T sesame oil, plus a splash: 25 cents
• 3 1/2 T soy sauce: 15 cents
• 2 T rice vinegar: 10 cents
• 2 T tahini or Chinese sesame paste: 25 cents
• 1 T peanut butter: 10 cents
• 1 T sugar: 3 cents
• 1 T grated or minced ginger: 5 cents
• 2 tsp. minced garlic: 2 cents
• 2 tsp. sriracha, or to taste: 5 cents
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped: 20 cents
TOTAL: $3.89/3 = $1.30/serving

Whisk together the sesame oil (minus the splash), soy sauce, rice vinegar, tahini or sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic, and sriracha until smooth.

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water according to package directions just until, as noted above, still springy and pleasantly chewy. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and drain very well. Toss in a bowl with a splash of sesame oil.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and stir gently to combine. Serve garnished with peanuts and cucumber.

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