baavgai: (Default)
( Jun. 19th, 2010 09:50 pm)
I made these the other night. They seemed to go over well and [ profile] loosecanon insisted I blog it before I forgot the proportion. The thing is, I have no proportion; I didn't measure anything.

There are variations that call for tahini and even peanut butter, this is not one of those. These noodles are light, refreshing, and summery. You can add veggies if you want a more cold salad kind of thing. Cucumber, bean sprouts, and snow peas are popular. I don't do salad so I enjoy these noodles unadorned.

Dry Chinese noodles ( any thin, long pasta should work ), sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar.

Wash your hands well, you will be fondling your noodle.

Cook noodles. Put dried pasta in unsalted, boiling water. A pound of noodles at least, this is a yummy dish. When almost fully cooked ( they'll get a little bit softer, but not much ), take them off the heat and run cold water over them continuously until the temp of the water.

Get your hand in there when cool enough and move everything around; you don't want any hot spots. This is a lot like washing rice, you want the starch to go down the drain. When cold, pour off as much water as you can. Immediately put in a tablespoon or two of sesame oil. Use that hand to toss everything around. Every noodle wants some oil. This process will often chase out some more water, pour it off.

The first round of oil is for oil's sake; sticking is bad. Now for the soy sauce, which is both your salt and your color. Pour a little in and toss throughly. Now taste. You'll probably only be tasting soy sauce, but fear not. Add a little sugar. You're not going for sweet, you just want to tame the salt.

After that is balanced, add a little, just dash, of vinegar, rice wine vinegar preferred. You don't really want to taste vinegar so much as some sour. Once you've moved to sour, add more sesame oil.

I was amazed how much oil it took to balance out the flavor, more than two tablespoons for two pounds of noodles. Sesame oil can easily overpower a dish and you learn to use it with care. However, here, we really do want to taste it. Once you have enough oil to take the edge off the vinegar, you're done. You can adjust elements to taste, but be aware that the sharp edges are going to soften a lot over time. You want it a little sharp to start.

Put your masterpiece in the fridge and wait a day. After a few hours, you'll have an idea of what you have. Day two or three is probably when it's happiest. After that it's still good, but the noodles will start to dry out.

Take from the fridge, allow to sit a few minutes to take to serious chill off, and serve. Some fresh sesame seeds will brighten the plate up. We forgot to put them on last time and no one seemed to mind.

On hands:
Obviously, you don't have to use your hands. Any implement for moving your noodles about should work. However, your hand is the best tool. It gives you the most control, feedback, and consistency. I use one hand that will be devoted to the project, the other for moving about, opening bottles, etc. At times, this feels like cleaning rice or mixing dough, both operations done better by hand.

On the noodle:
Saying "any pasta" is kind of being nice. The best Italian semolina pasta, the kind you always look for, sucks for this dish; too chewy. Cheaper Italian spaghetti-like substances also don't quite work; to paste like. The Chinese, or Asian, noodle of choice is wheat based, with little more than flour and water as ingredients. In Japanese, somen is what you want. Chinese are harder to find, but lahng mein is one official name for them. They should be white in color and the thickness of angle hair. Baring that, lean more toward Asian than European in your choices. The Asian style also cooks very quickly; less than five minutes.

Rice noodles also work well for this.


baavgai: (Default)


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