If you’re a fan of Vietnamese food, then you should be familiar with the peanut sauce that goes with the spring rolls. It’s a mixture of tamarind paste, peanut butter and hoisin sauce, thinned down a bit with hot water. I love that peanut sauce. I can dip steamed dimsum and lumpiang togue (fried bean sprout spring rolls) in it and not think about how weird it is. I love the Vietnamese peanut sauce so much that I decided to find out if it would work as the sauce base for chow mein. The result became yesterday’s lunch.
Thing is, lo mein does not have to be swimming in starch-thickened sauce to be good. The addition of oyster sauce is not a must either. Anything can be used to flavor lo mein so long as everything blends well together. That should take the weirdness out of tossing the noodles with peanut sauce.
At the risk of sounding self-serving, let me tell you that this noodle dish is really, really good.
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 250 grams egg noodles
- 200 grams sukiyaki cut beef cut into 1/2-inch strips
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 small carrot julienned
- 15 pieces string beans trimmed and cut into half-inch lengths
- 6 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 shallots finely sliced
- 1 finger chili sliced thinly
- 8 baby corn
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- patis (fish sauce)
In a bowl, stir together the peanut butter, hoisin sauce and lime juice with half a cup of hot water.
Cook the noodles in boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Lightly season the beef with salt and pepper.
Heat the cooking oil to smoking point. Stir fry the beef just until no longer pink. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep warm.
Reheat the oil. Stir fry the green beans and carrot for about a minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Reheat the oil once more. Saute the garlic, shallots and sliced chili until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Return the beef and vegetables to the pan. Season with fish sauce and more pepper. Pour in the peanut sauce and stir.
Add the cooked noodles and toss until coated with the sauce and heated through. Off the heat, drizzle with sesame seed oil and toss a few times before serving.
Note about the baby corn:
I used fresh, not canned, baby corn so I had to pre-cook them in boiling water for about 10 minutes before cutting them. You can skip this part if using canned baby corn.