I've been searching for a good version of cold sesame noodles for ages. Growing up we would get take-out sushi/Chinese every Friday night from the same restaurant. They made the absolute best cold sesame noodles I've ever tasted and my quest was to find a recipe that best matched my memory of those days. Someone on my cooking board pointed me to Tyler Florence's recipe, which I decided to make as a snack on Saturday.
My main criteria for good cold sesame noodles includes a very pronounced peanut flavor with undertones of sesame, plenty of creamy sauce and a slightly spicy kick. Until Tyler's recipe nothing had ever come close. I knew I'd found a winner when the reviews mentioned there being too much peanut butter. I love, love, love peanut butter and can't imagine there being too much, especially in cold sesame noodles.
I only made a half order of the noodles since I didn't know if we'd like them. It actually ended up being barely 6 ounces of noodles, which is why there ended up being a little too much sauce. Stupid pasta...has anyone else noticed that a pound of pasta isn't actually a full pound? It's approximately 14 ounces, not 16. I measure out 8 ounces and then weigh the other half and it's always about 6 ounces. Cheats!
Anyway, SP loved these. I made a few modifications (see below), but we both felt it had just the right amount of spice, great peanut butter flavor and an excellent creamy texture. I happen to think the recipe calls for way too much sesame oil, but maybe that's just me. Sesame oil is a finishing oil and a little goes a long, long way. One tablespoon seems like a lot and even cutting the recipe in half I still used way less oil then recommended. Next time I'll cook the pasta a bit longer so it has less of a bite to it, but overall this was definitely a winner in our book.
Cold Sesame Noodles
Recipe slighty modified from Tyler Florence
1 pound Chinese egg noodles or spaghetti (I used spaghetti)
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 teaspoon red chili sauce (I used chili oil)
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil (I used way less, 1/2 teaspoon for a half recipe)
6 tablespoons water
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (left out because I didn't have any)
Cook the noodles in large pot of boiling salted water over medium heat until barely tender and still firm. (I would cook them until they are soft since shocking in cold water stops the cooking and you don't want hard noodles). Drain immediately and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain the noodles well and transfer to a wide bowl.
In a blender, add the ginger, garlic, sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, chili sauce, sesame oil, and water. Process until the mixture is smooth. Put the blender jar 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 scallions, sesame seeds, and cilantro.