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Cold Chinese noodles | Early memory #2

Posted Oct 09 2012 10:00am
Katrina's noodles made with whole wheat spaghetti
It was a beautiful day when my parents and I moved into our brand new row house in Philadelphia. The friendly neighbors who were already living on the block were out on the lawn and we were all getting acquainted. I was told the next door neighbors had a baby but she was napping, and I was very anxious to meet her. I was, after all, a baby, and this was exciting news. I begged them to bring her out. "When can she come out? Can she come out to play? Will she come out soon?" I was beside myself. I wanted the neighbors to like me, and I started thinking that if they thought I was "cute," they might bring the elusive baby out to play with me. I think they told me the baby was only two months old and couldn't play, but I didn't get it. She was a baby, I was a baby, why not? I must have gotten carried away in my cuteness and enthusiasm, because my mother yelled at me, and I remember being very sad and upset. I can still remember how bad I felt after being so happy. I was 15-months old.

Today's recipe for cold Chinese noodles always makes me happy. It's so easy to make and tastes so good. You can make it ahead for a party, or make it at the last minute because it's so quick to throw together. The recipe came to us from our friend Katrina, who is from China, and she was pretty vague about quantities. I've written the recipe to reflect the way I make the noodles as I tried to replicate the taste of Katrina's version, but feel free to make adjustments to suit your preferences.

I used Ancient Harvest quinoa noodles which are made with corn flour and quinoa and are gluten-free. You could also use spaghetti noodles or buckwheat soba.

The nori pieces are much too big!
Katrina's noodles
  • 8 ounces spaghetti (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (or brown rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, cut fine (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced very fine
  • few grinds black pepper
  • 1 sheet seasoned or plain toasted nori, cut with scissors into small rectangles
  • chopped cilantro, optional
  1. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions al dente. When cooked, drain and rinse under cold running water to cool quickly. Drain noodles again and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the oil and toss to coat the noodles.
  3. Add vinegar, tamari, chili, garlic, ginger, sugar and pepper, and mix well.
  4. Just before serving, add the nori. Mix some in and transfer the noodles to a serving bowl. Arrange the remaining nori over the top of the noodles.
  5. Optional: Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Makes two average, or three to four very small servings.

Topped with crushed peanuts.
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