Sesame noodles are No. 1 on my takeout disappointment list. Over and over again, I see sesame noodles on a salad bar or nicely packaged in the ready-to-go aisle and I can't resist. Just as predictably, I'm underwhelmed. Greasy, slimy and mushy are three adjectives that come to mind. When I started to look at recipes, every one I saw was loaded up on fatty ingredients or was what I call a "dump recipe," with an ingredient list so long there was no chance I'd ever make it.
So I came up with this recipe, which is simple, quick and based on fresh ingredients. Start with fresh Asian noodles, available at some supermarkets and in the produce section of Asian markets. (Fresh linguine or spaghetti may be substituted.) Blanch snow peas and carrots, then combine them with slivered scallions, sesame oil, low-sodium soy sauce and toasted sesame seeds. That's it.
Look for the freshest snow peas you can find. They'll have a nice green color and should be very crisp.
Servings: 6 - 8 main-course servings or 10 to 12 side-dish
- 1 pound fresh Chinese noodles (may substitute 12 ounces dried pasta; see headnote)
- 4 ounces fresh snow peas
- 4 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks, about 2 inches long and 1/4-inch thick
- 4 ounces scallions or spring onions (3 to 4 large, 4 to 6 medium), trimmed and cut into 2-inch-long thin strips (julienne)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 to 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted (see NOTE)
Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Rinse well with cold water until thoroughly cooled. Spread the noodles on a rimmed baking sheet or large piece of aluminum foil.
Fill a large bowl with ice water.
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the snow peas; once the water returns to a boil, cook for 1 minute. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the snow peas to the bowl of ice water. As soon as the snow peas are cool, transfer them to a clean towel to dry them. Cut the snow peas lengthwise into 1/4-inch matchsticks.
When the water returns to a boil, add the carrots; cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the color brightens and the carrots become flexible. Drain and transfer to the ice water to cool, then place the carrots on the towel to dry.
Combine the noodles, snow peas, carrots, scallions, 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Use tongs or your hands to thoroughly combine. Taste and add sesame oil, soy sauce or sesame seeds as needed.
Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days. Toss before serving.
NOTE: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring or shaking them frequently, just until fragrant and lightly browned.
From Nourish columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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