From the store to the kitchen to the table: We outline the steps that get you from raw ingredients to your dinner tonight, free of measurements and complicated techniques. It’s a method you’ll remember and whip out whenever you like. It is the most basic way to make the thing you’re making.

  • WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
  • – a colander or strainer
  • – a blender
  • – a pound of cooked buckwheat or wheat noodles
  • – vegetable oil
  • – a pound of firm tofu
  • – two scallions
  • – one garlic clove, peeled
  • – four heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter (any kind)
  • – three spoonfuls of soy sauce
  • – a handful of cilantro
  • – the juice of one lime
  • – a spoonful of sugar
  • – a spoonful of sesame oil
  • – a spoonful of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • – one jalapeño, chopped (remove the seeds if you want less heat)
  • – a spoonful of fish sauce (optional)

WHAT YOU’LL DO:

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  • 1. Rinse the cooked noodles with cold running water, drain, and toss with a drizzle of vegetable oil.

    Step 1

  • 2. Slice the tofu into 1/4-inch-thick strips and chop the scallions (both the white and green parts). Set aside.

    Step 1

  • 3. Place the remaining ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth.

    Step 1

  • 4. Add a little hot water to the blender until the mixture reaches a saucy consistency. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula or spoon.

    Step 1

  • 5. To serve, place the noodles on a plate and top with the tofu, peanut sauce, and scallions.

    Step 1

Illustrations by Bill Russell

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