Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cold Noodle

Have you ever been to one of those Chinese restaurants that serve free wine? You know, those unending carafes of cheap white wine? I remember one that I used to go to on the Upper West Side when I first moved to NYC. The food was cheap and the wine obviously cheaper. Do those restaurants even exist anymore?

Well, once upon a time I had the most amazing cold sesame noodles (perfectly spicy) and I have yet to ever find them again. I don't know where it was (too much cheap wine?) and I am always disappointed whenever I order sesame noodles now. They tend to be way too sweet. The obvious solution? Make them myself. Fortunately I tend to keep all of the necessary ingredients on hand and they're soooo easy to make. I have actually made them before, but I am still perfecting my perfect balance of nutty, salty, and spicy, with a touch of sweet. The cool thing is that it's another one of those recipes that is super easy to tweak according to your personal tastes.

I recently ran across this version of Mark Bittman's on the NY Times blog
Bitten. It reminded me of my quest for the perfect cold noodle. It's quite similar to other recipes that I've tried, so I decided to give it another whirl. I think I'm getting closer.

Cold Sesame Noodles

1 large cucumber
12 ounces long pasta like linguine
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 cup sesame paste (tahini) or peanut butter
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon rice or wine vinegar
Hot sesame oil or 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup minced scallions for garnish

1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil
. Meanwhile, peel the cucumber, cut in half, and, using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Cut the cucumber into shreds and set aside.

2. When the water comes to a boil, cook the pasta until tender but not mushy. While the pasta is cooking, whisk together the sesame oil and paste, sugar, soy, ginger, vinegar, hot oil and pepper in a large bowl. Thin the sauce with hot water, so that it is about the consistency of heavy cream; you will need 1/4 to 1/2 cup. When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and run under cold water. Drain thoroughly.

3. Toss the noodles with the sauce and the cucumbers. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary (the dish may need salt), then garnish and serve. Makes 4 servings.


thecatskillkiwi said...

Awesome! I am totally going to make these, love cold sesame noodles. This looks like a great recipe.

WendyB said...

I haven't been to one of those free wine places in years -- I'm having flashbacks!

Jennifer said...

This is one of all-time favs. Def. a flashback to my Aunt Anna. I'm going to be making this too. Delic.

stef m said...

must make these!