I spent my first year at New York University in the dorms on campus in the West Village of downtown Manhattan. My roommate at the time was Chinese as was her boyfriend. I remember one particular Friday night; they had just returned from a date. She was holding a little white coated take out box with bright red lettering.
"You hungry? This is my absolute favorite!" she said with a great big smile.
I was; I had been up late cramming for an upcoming exam. Little did I know what I was about to experience. The chicken which had been whole was 'hacked' into bite sized pieces, bone and all swimming in a spicy sauce. This wonderfully over-sauced chicken melted in my mouth with each juicy bite. My palate exploded; it had a full mouth feel that was rich and satisfying with just the right amount of heat. I do love heat by the way, so for those of you who don't prefer spicy, this may not be the recipe for you.
I developed this recipe years later completely blindsided by a monstrous craving for this sauce. I was googling Hacked Chicken and came across an article featuring an authentic retro Chinese recipe. I of course decided to revise the recipe to make it vegetarian, but feel free to try it on shredded poultry or meat served atop noodles or a big pile of julienne vegetables.
-1 lb Chinese Egg Noodles
-3 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil
-1 tablespoon chili oil
-9 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (not the kind that separates)
-3 tablespoons sesame oil
-3 tablespoons soy sauce
-3 tablespoons white vinegar
-4 teaspoons cayenne (or less if you want to turn down the heat)
-4 1/2 teaspoons ginger minced
-5 tsp scallions
-4 teaspoons garlic, minced
-For garnish: micro greens (1/4 cup), chopped peanuts (2-4 tablespoons), pepper flakes (1/2 teaspoon)
Fill a pasta pot with 4 quarts of water and bring to a boil; add noodles and stir well. When it begins to boil again add one cup of cold water; return to a boil and turn off the heat. This will take from 5-7 minutes. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process; let rest.
In a medium sized bowl mix the peanut butter and sesame oil by stirring until smooth. Stir in all of the remaining ingredients except the peanut oil. When combined add the peanut oil slowly, mixing and tasting as you go. You can add as little as one tablespoon or the entire amount, according to taste. I usually incorporate it all. Transfer the noodles onto a platter, pour the sauce on top of the noodles and serve warm with garnish.