Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sesame Noodles!

I'm a big fan of Asian flavors - I especially love Thai and Japanese cooking (lucky us being close to NYC, we have a ton of great restaurants to choose from!), and I find it challenging to try to make different dishes and styles of cooking at home. When I was living in Brooklyn, it was a bit easier to get all the ingredients that I needed, but the New Year has inspired me to get back into ethnic cooking.

I have made several sesame/peanut noodle recipes in the past - including this one (which is good, but not great) but this recipe from Tyler Florence just blew them away. It is the perfect mix of an easy and delicious weeknight meal, has great flavor and it makes for great leftovers too (perfect for lunches!).

It is labeled as sesame noodles but really it is more like a cross between a sesame and peanut noodle dish. And it is on the Asian-fusion side, rather than being really traditional-style dish. I served it as a side dish with a hoisin-glazed roast pork tenderloin and cucumber salad and the meal just hit the spot!

Cold Sesame Noodles (adapted from Tyler Florence)

1 pound Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 handful of julienned carrots
Kosher salt
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed 2 tablespoons
light brown sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I didn't have the Sriracha handy, but this works just fine - put as much or as little as you like)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
6 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

1. Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. Add the carrots and red pepper to the pot of noodles for the last few minutes of cooking (just to soften them a bit). Drain immediately and rinse noodles/vegetables with cold water until cool. Drain the noodles well and transfer to a wide bowl.

2. In a blender or food processor, process all remaining ingredients (except garnish) until smooth. Put mixture into the refrigerator and let it chill for about 1/2 hour. Pour the peanut sauce over the noodles and toss until well coated. Serve garnished with the sesame seeds and cilantro. You can also add some scallions to the top if you like.