I’m a New Yorker, born and raised. There, if you walk into just about any Chinese take-out restaurant, you can order Cold Sesame Noodles (sometimes called, “cold noodles with sesame sauce,”). In my single years, a pint of that and a pint of roast pork fried rice made a perfect dinner for me. I could pick it up on the way home, walking from the subway to my Queens apartment and it filled me up for very little cash. In fact, that Chinese place on 108th Street in Forest Hills at about 65th Avenue made the best cold sesame noodles anywhere! I wonder if they’re still doing that.
Since we moved to Jacksonville three years ago, not only is it really tough to find good Chinese to begin with, but my husband and I have never seen this culinary delight on any menu. Three years is a long time to go without that kind of taste sensation. So, I just got fed up about six weeks ago and decided I’d figure out a way to duplicate that flavor, by hook or by crook. I knew I needed peanut butter and something with sesame flavor that was dark in color. But what?
At Publix (the coolest supermarket in the universe, IMHO), I browsed the “Ethnic Foods,” aisle – the Chinese section in particular. Soy sauce…terayaki sauce…chili sauce…fish sauce…AHA! There is was, and I don’t know why I’d never seen it before. Sesame Garlic sauce by “Iron Chef.” Who knew that was a brand (then again, of course it is). I read the ingredients and they sounded like exactly like what I’d need to make the famous, yet elusive sauce. I picked up 2 bottles and headed home.
I already had angel hair pasta (a nice, big, 16-oz box from Mueller) and Jif creamy peanut butter in the pantry. Seemed like I was set. I put on my white lab coat and got busy (not really ). I figured about 2/3 cup of peanut butter was right. A full cup would be too much. I started light, but ended up pouring about half the bottle of sesame garlic sauce in. Then, I added a few tablespoons of HOT water until the consistency was thick, but not gummy. Meanwhile, I cooked the angel hair in salted water with a little olive oil (this only takes about 4 minutes, so don’t get distracted!) after breaking it in half. I drained the pasta and ran cold water over it to stop the cooking process and cool it off. That’s why the sauce can’t be too gummy…you’re gonna try to evenly distribute it in the cold noodles without making mush out of everything.
Two tablespoons worked well for me to get the stuff properly mixed. I don’t recommend using forks. The pasta is delicate while still a bit warm and you don’t want to shred it. Once mixed, I covered it with plastic wrap and put the whole bowl in the freezer for about 45 minutes. Serve it in the bowl with bean sprouts and slivers of cucumber on the side or piled for guests to put on top. I didn’t have any cucumbers when I made this for the second time last night, so we’ve just got the sprouts in this picture.
I also made Pad Thai using noodles and sauce from a box. The shrimp goes with the Pad Thai, but since my stepson is allergic, I served them on the side. It was certainly a noodle-intensive meal, but the hot dish with lime and cilantro flavors complimented the cold dish with peanut and sesame flavors perfectly!
Once again, the pictures are clickable to view full size. I’d love to know if you make this. I know if you do, you’ll be back here thanking me. This stuff is heavenly! If you want my Pad Thai receipe, just say so in the comments and that will be my next cuisine post, though I mostly follow box directions and enhance, enhance, enhance.
Your Daily Bread
Genesis 19:1 Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. 2 And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant’s house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.” 3 But he insisted strongly; so they turned in to him and entered his house. Then he made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.