We hosted two exchange students from China last summer, and noodles made them happier than anything else I cooked during their three-week stay. Here is the dish we came up with together for a dinner party.
Boneless beef top sirloin, ¾lb (375g), trimmed, halved lengthwise, and partially frozen
Gluten-free tamari, 5tablespoons (3fl oz/80ml)
Green onions, 4, minced
Asian sesame oil, 1½teaspoonsplus 2tablespoons
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Creamy old fashioned–style peanut butter, ⅓cup (4oz/125g)
Fresh ginger, 2tablespoons minced
Balsamic vinegar, 2tablespoons
Red pepper flakes, ½teaspoon
Gluten-free spaghetti, 10oz (315g) (I like Schar)
Large red bell pepper, 1, halved lengthwise and seeded, then halved crosswise and cut into very thin slices
Vegetable oil, 1tablespoon
Fresh cilantro, ¼cup chopped
Cut the beef across the grain into ¼-inch (6-mm) slices. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the tamari and ¾ teaspoon of the sugar and stir to dissolve. Mix in half of the green onions, 1½ teaspoons of the sesame oil, and a generous amount of black pepper. Add the beef and stir to coat. Set aside.
In a food processor, combine the peanut butter, ginger, vinegar, pepper flakes, remaining 3 tablespoons tamari, remaining green onions, 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Add ¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) hot water and process until well blended to make a sauce.
Add the spaghetti to a large pot of boiling salted water and stir well. Cook, stirring frequently, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, rinse briefly with cold water, and drain well. Place in a warmed bowl. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon sesame oil and stir to coat. Mix in the bell pepper and sauce to taste. Mix to coat the noodles, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a heavy large frying pan over high heat, warm the vegetable oil. Working in batches, sear the beef in a single layer, about 20 seconds on each side. Transfer to a cutting board and halve each piece lengthwise. Divide the noodles among 4 bowls, top with the beef, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.