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cold sesame noodles

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48 replies to this topic

#1 tommy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:32 PM

talk to me. i love this stuff, and i'd like to make it at home. since i found myself with a jar of tahini, i figured i'd give it a shot.

boy is that some bitter stuff. :blink:

various searched led me to several recipes, none of which seemed very good. so i combinded them all to come up with a mixture of
peanut butter
tahini
chili oil
sambal
soy sauce
ginger
rice wine vinegar
garlic
sesame oil
sugar
light brown sugar
cucumber
garnished with cilantro an scallion

the final product was edible, but not what i was hoping for. and it had a bitter finish under all of the other flavors.

any thoughts?

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#2 Varmint

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:38 PM

Are you sure you have decent tahini? The tahini I use is rarely bitter.
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#3 tommy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:39 PM

errr, define "decent tahini". i got it at a middle eastern market. it's got sesame seeds in it. that's all. :blink:

#4 stefanyb

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:42 PM

Don't use tahini. The sesame paste must be Asian not Middle Eastern. You can use part Asian sesame paste and part peanut butter but the original recipe, I believe, did not use peanut butter. For thinning of the paste its a good idea to use oolong tea (brewed and cooled) together with soy sauce. Those are my suggestions. I'm not familiar with using sambal in this dish either.

#5 Varmint

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:44 PM

First, it should not be bitter. It should be slightly sweet and nutty. There shouldn't be any whole seed, as it is a smooth paste. It has the feel of fresh ground peanut butter (not the standard, supermarket emulsified stuff). You need to stir it up, as the oil separates.
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#6 Varmint

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:45 PM

Stefanyb to the rescue! I was only commenting on the paste, not the dish itself. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:
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#7 tommy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:49 PM

do they have different sesame seeds in asia? :blink:

seriously though, is there that much of a difference? this jar contains mashed sesame seeds and nothing more.

i generally put sambal on this dish when i order it out, so i saw no problem with adding in addition to chili oil for extra spice.

#8 Priscilla

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:54 PM

Tommy if your tahini is bitter I would bet cash money it's rancid, that's all. Tahini is not bitter, all by hitself.

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#9 stefanyb

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:56 PM

Asian sesame paste is made with toasted sesame seeds. Middle Eastern is not. Its a whole different flavor, just like sesame oils.

Leave out the sambal. What you add to a dish after the fact changes it in a different way than if added into the original mix, imho.

#10 tommy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 01:56 PM

ok, i'm thinking i overstated the bitter aspect a bit much. i just tried it again. yes, it's nutty, sweet, almost like peanut butter. i don't know if bitter is the right word. it has an intense finish, that's for sure.

#11 stefanyb

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 02:02 PM

it has an intense finish, that's for sure.

Tomala,
Its the tahini. You need Asian sesame paste.

You've had hummus or babaganoush, thats tahini flavor. What you want is Asian sesame paste! yikes Trust me, this is something I know.

#12 tommy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 02:14 PM

i don't doubt you!! jeesh, you've said the same thing 6 times already! if i didn't believe you the first 5 i'm certainly convinced now. :blink: :raz:

#13 Priscilla

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 02:18 PM

I used to use a very good Ken Hom recipe for this dish, from a book I have since given to a friend so it's not on the shelf to check, but I think began with sesame seeds roasted, toasted, whatever, in a dry pan and ground up with the other whole-type ingredients, and maybe peanut butter as well, and other seasonings similar to Tommy's list.

Using Asian vermicelli noodles makes a diff, to me, (don't know if you did or not, Tommy), and then it's just working out your personal idea of what is balance between the nut paste, the hot, the sweet, the salty, or, the balance in the dish you wish to emulate. Plus texture, don't forget texture.

And, on the rancid front, it is not at all uncommon to open a new jar of tahini, even one purchased from a high-turnover Middle Eastern market, and find rancidity. When you taste a jar that is correctly fresh and mild and nutty, you will never ever doubt your own ability to discern this difference.

Like with coffee, when you get, either by accident or design, really really fresh high-quality beans you know all at once that most of the coffee you've been drinking your whole life has been at least a little rancid.

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#14 Toby

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 02:38 PM

Ken Hom has a recipe for Chiu Chow Noodles in Sesame Sauce in his book, Fragrant Harbor Taste. He uses dried Yi Fu noodles or dried or fresh thin egg noodles and blanches them for 2 minutes, until barely soft, drains them and tosses them with a little sesame oil.

