cold noodles with sesame sauce

I’m sure by now it doesn’t really come as a surprise that I get hooked to one ingredient and go on to prepare it in multiple ways for weeks on end. Remember those chickpeas I was crazy about? Yes well, I’ve found a new obsession. Tahini. I guess this probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise either – chickpeas and tahini are well acquainted after all. As most of my food obsessions, it begins unassumingly, I never expect it and before I can control the situation, I’ve already purchased an excessive quantity of it. Fortunately though because of tahini’s rich taste and texture I maintained my sanity. I couldn’t overindulge. The long shelf-life also helped!
I ate tahini with carrots, in salads, and on sandwiches and while this was all well and good, I wanted more. I wanted fireworks. Tahini has a great flavor on it’s own, but I didn’t want it to be the only flavor, the only texture. I wanted it paired with something that would compliment it’s texture, play off of it’s flavors, really make it sing.

I found what I was looking for in a Mark Bittman recipe for cold noodles with sesame sauce. With some ever so slight modifications this recipe has become a favorite. Though his recipe suggests you can make this with peanut butter, I have decided I am not a peanut-butter-in-my-noodles kind of person. I’ve tried it and, and in the end, it still tastes like peanut butter and noodles. I think tahini makes a far better accompaniment to Asian noodles.

Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce

1 block of tofu cubed
12 ounces Chinese egg noodles or long pasta, like linguine
2 tbsp dark sesame oil
½ cup tahini
1 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp rice vnegar
Hot sesame oil or Tabasco sauce to taste
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
chopped fresh scallion for garnish

Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes and fry in 2 tbsp of oil until golden and crisp, about 7 – 10 minutes.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until tender. Whisk together the sesame oil, tahini, sugar, soy, ginger, vinegar, hot oil, and pepper in a large bowl. Thin the sauce with hot water until it’s about the consistency of heavy cream. When the pasta is done, drain it and run the pasta under cold water. Drain.

Toss the noodles with the sauce and tofu, salt to taste. Garnish with scallions and serve.

Recipe Notes: Though I did not do this, Bittman suggests adding shredded cucumber into the mix. This can only make things even more awesome.


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