Cold Fiery Noodles
2 main-course or 4 side-dish servings
Like a salad, really, with lots of crisp vegetables and a light, hot-sweet dressing. Serve as part of a bigger meal, or in larger portions as a lunch or a light supper.
1 pound cucumbers
½ cup bean sprouts, rinsed
Handful of radishes, sliced
12 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles or long pasta, like linguine
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger (optional)
2 tablespoons rice or white wine or other vinegar
¼ cup good-quality vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Chile Paste, or minced fresh chile, or more to taste
Hot chile oil or Tabasco sauce to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
At least ½ cup chopped scallions for garnish
Chopped cilantro, for garnish
Chopped peanuts, for garnish
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it. Peel the cucumbers, cut them in half, and seed them. Cut the cucumber into shreds (use a grater or a knife, depending on your taste) and set aside.
2. When the water comes to a boil, add the noodles. Cook, stirring occasionally until the noodles are tender but not mushy. (Start tasting after 1 minute for fresh noodles, 5 minutes for long pasta.) While the noodles are cooking, whisk together the sesame oil, sugar, soy, ginger if you’re using it, vinegar, vegetable oil, chile oil to taste, and pepper in a large bowl. Thin the sauce with some of the cooking water to about the consistency of heavy cream; you will need ¼ to ½ cup. Stir in the cucumbers, sprouts, radishes, and chile paste or chile. Thin with just 1 tablespoon or so of water.
3. When the noodles are done, drain them and rinse under cold water. Drain again. Toss the noodles with the sauce and cucumbers. Taste, add salt if necessary, then garnish with scallions, cilantro, and peanuts, and serve.