For the sauce, he combines Chinese sesame paste, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, a little sugar, chicken stock and a little salt, brings it up to a simmer, cools it slightly and then tosses with the noodles.

He says to use a smooth peanut butter if you can't find Chinese sesame paste, but not to use tahini.

#15 Priscilla

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 02:46 PM

Toby, thanks for that. Different book than I had--the recipe I followed had chili and garlic and ginger, as I recall. Such a good dish, in many variations.

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#16 tommy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 02:49 PM

if one more person tells me not to use tahini i'm going to cry. :sad: :wacko:

#17 Priscilla

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 02:51 PM

What about not using RANCID tahini is saying that also to be avoided.

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#18 Fat Guy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 02:51 PM

Stefanyb: In my experience tahini is available raw or toasted.

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#19 stefanyb

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 03:12 PM

Stefanyb: In my experience tahini is available raw or toasted.

You're right FG. I googled and found tahini does come in a toasted form.
However, if Tommy is trying to duplicate his restaurant experience, peanut butter and Asian sesame paste is quite likely the base of the sauce for the sesame noodles he has experienced.

#20 Toby

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 03:15 PM

Toby, thanks for that.  Different book than I had--the recipe I followed had chili and garlic and ginger, as I recall.  Such a good dish, in many variations.

Maybe it was the recipe in Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery for Cold Spicy Noodles? Sesame paste (or peanut butter), chili powder, garlic, chili oil, light and dark soy sauce, sesame oil, chili bean sauce, ginger, salt and sugar, blended together, not cooked. Tossed with boiled dried or fresh egg noodles, tossed with sesame oil and chopped scallions.

I really have too many of Ken Hom's cookbooks. The one I gave away was sort of a fusion cookbook with recipe for wontons stuffed with goat cheese.

#21 tommy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 04:10 PM

I really have too many of Ken Hom's cookbooks.

i'll send you my address. :biggrin:

#22 Brad S

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 04:27 PM

I use a little coconut milk in my recipe.
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#23 mamster

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 05:10 PM

tommy, you have to use Asian sesame paste. HTH!
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#24 Stone

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 05:19 PM

In my desperate search for a good sesame sauce recipe, I sent a letter to my favorite restaurant back home begging for its recipe. I assume the lack of response is because they didn't understand my letter. There was a thread on cold noodles a while back. Not much more help than here.

One think I can tell you, Tommy -- don't use tahini. For the love of all that's holy, don't use tahini.

#25 tommy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 05:30 PM

great, another entire thread telling me to not use what i used. :blink:

i always find it interesting to go back to old threads. generally i'll see a name i haven't heard from in a while and i have to wonder where they went. intelligent and helpful posters like jon marcus in that last thread, for example. you still out there dude?

#26 Priscilla

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 05:53 PM

I think there is no shame, no shame at all, well maybe not too too much shame, in using good-quality fresh (toasted sesame) tahini.

Maybe it was the recipe in Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery for Cold Spicy Noodles?  Sesame paste (or peanut butter), chili powder, garlic, chili oil, light and dark soy sauce, sesame oil, chili bean sauce, ginger, salt and sugar, blended together, not cooked.  Tossed with boiled dried or fresh egg noodles, tossed with sesame oil and chopped scallions.

Toby I think this is it, mine was a large-format paperback, companion publication, maybe, to a BBC cooking series?

What a good recipe. Happy to be reminded of it.

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#27 Toby

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 06:31 PM

Priscilla, large format paperback companion to the PBS series. That's it.

#28 Jinmyo

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 06:36 PM

Um, tommy. Sorry to join in on the circling crew of stone throwers. You can use tahini in a pinch. But I find that the quality is really unpredictable. Basically too, it's like the differences between Chinese and Japanese soy sauces. They're not the same. Though you later recanted on bitterness, that's exactly how rancid tahini tastes. Best to use sesame paste with or without peanut butter. I agree with Toby about the E Fu noodles too. They have enough body to not become gluey with the sauce.
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#29 Fat Guy

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 06:39 PM

Though you later recanted on bitterness

Finally the truth comes out that not only are you guilty of tahini abuse, Tommy, but also you are a hypocrite and a perjurer. Now please get the right product before you waste any more of our time.

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#30 Toby

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Posted 25 August 2002 - 06:43 PM

... E Fu noodles too. They have enough body to not become gluey with the sauce.

Anyone have any ideas about how to make E Fu noodles from scratch?





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