Charred lime is blended with peanut butter and spices to create a rich, creamy sauce paired with rice noodles.
This dish is inspired by the popular pairing of limes and peanuts in Thai cuisine, though this dish is not traditional. I love pairing the Asian-inspired peanut butter sauce with rice noodles though either soba noodles or spaghetti can be substituted depending on what you have on hand. These versatile noodles can be served either warm or chilled making it a great lunch to bring to work or for a more interesting school lunch.
Limes – The sharp and acidic lime balances out the creamy nutty peanut butter and cuts through the fat for a tangy noodle dish. Not only does heating limes get more juice out of them, charring the limes adds a slightly smoky flavor.
Peanut butter – Since the sauce is smooth, I recommend using creamy peanut butter.
Tomato – These tomatoes have a thicker skin and lower water content than many other tomato varieties, making it perfect for this sauce since, as they cook, they won’t water the sauce down and there’s no need to peel them first. Roma tomatoes are available year-round though tomatoes are at their peak in the summer months.
How to Make Peanut Noodles with Charred Limes
Sauté the aromatics. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and heat through. Add garlic, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Make the sauce. Add the coriander and cumin and cook for just a few seconds before adding the orange juice, lime zest, peanut butter, tomato and soy sauce, stirring until combined.
Simmer sauce to thicken. Add the lemongrass then bring to a simmer, cooking until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Cool and blend the sauce. Remove from heat and let cool slightly then blend until completely smooth. Return the sauce to the pot and set aside.
Soften the rice noodles. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl filled with hot water and let soak until tender but not mushy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Grill limes. Cut the limes in half. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat, add the limes cut side down, cooking until slightly charred, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Assemble and serve. Add the noodles to the sauce, tossing to combine. Serve the noodles topped with the peanuts, chili onion crisp oil and cilantro leaves and with the charred limes.
Tips and Tricks in This Recipe
Top with chicken or crispy tofu for a more complete meal.
Rice noodles are naturally gluten free so simply swapping in tamari or coconut aminos makes this dish totally gluten free.
This recipe makes a thicker sauce – to thin it, whisk in a bit of water or coconut milk.
While I like serving this sauce with rice noodles, try using it as a marinade for braising chicken or grilled chicken. It also works as a Thai-inspired dipping sauce for satays.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this recipe, I recommend checking out some of these: