Sometimes side dishes can become boring and repetitive. Cold sesame noodles are an easy and flavorful way to get out of that side dish rut. In this recipe, Chinese egg noodles are tossed with a mixture of peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and ginger. To make it more than a starchy side dish, freshly julienned carrots and cucumbers are added for that nice vegetable crunch. Of course, cold sesame noodles are always finished with a handful of freshly chopped scallions and cilantro, and even a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds.
Most of the ingredients in cold sesame salad can be purchased at the local Norfolk Farm Fresh; however this is the time to take a trip to the local Asian grocer. Grand Mart on Newtown Road in Virginia Beach literally has a whole aisle dedicated to different noodles. Everything from thin soba noodles, to ramen and egg noodles, even shrimp roe noodles. This Examiner picked what was simply called, “Chinese Egg Noodles”. They came in a small bag with about 6 nests of dried egg noodles. This bag cost about $2 and the flavor is worlds away from any supermarket brand.
Cold Sesame Noodles – feeds 6-8 as a side dish
- 1 lb Chinese Egg Noodles
- ¼ cup dark sesame oil
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ inch piece fresh ginger, minced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Vietnamese Chili Garlic Paste
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup dark soy sauce
- ¼ cup hot water
- 1 ½ cups finely julienned carrot
- 1 ½ cups finely julienned English cucumber, skin left on
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro
- 3 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Bring a pot of water to boil for the noodles. Many packages will say to soak the noodles beforehand in cold water before boiling. If this is the case, soak the noodles for 10 minutes and then place them in the boiling water for about 5 minutes or until al dente.
Drain and immediately toss with sesame oil to coat.
Heat a sauce pan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Quickly sauté the garlic and ginger until translucent; about 3 minutes. Next, add the chili paste, peanut butter, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce and hot water. Stir until the mixture is heated through and combined; about 2 minutes. Toss the heated sauce with the noodles until well coated.
Lastly, toss the noodles with the carrots, cucumber, cilantro, scallions and sesame seeds. This can be served at room temperature, but it tastes fantastic if it sits for at least 3 hours in the fridge. Like most cold salads, the longer it sits, the better it gets!