Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mei's Cold Noodle Dish

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This is another dish I learned from a Chinese friend of mine, Mei, who gave me the list of ingredients but found it hard to explain how to actually prepare it. I've seen her do it numerous times and the few times I tried, the more frustrated I got by not being able to replicate how she prepared the dish. It did nothing to lessen the craving I have for it though. As with most Asian dishes, it is mostly prepared by taste, feel and most important of all, experience. However, I think that my best bet is to change things around and make it my own and at the same time, stay true to how the dish was prepared.

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
It was actually while writing the post about Lidia's Fiery Spaghetti that I remem-bered this dish. My friend used angel hair pasta but I figured a Japanese noodle might be a better option so I decided to use Somen noodles. You might be concerned about the amount of oil I used but the oil is necessary as it is used for both frying the seasonings and as a dressing. The sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds are my own addition to the dish as a garnish. A word of caution though, this dish does not keep well so make only enough that will last for a day at the most. This recipe is probably the closest thing I could ever get to Mei's version. 

Mei's Cold Noodle Dish

4-5 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp Hatch New Mexico chili powder
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp brown sugar
16 oz Somen noodles
1 small cucumber
sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds (to garnish)

1. In a deep sauce pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and 
    cook until slightly toasted. Add the salt. 

2. Very carefully, add the chili and mix well. Turn off the heat. Add the 
    vinegar, honey, and brown sugar. Check for flavor. Set aside. 

3. While making the chili sauce, boil the water and cook the Somen 
    noodles per packet instructions. Once cooked, shock the noodles in ice 
    water to stop the cooking process and to cool them off fast. 

4. Peel or partially peel cold cucumber and slice thinly. Set aside.

5. To assemble, drain the noodles and add to the chili dressing. Toss to 
    combine. Add the cucumber and mix well. Serve with a drizzle of 
    sesame oil and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. 

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