Sesame Noodles

Recently, my wife expressed disappointment with the quality of ‘sesame noodles’ found at a number of places around the area; they didn’t quite match the memories/expectations of the ones she had when she was growing up.  So I decided to try my hand at making the dish.  Fortunately, I found Andrew Zimmern’s version of the dish at: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/cold-peanut-sesame-noodles .  Basically the dish is cooked pasta enrobed in the sesame sauce.  His version makes quite a lot of sauce. The microbatch recipe I used for the sesame sauce is:

The sauce cast (mirin, sesame oil, peanut butter, tahini, sugar, rice vinegar)

The sauce cast (mirin, sesame oil, peanut butter, tahini, sugar, rice vinegar)

1 t grated ginger
5 T + 1 t  soy sauce
1 T sesame oil
1 T peanut butter
1 T sugar
1 T rice vinegar
2 t mirin
1 small garlic clove grated (1/2 t)
1 T tahini

(the yield is about a cup of sauce)

The grated garlic and ginger to be added near the end of making the sauce

The grated garlic and ginger to be added near the end of making the sauce

...starting with the sugar...

…starting with the sugar…

...then the unsweetened peanut butter

…then the unsweetened peanut butter

and then the sesame paste (tahini)

and then the sesame paste (tahini)

adding the ginger (top) and the garlic (below) to the mix of soy, sesame oil, mirin, rice vinegar, peanut butter, tahini and sugar

adding the ginger (top) and the garlic (below) to the mix of soy, sesame oil, mirin, rice vinegar, peanut butter, tahini and sugar

and this is what the sauce should look like

and this is what the sauce should look like

My wife mentioned that, by itself, the sauce was a bit on the salty side; but I expected that that would get toned down once it was mixed with the pasta and the chili oil.

squid ink pasta

squid ink pasta

So for my twist, I thought I’d use squid ink pasta and finish it with grated bottarga (used in Chinese, Japanese and Italian

cooking the pasta for about 7 to 8 minutes in NON-salted water (remember the salt is coming from the sauce!)

cooking the pasta for about 7 to 8 minutes in NON-salted water (remember the salt is coming from the sauce!)

cooking)

Room temperature sesame sauce in the mixing bowl before the hot pasta is added

Room temperature sesame sauce in the mixing bowl before the hot pasta is added

Adding the cooked squid ink pasta to the sauce to be coated

Adding the cooked squid ink pasta to the sauce to be coated

Sesame Noodles, garnished with bottarga

Sesame Noodles with a little drizzle of chili oil and  garnished with bottarga

My wife loved the dish and added she would’ve like a touch more sesame paste and peanut butter.  I would tend to agree; I thought the sauce was a little bit on the thin side.  I was expecting more of a slightly thicker coating on the pasta.  We both agreed the flavors were good.  I would like to make this again adding one more tablespoon each of the sesame paste and the peanut butter.  Personally, I also liked the added flavor hit from the bottarga.  I could also see topping the noodles with shredded cucumber and chilled shredded Chinese-stye cooked chicken.

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