So I was challenged to make a new years resolution: add one post a month to snacko backo in 2016. I didn’t quite agree, but here we are anyway. Made on Jan 31 and posted Feb 1- let’s say this one falls right under the wire. I had a craving for Sesame noodles last night- and I’m going to go ahead and say these are better than the take out version. I think these would be really great for a dinner party type/pot luck situation because they come together in like 5 mins and taste a bit outside the box. Plus good warm or cold. Perhaps could make w. beef and broccoli or easier ginger pork, with dumplings, scallion pancakes and maybe a wonton/egg drop or miso soup. Original NY Times recipe serves with some slices of cucumber- so I think Vietnamese cucumber salad (gah, realizing that recipe never made it to the blog- will add) would be especially nice. But – after a trip to the overwhelmingly inspiring Russo’s in watertown (with obscure produce I hadn’t seen since my co-op days)- I ended up with some baby bok choy and chinese spinach.
For the baby bok choy, I gave a quick sear in a cast iron with some olive oil. Once just cooked, I took out, and tossed in a bowl with a dash of sesame oil and soy sauce. I treated the spinach similarly. But after seared and wilted, instead of sesame/soy, I added equal parts miso and butter (maybe a tsp or so of each) to the cast iron. Stirred to coat. Inspired by an old Japanese turnip with miso butter recipe, it adds a nice sweet coating.
Perhaps I should add- the skill level for this noodle recipe is naught. The only effort is buying the ingredients- after that- i think it would be pretty difficult to fuck it up.
Closely adapted from a Sam Sifton NY Times recipe
1 pound Chinese egg noodles (1/8-inch-thick), frozen or (preferably) fresh, available in Asian markets *
2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash
3 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste*
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste, or to taste*
Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch by 2-inch sticks
¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts
– I used fresh lo-mein noodles from H-Mart (Asian grocer). Also I found that to get the dressing to noodle ratio coating right- I only ended up using ¾ of my cooked noodles with the amount of dressing made below.
– yes, there is a difference between tahini and sesame paste. Sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds so is darker and richer in flavor. I’d say if you have tahini already on hand- use it and add a dash more sesame oil to compensate. I got sesame paste from H-Mart, since was already there.
– I used siracha for chili paste
Bring medium pot of water to boil. Add noodles. Cook until barely tender. About 5 mins (timing maybe less if fresh noodles)- they should retain a bit of chewiness.
Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again, toss with a splash of sesame oil.
In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic and chili-garlic paste.
Add in pasta a bit at a time, stir to coat. As noted above, add enough noodles for desired coating – for me it was ¾ pound noodles.
Chop peanuts and add to serve.