Anna Jones’s recipes for peanut noodles and double ginger soba (2024)

I don’t often eat alone in restaurants. When I do, it is always satisfying a need for the same thing: the salvation of a bowl of noodles. There is something private about the comfort of noodles; they are not suited to being served family style; a bowl of noodles – especially a noodle soup – tends to be a very personal thing. Perhaps it is my fumbling use of chopsticks or the slurping of a noodle soup but, as I eat, I can feel myself being restored. Noodles are, of course, as diverse as pasta. This week I make two versions at home – the reliable egg noodle and the elegant soba variety – both for quick dinners. Their sauces come from opposite ends of the flavour spectrum: one sticky and sweet from chilli, honey and peanut, the other fresh as can be with a whole lime, ginger and coriander. Salvation indeed.

Pine & Crane peanut and cucumber noodles (pictured above)

I ate a bowl of noodles in LA this winter, in a little neighbourhood restaurant called Pine & Crane, and they were everything I want a bowl of noodles to be. This is my version, with a chilli-spiked peanut sauce with the freshness of cucumber, sugar snaps and coriander. Pea shoots would work here, too. Vegans can swap the egg noodles for rice or thick udon noodles.

Prep 10 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

For the peanut sauce
5 tbsp smooth peanut butter
5 tsp tahini
5 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
4 tsp honey or maple syrup
5 tsp rice wine vinegar
5 tbsp chilli oil
2 garlic cloves, very finely chopped

For the noodles
1 medium cucumber
150 sugar snap peas
250g dried egg noodles
A small bunch of spring onions, finely sliced
A large bunch of coriander, leaves picked
4 tbsp peanuts, toasted and crushed

Quarter the cucumber lengthways, scoop out the watery middle and set it aside. Cut the cucumber flesh into 5cm lengths, then into matchsticks. Cut the sugar snaps into long slices.

To make the sauce, put the watery middles from the cucumber into a small food processor with the peanut butter, tahini, soy, sesame oil, honey and vinegar, blitz or whisk until smooth, then stir through the chilli oil and chopped garlic.

Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water for a minute or so less than it says on the packet (about four to five minutes), so they still have some bite. Drain the noodles and put into a serving bowl.

Pour the peanut sauce on top and toss together to dress the noodles. Add the cucumber and sugar snaps, and toss again, then top with the spring onions, coriander and crushed peanuts; if you like, finish with a little extra chilli oil.

Lime and double ginger weeknight soba

Anna Jones’s recipes for peanut noodles and double ginger soba (1)

This recipe uses a whole lime, peel and all, which brings amazing zing, backed up by a double hit of ginger and coriander. I like these noodles with tofu, but any quickly sauteed vegetables or toasted peanuts or cashews would do. I use chive flowers to add colour, but some normal chopped chives will do just as well.

Prep 10 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 4

For the sauce
1 unwaxed lime
4 spring onions
, roughly chopped
A large thumb of ginger, roughly chopped
A small bunch of coriander, washed
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
, plus 1 tsp
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
300g extra-firm tofu
300g dried soba noodles
A handful of radishes
, cut into matchsticks
100g mixed seeds (eg black and white sesame, sunflower and pumpkin)
A small bunch of chives, finely chopped (or garlic chives/chive flowers)
2 tbsp pickled sushi ginger

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, make the sauce: first chop the lime, peel included, into rough, small pieces and put into a small blender. Add the spring onions, ginger, coriander (stalks and all), honey, soy and oil and blitz to a thin, bright-green paste.

Drain the tofu, pat it dry, and cut it into matchsticks or 1cm cubes. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and fry the tofu, along with a pinch or two of salt, over a medium-high heat for a few minutes, until browned on one side. Add a tiny splash more oil if needed, to prevent sticking. Toss gently once or twice, then continue cooking for another minute or so, until the tofu is firm and golden. Add the remaining teaspoon of soy, take the pan off the heat, toss the tofu in the oil and soy, then transfer it to another bowl.

Boil the soba noodles according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, fill and boil the kettle. Once the noodles are cooked, drain in a sieve, then quickly rinse them with the boiling water from the kettle to stop them sticking. Put the noodles back into the pan, add the lime and green ginger paste, and toss to coat.

Pile the noodles into a bowl and top with the tofu, radish, seeds, chives and pickled ginger. These noodles are also great eaten cold.

  • Food and prop styling: Anna Jones. Food assistant: Nena Foster

Anna Jones’s recipes for peanut noodles and double ginger soba (2024)


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