cold noodle in sesame sauce

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Summer has officially arrived, though no one has told the weather-god where I live yet.  It doesn't matter though, I can easily put myself in a summer-y mood by making this bowl of simple cold sesame noodle.

Besides my intent to defy the weather, I was also inspired to do this by a discussion about Japanese cooking in a food forum I frequent.  A dressing someone used in a bowl of cooked greens reminded me of a cold sesame noodle I've had in Japan, so I conveniently copied the idea to make myself a bowl.

My fridge was rather sparse, so I only found carrots and cucumbers.  You are, of course, free to use any crunchy veggies you love.  A bit of spicy shiso leafs or cool celery would do quite nicely too, I think.  The idea is to cut them into match sticks to go with the shape of the noodles.  The sesame sauce I made up for this is a simple mix of sesame paste, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and ginger.  I also used a little Japanese sweet cooking wine, Mirin, in it, but if you don't have Mirin on hand you can easily add just a drop of mild honey to give it the sweet edge it needs.

The cold noodles combined with the nutty and gingery dressing, with the added crunch from the vegetables, make a perfect summer lunch you can whip up in just a few minutes. 

Cold sesame noodle
(serves 4 as a light lunch)

10oz or 275g Tomoshiraga Ramen noodle
1 cup carrots, cut into match sticks
1 cup cucumber,  cut into match sticks
1/4 cup sesame paste (tahini)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons mirin
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
3 teaspoons roasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 tablespoon water
about 1 tablespoon of toasted sesame seeds (black would make a more striking presentation but white sesame seeds will do just fine.)

Optional vegetables (all cut into long strips or match sticks)
Shiso leafs
celery

Cook Tomoshiraga ramen noodles according to the package instructions.  I usually cook for just 2 minutes, then give them a quick rinse and soak in ice water bath while I prepare the sauce.

In a large bowl, combine the sesame paste, soy sauce, mirin, rice vinegar, sesame oil, grated ginger, and water.  Whisk to combine well together.  Check the flavor, add more soy sauce, vinegar, or mirin, or anything else you think it needs.  Asian ingredients are not always standardized so you need to trust your own palate to get the precise flavor you want.

Divide the cold noodles between four bowls, pour about two tablespoons of sesame sauce on top of the noodles.  Toss the match stick vegetables together and divide them between the four bowls.  Spoon the rest of the sauce into each bowl equally.  Top with roasted sesame seeds.  Serve immediately.

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  • http://kitchenmusings.typepad.com veron

    Ooooh-lala…such a simple dish but so much flavor!

  • http://riceandspice.wordpress.com Tisha

    I make a similar dish with soba noodles, but I can’t eat it unless the mercury’s topping 90. There is something about soba that is really cooling for the body, and if I eat it spring, fall, or winter, I end up shivering under a down comforter for several hours.
    Maybe making it with wheat noodles will be better for my constitution.

  • http://www.thelivingkitchen.wordpress.com elarael

    Your matchsticks look perfect! Is it your knife or a mandoline? Until I get a decent knife I must use a mandoline.

  • http://www.standingstraight.blogspot.com Claudia

    I think this is similar to what we have here in Hawaii, somen salad? I make it with a bit of leftover chicken or beef along with the vegies. That’s what I’m making tonight with some of that Memorial Day BBQ steak from yesterday. I like your combination of dressing ingredients & will try. Thanks

  • http://sunnypetropoullakis.blogspot.com Sunny

    The high today was in the mid 80s today so a cold dinner dish looks really yummy.Great idea!A few tender sprouts would be nice with it too.I like the way the black sesame seeds look.

  • http://www.ilivetoeatandeattolive.blogspot.com/ Dave

    Hi,
    I do a similar thing with Soba Noodles, but as you say it’s only good on a hot day … They certainly refresh the body and spirit.

