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Noodle Soup with Peanut Sauce

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Noodle Soup with Peanut Sauce is my homemade version of Ichiban-style noodles. It doesn’t come in a Styrofoam cup and it doesn’t contain food additives, loads of salt, saturated fat or gluten. It is plain old rice noodles with a tasty, peanut broth.

For years it has been reported how unhealthy instant noodle soups are yet the convenience of these just-add-water and serve-in-the-cup soups are irresistible to many. If you still have not found yourself a gluten free version of these deadly noodles consider yourself lucky.

Toppings for Your Gluten Free Noodle Soup

At my ‘World of Rice Noodles’ cooking class we make this soup. The original recipe was called Dan Dan Mein noodles, Chinese street vendor’s noodles from Sichuan province. Traditionally the soup includes Chinese black bean sauce, a favourite of mine. I did a separate post on it but included the recipe here again for completeness. Just use more soy sauce if you aren’t ready to try it.

The Chinese street noodles are topped with dried shrimp and canned ‘preserved vegetables’ for a pungent, crunchy taste. I have not yet found a gluten free version of preserved vegetables and over time this recipe just evolved to be a quick noodle soup. If you like the peanut flavoured broth then experiment with different toppings and create your own version.

Storing and Using Rice Vermicelli Noodles

I buy one-pound packages of vermicelli rice noodles at the Asian grocery store. These are the same noodles I use to make Vietnamese salad rolls. They are dry and brittle and are packaged up like a ball of wool. When you break some off the noodles fly everywhere. To prevent a mess I unwrap a brand new package of noodles right into a huge zip lock bag. That way I can pull off the amount of noodles I need leaving the rest in the bag. The tiny, broken noodles that settle in the bottom of the bag will eventually be discarded.

Boiling Water vs Hot Tap Water

To soften rice noodles the method I prefer is to pour boiling water over them in a bowl and let them sit for five minutes. Many recipes warn against over cooking the noodles and suggest you soak the noodles in hot tap water and let them sit for fifteen minutes. I can’t seem to get the right consistency with that method. Find what works for you.

While writing this blog post and to really test the idea of instant noodles I tried one more method. I put the dry noodles into the soup bowl that I take in my lunch. I boiled the chicken stock and peanut mixture in the microwave then poured it over the raw noodles at 8:00 in the morning. At 12 noon I reheated my noodle soup in the microwave and voila, my noodle soup was ready to eat. Try it.

Cookware for Making Soup

Cookware is an investment. You don’t need the most expensive set of pots but there is a wide variety of affordable cookware available and many items you purchase will last for decades. Notice what you like and choose wisely when you buy.

For the everyday home cook like me the largest pot in a typical set of pots is usually perfect for making soup. Although recipes sometimes say a Dutch oven or a soup pot they probably don’t really mean that. A modern Dutch oven is like the gorgeous Le Creuset enamelled cast iron pot. They are heavy and expensive but will last for a lifetime of cooking. For a fraction of the cost you can buy a lesser quality enamelled cast iron Dutch oven and although I’m not sure, I think it would last at least half a lifetime.

Some recipes will call for a soup pot, also called a stockpot. Technically this is an extra large, bigger than what comes with a set of pots. They are ideal for an annual jam or salsa-making party, or special events like a lobster boil. If you cook for large groups you should own one. Many people would never really need one because to make an everyday soup recipe, the largest pot in a typical set of pots is perfect.

Let me know in the comments below if you like this Noodle Soup with Peanut Sauce. What is your favourite way to serve it?


3 oz dried rice vermicelli noodles
¼ cup boiling water
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp GF soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp Chinese black bean sauce (or more soy sauce)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp white vinegar
GARNISHES - minced green onion & a handful of salted peanuts
2 cups GF chicken stock
a handful of cooked chicken, pork or shrimp
any raw or cooked vegetables you like
2 Tbsp vegetable or peanut oil
2 Tbsp fermented black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
½ cup GF chicken stock
1 Tbsp GF soy sauce
2 Tbsp Sherry
1 tsp sugar
1½ tsp cornstarch


Pour boiling water over noodles in a large bowl and soak for 5 minutes. Drain. Divide into 2 soup bowls.
While the noodles are soaking combine peanut butter, boiling water, soy sauce, sesame oil, black bean sauce, garlic, sugar and vinegar in a pyrex measuring cup. Stir until smooth (microwave if needed). Whisk until smooth.
Heat chicken stock to boiling in microwave or on the stove. Add peanut mixture to stock and pour over noodles. Add toppings of your choice.
Combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, sherry, sugar and cornstarch in a measuring cup and set aside.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
Add the oil, black beans and garlic. Stir-fry about 10 seconds.
Add liquid mixture to the pan and cook stirring until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
Cool. Puree with hand blender if desired.
Keeps in refrigerator for several months. Makes about ¾ cup sauce.


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