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Cold Oriental Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

1 pound spaghetti or vermicelli
4 Tbs dark sesame oil
1/2 cup natural-style peanut butter
1/3 cup tamari soy sauce
3 Tbs Chinese rice wine or sherry
1 Tbs water
1 1/2 Tbs rice vinegar, or other vinegar
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 Tbs firmly packed light brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (less for a milder version)
1 cucumber, peeled, cut lengthwise, seeded, and julienned
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Cook the spaghetti al dente. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain very well again. with your hands, toss the noodles with 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil. Cover and chill until ready to combine with the peanut sauce, or up to 24 hours.

To make the sauce, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil with all the other ingredients except the cucumber and scallions. Beat until well mixed. The sauce can be kept in the refrigerator, covered, up to 24 hours before using.

Just before serving, gently toss the noodles with the sauce, cucumbers, and half the scallions. Garnish with the remaining scallions.

(From Quick Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin)