Growing up, we had a gem of a Chinese restaurant right around the corner. It had all these tassels everywhere as a decoration. As a young kid, those tassels looked like the perfect setup to braid or turn into friendship bracelets while we waited for the food to arrive...they were absolutely not intended for that. One time the owners saw me doing it and well let's just say I never did it again.
But this restaurant remained our go-to birthday restaurant. Every birthday we'd go to Changsho and order a really amazing spread. They had a lot of amazing dishes, but one that I always loved was the cold noodles with a sesame sauce.
This dish is a lighter version as it replaces wheat noodles with shirataki noodles, yet it's spectacularly satisfying. This recipe comes from J. Kenji López-alt at Serious Eats. I've increased the proportion of cucumbers, since I really love the freshness it gives to the dish.
8 oz shirataki noodles, drained
1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into thin strips
1/4 cup green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup roasted peanuts, lightly crushed
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
1 medium clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
3 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp Chinese black vinegar
2 tsp soy sauce
Drain the shirataki noodles, place in a colander, and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds. Set aside over a bowl to catch the dripping water while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
Place the sichuan peppercorns and the chili flakes into a heatproof bowl. Het the oil in a small saucepan until it shimmers. Pour the hot oil over the chiles and let it stand for a minimum of 5 minutes to infuse.
Combine the garlic, ginger, tahini, vinegar, and soy sauce in a bowl (to reduce dishes, you can do it directly in the bowl you'll be serving from) and stir to combine. Pour the chili oil into the mixture, straining out the solids (I used a metal tea strainer). Stir it all together. Then add in the green onions and cucumber and give it a stir. Then add the noodles and stir again to coat everything evenly. Top with toasted peanuts and sesame seeds.
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- Julia Feld