So once upon a time I lived in fabulous NYC, within the delivery range of a glorious late-night Chinese delivery place called Empire. Oh, Empire. I miss it almost as much as I miss Absolute Bagels, and that is a lot.
One among the many highlights of the Empire experience was the cold sesame noodles. First off, they were FREE. Yeah. Free with any delivery, if you were savvy enough to notice the tiny coupon on the take-out menu. Second, when they were done right, they were the most life-affirming 300000 calorie side dish ever. And then there was the post-cold sesame noodles self hatred. Then, start again. I swore over and over that I'd give them up, but come on -- FREE. Poor student. Free.
Anyway, I only remember the good times with Empire, now that I live 300 miles away. And when I found this recipe in an old cookbook that I have almost never used, it didn't really even occur to me that this would be a lot like the noodles I remember. But they're a passable, far healthier version of the bucket of oily joy that I used to have weekly.
Cold Sesame Noodles (adapted from Jump Up and Kiss Me! Spicy Vegetarian Cooking)
Note: this is one entree-sized serving, which could easily be scaled up to feed 4 or 6.
2 oz soba noodles
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil, divided
1 heaping Tbsp peanut butter (I used natural, which takes a bit longer to mix in since it's cold)
2 tsp Asian chili garlic sauce
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp rice vinegar (not "seasoned")
1/4 tsp ginger (add up to 1 tsp if you are a big ginger fan)
2 Tbsp water
1-2 scallions, chopped
1. Add soba to boiling water; cook for about 3 mins, until it's tender. Drain the noodles and toss with 1/2 tsp of sesame oil. Set aside.
2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger. When they're fully combined, add the water and whisk until combined. Then add the sesame oil and whisk again.
3. Add the noodles and scallions into the sauce. Toss and serve!
Thoroughly non-shocking confession: I have eaten this exact meal (steamed cauliflower plus cold sesame noodles) thrice this week! The photo is actually from Monday, as I've now run out of scallions. I still have at least one more serving of soba in my pantry though, so I could be going for 4 tomorrow night...