Sesame Noodles

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I can’t believe how many posts I’ve written that are basically completely done but were never posted.

Yesterday someone asked me for my sesame noodle recipe. I told her I would send the link to the post I wrote about it and then remembered I was going to put up a revised version but never did. I looked to see what I had written and there was a more or less finished post from January 2011 on this very subject. I think I wanted to test it one more time or get a picture or something, and then got distracted and never managed to get back to it.

Enough with that.

Here’s the revised version of the sesame noodle recipe.

This is definitely one of my top ten favorite recipes. Really good, really easy, really cheap. Great to make for a party or potluck because you can easily make a big batch, and also it travels well with minimal refrigeration, and is very filling, so I often make it and take with me on Scrap trips. It’s just a winner all the way around.

And if I ever manage to take a picture of it, I’ll add that. But for now, this is what I’ve got. Including the full January 2011 version of the post that I wrote and never posted. Because I hate to waste writing almost as much as I hate to waste food.


I called my friend Ann to check in last week. She said, “I’m looking at your blog right now.” I said, “Really?” I was trying to remember what I’d written lately, and if it was worth reading. She said, “I was looking for the sesame noodle recipe.”

I said, “Did you find it? It’s called Deb’s Sesame Noodles.” Then I remembered that I was working on a revision, and that I have it pretty much figured out.

I said, “Oh, but I have a new version, it’s better. It uses toasted sesame oil, and makes a more reasonable amount, the other one is huge.” I told her I’d put it together and send it to her later that day or the next.

She said, “Why don’t you put that up for everyone, instead of just sending it to me?”

Such a humanitarian! She’s always looking out for the greater good.

So here’s the revised sesame noodle recipe, adjusted to work with about 8 ounces of pasta (half a standard-sized package) and to use toasted sesame oil and extra tahini in place of the earlier recipe’s large amount of sesame oil. [Ed. correction 7/7/2012:   The recipe as given is enough for a full package of pasta; if you want 8 oz, cut the recipe in half.]


Deb’s Sesame Noodles Redux

1 to 2 gloves garlic, minced
1/2 to 1 Tbsp ginger root, grated
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3-4 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp canola oil

8 ounces linguine (or spaghetti)
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted lightly
2-3 green onions, sliced thin

Cook pasta.

Combine the first nine ingredients (up to the pasta) in a bowl and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust vinegars, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, garlic until you have the combination that appeals to you of tart, salty, sweet, sesame, and garlicky. (This is a very flexible recipe, basically you can adjust everything to taste.)

If the flavor seems too strong, you can add a few teaspoons of light vegetable oil to replace some of the original recipe’s 1 cup of sesame oil. It will dilute the flavors somewhat and make it stick to the noodles better than thinning with water.

Toss the hot, cooked pasta with the marinade and let sit, refrigerated, for at least four hours. (It’s best made a day ahead, so it can sit overnight and the marinade can soak all the way through the noodles.)

When ready to serve, sprinkle toasted sesame seeds and scallions over the top.

This may not be common knowledge so I’ll offer this little frugal tip: you can keep ginger root pretty much indefinitely in the freezer and grate on a microplane grater straight out of the freezer, no need to thaw. I wrap the unused portion in plastic wrap then put that in a second plastic bag so it will keep longer without starting to taste like the freezer.

(And yes, I know that ginger root is cheap, it’s just easier to make a recipe when you have all the ingredients on hand. I got into an extended discussion about this a number of years ago when I gave my tip for taking unused tomato paste out of the can and freezing tablespoon-sized dollops wrapped in waxed paper. The person I was talking to was like, “Okay, yeah, but tomato paste is like seventy-five cents. Do you really need to save seventy-five cents?” And had to think for a moment about whether I wanted to out myself and say, “Well yes, in fact I do need to save seventy-five cents.” In the end, I decided against it. Instead I talked about the principle of the whole thing and being wasteful — it’s just silly to buy food and throw it away when you don’t have to.)

