Longevity Noodles

24 Jan
Take out sesame noodles nyt

Take out sesame noodles nyt

“Shanghai Garden. May I help you?”
“I’d like to order some take-out.”
“Address, please.”
“331 West 78th Street. Apartment 4F. I’d like to order some chicken with broccoli in a brown…”
“Brown sauce with brown rice. Cold noodles. I know. Every night the same!”

Miranda Hobbes’s yen for brown sauce may elude us, but we are down with the cold noodles.

With Chinese New Year looming Feb. 3, we’re embarking on a countdown.

First, a NYT version and then, David Lebovitz. How can you go wrong?

TAKEOUT-STYLE SESAME NOODLES
Recipe from Sam Sifton, New York Times, adapted from Martin Yan, Marian Burros, and memory.
1 pound Chinese egg noodles (1/8,-inch-thick), frozen or (preferably) fresh, available in Asian markets

2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a splash

3½ tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar

2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste

1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon finely grated ginger

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste, or to taste

Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8,-by- 1/8,-by-2-inch sticks

¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until barely tender, about 5 minutes; they should retain a hint of chewiness. Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and toss with a splash of sesame oil.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons sesame oil, the soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic and chili-garlic paste.

3. Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with cucumber and peanuts. Serves 4.

Notes

The “Chinese sesame paste,” above, is made of toasted sesame seeds; it is not the same as tahini, the Middle Eastern paste made of plain, untoasted sesame. But you could use tahini in a pinch. You need only add a little toasted sesame oil to compensate for flavor, and perhaps some peanut butter to keep the sauce emulsified.

By all means, add some Sichuan peppercorns if you like: toast a tablespoon’s worth in a dry pan, crush lightly and whisk the resulting mess into your sauce.

____________________________________________

COLD NOODLES WITH PEANUT SAUCE
David Lebovitz
Peanut Sauce

Four servings

This recipe makes about 2 cups (500ml) of peanut sauce, which is more than you’ll need for four servings. But it’s pretty great on white rice as an afternoon snack or French fries.

The chicken needs to be hand-shredded since the uneven surface makes it easier for the peanut sauce to adhere to the meat. Toast the peanuts in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven on a baking sheet for about twelve minutes, stirring a few times during baking, until they’re well-toasted.

2 cups (300g) dark roasted unsalted peanuts
1/2 to 3/4 cup (125-180ml) hot black tea
1/2 cup (125ml) oil, preferably peanut (see Notes) or coconut milk
1 tablespoon (10g) peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 small chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground Szechuan pepper (if available)
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili paste or chili oil
1/3 cup (15g) packed cilantro sprigs or chives
1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 pound (450g) wide Chinese noodles, often called Shanghai noodles (see Notes)

2 chicken breasts, boneless or on the bone
1 large cucumber
sprigs of cilantro

1. Put the peanuts, 1/2 cup (125ml) of hot tea, and the oil or coconut milk in a blender.

2. Turn the machine on and let it run for a few minutes until the peanuts are almost smooth. Then add the remaining ingredients and let the machine run until the sauce is pureed.

3. Check the consistency. If it’s too thick for your liking, add up to another 1/4 cup (55ml) of tea.

4. Cook the noodles in a pot of boiling salted water according to the time on the package. (I usually cook them a little less, since I like them chewy.)

5. Once done, drain and immediately run cold water over the noodles in the colander, turning them with tongs to cool them as rapidly as possible. Toss the noodles in a drizzle of oil and set aside.

6. Put the chicken breasts in a medium saucepan, cover with cold water and add enough salt to estimate the saltiness of sea water. Cover and bring the water to a boil.

7. Once the water comes to a boil, turn off the heat and leave the chicken breasts in the water for twenty minutes, covered. After twenty minutes, remove the chicken breasts from the liquid and let sit until cool enough to handle.

8. Shred the chicken breasts by hand into bite-size strips.

9. Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half lengthwise then remove the seeds with a spoon. Slice the cucumber diagonally.

10. Divide the noodles between the four bowls, top with chicken and cucumbers, then add a few generous, heaping spoonfuls of peanut sauce. Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and encourage guests to mix everything together in their own bowls.

Storage Tips: The peanut sauce can be made up to one week in advance and refrigerated, or frozen for up to two months. The chicken breasts and the noodles can be cooked and refrigerated up to one day ahead.

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