Whether it’s cooking for my family when I’m with them, or for myself, there are evenings I find not having either the energy or the ingredients to make a meal that involves too much prep and requires a lot of time. One thing I usually have in my fridge is kimchi, a spicy Korean dish of fermented veggies, usually cabbage. Although you can make kimchi at home, I opt for the jarred variety, many of which are really quite amazing.
Pair kimchi with peanut butter, a pantry staple, and you come away with a sweet, savory, crunchy and creamy dish (I adapted my recipe from food52) that is simple and quick. Bonus: With one pot, a food processor or blender and a large bowl, the cleanup is super easy too. This delicious meal can be served immediately, at room temperature, or cold.
—Jack Sonni, writer, musician and food lover, known as the “other guitar player” in Dire Straits
- 1 package of long noodles like linguine, soba, ramen or udon
- 1/3 cup unsweetened creamy or crunchy peanut butter
- 1 cup chopped kimchi, divided, with reserved brine
- Kosher or sea salt to taste
- Optional toppings like cucumbers, scallions, peanuts or cilantro
- Cook noodles according to directions in salted boiling water. Stop a minute or two before the recommended cooking time.
- While noodles are cooking, put peanut butter and ½ cup kimchi in a food processor or blender, and blend until combined. Add 3 tablespoons of kimchi brine, more if you prefer a runny sauce. Transfer the sauce to a large heatproof bowl.
- Drain noodles into a colander and rinse well with cold water. Shake the colander to get rid of any excess water, then add the noodles to the bowl with the peanut-kimchi sauce. Toss with tongs until the noodles are coated. You can add more kimchi brine and/or water to thin sauce to get your desired consistency.
- Transfer to serving bowls or dishes and pile on top the remaining ½ cup kimchi for some extra spice and sliced cucumber, or scallions, and some peanuts for a bit of crunch, and serve. The dish keeps well at room temperature for an hour or two. You can also refrigerate it. I personally like to bring it back to room temperature before eating as the flavors are more enhanced. Keep in mind the sauce will thicken when the dish is chilled and will likely require some liquid — water or brine — to thin it out slightly.