9 Responses to “Sesame Noodles”

  1. Thank you for the recipe! As for the last bit, brilliant. I never use enough ginger to use it up when I buy it so I only buy it infrequently but would love to have some on hand- never thought of that!

    A few years ago a co-worker of mine introduced me to the idea of ‘soup cubes’. He’d make up soup in the blender or food processor and then freeze it into ice trays to put in plastic baggies and bring into the office. He just kept a few big bags in the freezer and could select whichever combination of flavors he wanted to heat up. I started doing this as well as a good way to use up veggies and found it works even better if you oil the ice tray a tiny bit (spray oil like Pam might work too) as it acts like not only a mold release compound for the ice tray, but also keeps the cubes from sticking to each other in the freezer.

  2. Liz Adams Says:

    Another great frugal way with tomato paste: empty the whole can into a ziploc back, flatten and close it, freeze. Then you just open and break off the exact size piece you need to cook with. I hate waste, too! and yes, I need not to waste money, either.

  3. This is amazing! I was just thinking I wanted a recipe like this for a potluck I am going to tomorrow. I was thinking “some sort of Asian pasta that I can add broccoli to, because I have broccoli”. This is perfect.

    I keep my ginger in the freezer. I use a small tupperware for the other 1/2 can of tomato paste all the time.

    Then again, I like watching my pennies. I bought bagels from the day-old stand at the store the other day. Should have been $1.50. The checker didn’t see the price and charged me $4.00. Which I didn’t catch until I got home with my 6 year old and huge pregnant belly. Made me mad! But I still didn’t bother to go back to the store for a refund. That would have been too much work.

  4. judilyn Says:

    Two thoughts: Re: Tomato paste – I keep powdered (unsalted) tomato powder around to make any thickness of tomato product desire. Great for pizza.

    When you have an overcharge like that, but can’t get back to the store right away, just call them and tell them what happened. Circle the items on your sales slip, and write down the day/time/person you talked to right on the receipt. Next time you go to that store, go to the Service Desk (smiling) and tell them the story, and present the receipt. I have NEVER had this fail.

  5. lessisenough Says:

    Thanks for the tip on the tomato powder. Where do you get that? I don’t know if I’ve seen it before, but I don’t know if I’d heard of it either, so I just might not have been looking in the right place.

    And I’ve had the same experience with overcharges. If you just explain what happened, most places want to make it right. At Whole Foods, if they mis-charge you, you get the item for free. At the store I go to, they installed new card readers recently and the itemized list shows up in front of you as it runs through, so it’s easier to catch things that are wrong, and they can void it and fix it on the spot. So that’s good.

    Usually the only time I take a wrong charge to the counter for a refund is when I bought something specifically because it was on sale and then was charged the regular price. That happens fairly regularly and it drives me nuts.

  6. judilyn Says:

    I get the tomato powder by mail order at Azure Standard near Portland, Oregon.

    Above is the link to the product information, but you will have to make an account to see prices. As far as I can tell, there is never any spam from this site. I have been ordering from them for about 15 years. All of their products are excellent, and I never hesitate to recommend them to friends. Their grains and beans and a lot of other products are on my constant list for replenishing. We eat a lot of grains and beans, so my stock gets rotated pretty often.

    Another place to look for stock items is Amazon, believe it or not. I get my Bob’s Red MIll 5-grain cereal, organic flaxseed meal, sesame seeds, and a lot of other items from Bob’s directly from Amazon. They are a lot less expensive, and the shipping is free if you use their Subscribe and Save program, which I do.

  7. sybaritica Says:

    Sitting overnight is a good idea…

  8. lessisenough Says:

    Yes, definitely better to sit overnight. If you eat it too soon, it tastes like sauce and noodles, two separate things. When you let it sit overnight it turns into one thing.

  9. Liz G Says:

    Thank you for posting this. Looks delicious. Does anyone else have recipes along these lines that might be considered natural or fresh ramen noodle dishes?

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