I’ve expressed my love for Red and Black Cafe’s Black Dragon Noodles, but I can’t tell you just how often I eat them. Cheap, filling, and really close to home, these noodles are a gimme when I’m short on time and energy and my tummy starts making growly noises that make my cat run away and hide under the couch.
But it’s the simplest dish in the world—why can’t I make my own? If I can master the peanut sauce and just have it on hand, what’s boiling up some noodles and cutting up some carrots? It would take about as much time as driving to Red and Black. Easy peasy slap-my-kneesy.
Or not. I’ve never had peanut sauce aside from this noodle dish. Regular readers are well aware of my distaste of sauced-up foods in general, but this is a very simple and light sauce, more of a whisper of a coating. Most bottled/jarred peanut sauces have scary ingredients in them, and really, the Red and Black sauce tastes like peanut butter, a little oil, some soy sauce (?) and red pepper. No curry, no coconut milk, no nothin’ else. So after hopping around online, comparing recipes, I decided to try one as a jumping-off point.
Ugh, dog balls. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy too salty. After combining peanut butter, chili sauce, Bragg’s, sesame oil, and salt, we took half out and called it a “starter,” throwing it in the fridge for another day, then added a bunch more peanut butter…and a bunch more peanut butter and sesame oil and threw some cayenne in for a clean heat. We finally got it to a place we were happy with and tossed it with noodles (which were also not perfect—kinda gummy), lime juice, cilantro, scallions, and chopped peanuts.
It wasn’t perfect, but it was edible. It could have gone way worse. And there’s hope for tomorrow.