Monday, November 7, 2011

Making it work.

As a half-Jewish girl growing up in the greater New York City area, I ate a lot of Chinese food. Correction: still eat a lot of Chinese food. Some of this is the more authentic dishes to be found mostly in Flushing and Chinatown; most of it is the gleefully Americanized stuff available all over the city, able to summoned with the briefest of phone calls.

Among my lifelong favorites from the latter category are cold sesame noodles. The peanut-y sauce, the chewy noodles, the thinly sliced cucumber and scallions - I love it all. They make an especially great canvas for hot sauce, which only makes them better in my eyes.

But since even I can't justify ordering in Chinese every night, I needed to find a way to satisfy my sesame noodle cravings at a moment's notice. The result? An actually somewhat nutritious version that substitutes julienned squash for the noodles and has a bit of yogurt in the sauce to add heft (and, incidentally, protein). The classic hooks are still there, though - peanut butter, sesame oil, scallions and cucumber all make an appearance. And though it's not often found in Chinese food, I added some fish sauce for funk and awesomeness.

Authentic? No. Tasty? I sure think so. Easy? Empirically so.

Queenie's Sesame "Noodles"

1 large yellow squash or two medium zucchini
2 tbs. Greek yogurt
1 tbs. creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. fish sauce
1/4 tsp. Sriracha, plus extra for garnish
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 English cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 tsp. toasted sesame seeds

Using a mandoline or a julienne peeler, peel the squash (except for the seeds at the core) into long strips. Place in a mesh sieve and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. Toss to distribute the salt evenly, then set aside while you prep the sauce.

Combine all remaining ingredients except the scallions, cucumber and sesame seeds in a small bowl. Whisk together with a fork until you have an even, light brown, creamy sauce with no lumps.

Meanwhile, bring a small pot of water to the boil. Add the squash to the pot and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with tongs and place back in the sieve to drain a bit.

Place the drained squash into a large bowl. Add the cucumber and 2/3 of the scallions, followed by a couple spoonfuls of the sauce. Using tongs, toss the "noodles" with the sauce and vegetables until well-combined, adding more sauce until it's as saucy as you want it. Using the tongs, transfer to a small bowl for eating. (You'll want to use tongs, because you'll have a bit of watery sauce left over at the bottom of the mixing bowl.)

Garnish with the remaining scallions, sesame seeds and a bit of Sriracha. Eat immediately.

Serves one, generously.

1 comment:

Richard said...

what a fun idea!!

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