Summer Staples: Part VIII (Cold Sesame Noodles)

The beloved standby of every Chinese take-out menu, Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce gets a fresher and healthier spin here from Cafe Drake. Serve with a tossed green or tomato and onion salad for a satisfying cold supper or take-to-work lunch. Dress the noodles up for a weekend meal by topping with hoisin-marinated grilled chicken or shrimp.


Place 1 cup of peanut butter in a LARGE bowl and add to it 1 1/2 cups boiling water. Stir well with a fork until the smooth and well blended. This may take a couple of minutes or more.

Now add to the peanut butter: 4 T. of apple cider or rice vinegar, 1 t. + of salt, 2 cloves of minced garlic, at least 2 T. sugar, 1-2 T. soy sauce, some crushed red pepper flakes and about 4 T. sesame oil. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed; much depends on whether you used salted or unsalted peanut butter.

At this point the sauce will look quite runny, too runny, but don't worry as it thickens considerably once tossed with the pasta and cooled in the refrigerator.

Cook 1 lb. of vermicelli or thin spaghetti in plenty of salted boiling water until just tender. Drain well and add to the peanut sauce. Toss all together very well, using two forks or tongs being the most efficient way.

Chill and serve cold or at room temperature, topped with toasted sesame seeds, minced green chilies, slivered scallions, chopped cilantro or parsley etc etc.


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