  • http://joanpan.blogspot.com Joan Pan

    Have you had the Hiyashi Chuka at Ryowa in Mountain View? Japanese cold noodles that they only serve in the summertime. Soooo good and they add all sorts of yummy to it – pork, chicken, veg, etc.
    Are you going to Gastronomy by the Seine? I am volunteering for it through my school – I saw Chef David’s name on it. Cool ! Hope I get to meet him.
    Ciao !

  • http://lafujimama.blogspot.com Fuji Mama

    Sesame noodles are one of my favorite things! I’ll have to try out your recipe–thanks!

  • http://lavieinenglish.blogspot.com Babeth

    Very “zen” picture :-) The salad idea is a keeper -as soon as I found sesame noodle here in Antibes, an other story-.
    Cheers!

  • http://whohastimetocook.blogspot.com/ Jean

    Great site — I’m glad I found you. Great photos, great text, great concept — did I mention I thought your site was “great”?
    – Jean

  • http://www.5secondrule.typepad.com Cheryl

    Yum. I like that you use tahini instead of peanut butter. Many cold sesame noodle recipes I’ve seen call for pb, and I think it makes the sauce too gummy. Yours looks lighter. Thanks, Pim!

  • http://chewonthatblog.com Hillary

    This reminds me of a dish I order from Big Bowl…cold sesame noodles! I hate to compare you to a restaurant, but I’m a huge fan of that dish!

  • http://jeremyskitchen.wordpress.com/ Jeremy

    I’ve had the soba noodle version of this, and find it to be a pretty good palate cleanser between strong flavoured or heavily spiced dishes.

  • http://relaxingcuisine.blog116.fc2.com/ Seiko

    Hello! I am posting a comment here for the first time. This noodle looks very yummy! sesame+noodles is one of my favorite combinations. I will definitely try the recipe!

  • fin

    when are u making curry again? massaman please..yum

  • http://mikesowden.org/feveredmutterings Mikeachim

    I’ve never considered cold noodles as the perfect summer’s day meal before. I certainly am now.
    Is this dish traditionally associated with sunny weather?

  • http://allexcitingatfirst.blogspot.com shwu

    I’ve always had fond memories of the cold sesame noodle that my mom would make occasionally, but until today I never knew what that dish actually was. I knew it involved cold noodles, cucumber, and some kind of brown, nutty, slightly sweet thick sauce. Your recipe pretty much captured it perfectly – I tried it last night and it was just as delicious as I remembered! It really hit the spot on a warm night and I know I’ll be making it again and again. Thanks for the great recipe and the trip down memory lane!

  • http://www.spire.com Caroline

    I love cold salads: noodles, rice, fregola, farro, etc, etc this time of year!
    My problem is that I can’t seem to properly cook somen noodles (or soba noodles for that matter), so I always end up substituting either angel hair pasta or a whole wheat linguine, but the taste is never the right match for the recipe.
    Any tips on cooking somen so it does not get gummy and clump together??

  • http://edithfrincu.blogspot.com Edith

    good dish, good photo! :)

  • http://cooltravelguide.blogspot.com/ laradunston

    Gorgeous dish! But oh how I wish summer was here! We’re in Milano now and it’s 14 degrees!!! It’s cold. Crazy. Normally it would be really heating up now and would be a perfect time to eat these fresh light dishes.

  • Tom

    I substituted some Hot Sesame Oil for a little bit of bite. Otherwise great recipe without the use of PB.

  • http://madwomanwithshallot.wordpress.com mosli

    I made this the other day with soba and it was excellent! i know this is going to become a regular summer dish. thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

  • http://www.tiffanyfree.com/tiffany-pendants.html Tiffany Pendant

    I remember the headcheese on the charcuterie platter anywhere. And it helps that I was there 9 days ago.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/jmaiser jen maiser

    I don’t know whether to love you or hate you for this recipe. I am going to have to go into a program to break my addiction with this dressing.
    Just made it with a cold soba salad — equal parts cabbage and soba, tossed in some toasted almonds. Delicious.

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