You may all have noticed by now that I’m obsessed with Asian food and attempting to make it. The other night, after too many hours of looking on tastespotting, I had a hankering to cook. For those of you who have been on that site, you will know the feeling. For those of you who haven’t, check it out and you’ll understand. Whitney and I ventured to the grocery and came back with bags of ingredients. She made her delicious butterfinger bars and I made some Asian sesame noodles. I have always been a fan of these sorts of noodles because they’re sweet, filling and are great cold as leftovers. And trust me, unless you’re Andre the giant, you’ll have leftovers with this recipe.
Ariel’s Asian Sesame Noodles:
1 box of Barilla Plus spaghetti noodles, cooked al dente
1/2 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup of sesame oil
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of honey
4 scallion, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup of toasted sesame seeds
1/3 cup of chopped peanuts
First boil water and drop in the pasta because that will take the longest. At the same time, put a pan on low heat and without any cooking spray or oil, pour in the sesame seeds. They will take about 5-10 minutes to toast depending on how hot the pan is. I suggest toasting them low and slow. Once they’re lightly golden, take them off the heat and set them aside.
In a separate bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, honey, garlic, and apple cider vinegar. Make sure that the sugar fully dissolves into the sauce. You don’t want any crunchy granules in your pasta. This will be your sauce to top the pasta. These measurements can be adjusted to how you’d like your sauce to taste. Next time I would probably consider sauteeing my garlic before putting it in the sauce for a slightly more mild flavor compared to the raw garlic. If you add some extra honey or sugar, there will also be some added sweetness. If you like a little more of a pungent and tart flavor, add more apple cider vinegar- but be careful, it’s strong. Remember, you can always add more, but you can’t really subtract.
When the pasta is done cooking, drain and mix it in with the sauce. At the end, top the dish with as many scallions, toasted sesame seeds and peanuts as you’d like. I really enjoy the oniony bite of the scallions, so I used a whole bunch. Since the flavor of the sesame oil in the sauce is very strong, I found that using a lot of sesame seeds isn’t exactly necessary. The peanuts are key here for a crunch. Make sure you have a lot of those little babies spread all nicely throughout your pasta so you can have a few pieces in every bite.
Once everything is tossed together, the aroma is just delicious. The saltiness of the soy sauce and the slightly tart smell of the sesame oil really comes through. It’s a party for your nostrils for sure.
So here’s the finished product. I decided to use the Barilla plus pasta because it’s a little bit healthier than regular semolina pasta. Also, the flavor is more robust because it’s whole wheat and has a lot of extra fiber. It really held up nicely to the sauce as well. Despite its health benefits, I usually shy away from whole wheat pasta because it just doesn’t taste as good as the regular stuff. But in this recipe, I think the whole wheat actually adds a lot of flavor and gives the dish some more depth. I know you’re feeling skeptical and will want to just stick with your regular pasta, but take my word for it- this time, whole wheat is supreme.
My leftovers are sadly all gone and I feel that I will be making these noodles again very soon. They’re quick, easy and impressive. If you’re having a dinner party, they’d be an excellent addition as a pasta salad because they have so much flavor. Served cold, they’d be great with some teriyaki chicken or even salmon. Like most of the things I make, these asian sesame noodles are hard to mess up so if you’re a nervous cook or just a beginner like me, try them out!
The outcome is inevitably delicious!