I first came across these noodles in China’s Sichuan province. It’s a simple, approachable dish with complex flavors that speak to kids and adults. Topped with fresh cilantro, scallions and crunchy-cool cucumbers, these cold peanut-sesame noodles have become a favorite meal in the Zimmern household. The savory sauce is so delicious I’d suggest making extras to use as a salad dressing or dipping sauce for grilled chicken. — Andrew Zimmern
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/3 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
3 tablespoons natural, unsweetened, salted peanut butter
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin (available in the ethnic section of most grocery stores)
1 small garlic clove, minced
3 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste or tahini
1 small shallot, minced
5 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (see Note)
1 pound dried Chinese egg noodles
1/2 large seedless cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into fine matchsticks
4 scallions, thinly sliced
small handful Cilantro sprigs for garnish
Active: 30 min
Total Time: 1 hr 30 min
Servings: 4 to 6
In a blender, combine the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, rice wine, garlic, sesame paste, shallot and 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil and puree until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water until chilled. Shake out the excess water and blot dry; transfer the noodles to a bowl and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut oil. Add the peanut-sesame sauce and toss well to coat. Garnish with the cilantro, cucumber and scallions.
MAKE AHEAD: The peanut-sesame sauce can be refrigerated for up to three days.
NOTES: Roasted peanut oil, as opposed to neutral peanut oil, smells richly nutty. Boyajin’s Fragrant Peanut Oil is available at specialty markets and from mingspantry.com.
For more great recipes from Andrew Zimmern, visit his website.