This peanut-sesame noodles and chicken / tofu satays recipe is sure to be a crowd pleaser. I know because I’ve cooked it for 50 more than once. During my senior year of college, I lived in a co-op where we all took turns cooking dinner for the house. One of my favorite parts of the experience was creating a menu that would satisfy a whole list of requirements: Can it be made in mass quantity and still taste good? Can some items be prepared ahead of time? Is there a vegetarian option that’s similar enough to the original dish? As a self-proclaimed nerd, I took great pleasure in figuring all of this out. These peanut-sesame noodles and satays definitely checked the boxes and then some.
First, people love peanut-sesame sauce. It’s salty, sweet, and nutty all at the same time. We triple its usage by not only using it to dress the noodles but also as a marinade and a dipping sauce for the chicken / tofu satays. Secondly, “satays” just sounds exotic, even though it’s just protein served on a stick with a sauce. I have learned from years of feeding people though that people love eating things off a stick, so when it doubt, put a skewer through it.
The reasons this recipe works for a crowd are the same reasons it works really well for an efficient weeknight dinner. Prep is minimal. As for timing, the noodles can be served at room temperature or cold, so they can be made ahead of time; the proteins can be pre-grilled and then finished off in an oven shortly before dinner time. So whether you’re serving 50 or just 2, rest assured that you will have a stress-free and delicious dinner.
- Spaghetti / linguine – ½ lb.
- Peanut butter – ½ cup
- Soy sauce – 3 tbs.
- Rice vinegar – 2 tbs.
- Toasted sesame oil – 1 tbs.
- Sweetener – 3 tbs.
- Warm water – ¼ cup
- Red peppers, sliced – 2
- Persian / English cucumbers, sliced – 2
- Green onions, sliced – 1 bunch
- Peanuts (optional) – ¼ tbs.
- Bone/skin-less chicken thighs or firm tofu – 1 lb.
- Skewers (optional) – 8 to 12
- Grapeseed / canola oil – 1 tbs.
- Sauce from noodles – ¼ cup
- Cook pasta – Make sure to salt the boiling water like the ocean so that flavor seeps into the pasta. Drain and set aside
- Chicken – Season with salt & pepper and tenderize with a fork
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Make sauce by mixing together peanut butter, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, sweetener (like brown sugar), and warm water. Separate out about ¼ cup of the sauce for the protein
- If using chicken, slice in half lengthwise. If using tofu, slice into ½” thick pieces. Place protein through skewers (if using). Coat protein with sauce on both sides
- If grilling first, heat up a grill pan over medium-high heat, add oil, and grill satays on each side for 2 minutes. Transfer onto a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 12 minutes. If not grilling first, just set satays onto a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes
- While satays bake, chop red peppers, cucumbers, and green onions. Toss noodles with as much of the remaining sauce and sliced vegetables as you want. Garnish with peanuts.
- Any leftover sauce can be used as a dipping sauce for the satays