Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  
tommy

cold sesame noodles

Recommended Posts

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?

fd5b3241.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I really have too many of Ken Hom's cookbooks.

i'll send you my address. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      I have just returned home to China from an almost two week trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. To get there I first travelled by train to the provincial capital, Nanning. The local airport only does domestic flights, whereas there are direct flights from Nanning. The flight time required that I stay overnight at the Aviation Hotel in Nanning, from which there is a regular direct bus to the airport.
       
      The trip to Nanning is about an hour and a half and passes through some nice karst scenery.
       
       
      After booking into the hotel, I set off for my favourite Nanning eating destination. Zhongshan Night market is a well known spot and very popular with the locals. I had forgotten that it was a local holiday - the place is always busy, but that night it was exceptionally so.
       

       

       
      It consists of one long street with hundreds of stalls and is basically a seafood market, although there are a few stalls selling alternatives.
       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       
      Filled myself with seafood (and some of that blood sausage above), slept soundly and, next morning, flew to Ho Chi Minh City.
       

       

       
      The rest of my trip can be seen here:
       
       
    • By Lisa Shock
      Years ago, when I visited Tokyo, I ate in a small but fascinating restaurant called 'It's Vegetable' which is now, unfortunately, closed. The chef was from Taiwan, and he made Buddhist vegetarian and vegan dishes that resembled meat. During my visit, several monks wearing robes stopped in to eat dinner. The dishes were pretty amazing. I understood some of them, like using seitan to mimic chicken in stir fry dishes, others used tofu products like yuba, but, others were complex and obviously difficult. One very notable dish we enjoyed was a large 'fish' fillet designed to serve several people. It had a 'skin' made of carefully layered 'scales' cut from nori and attached to the surface. Inside, the white 'flesh' flaked and tasted much like a mild fish. Anyway, apparently Buddhist fake meat meals are very popular in Taiwan and many places, cheap through to fine dining serve them. Yes, if I worked on it for a while, I could probably refine one or two dishes on my own, but, I am wondering if there's a Modernist Cuisine type cookbook for skillfully making these mock meats from scratch? (I have heard that some items are commercially made and available frozen there, much like soy-based burgers are in the US.) I am willing to try almost any offering, even if it's entirely in Chinese. And, I know how to use remailers to purchase regional items from the various local retailers worldwide who do not ship to the US.
    • By liuzhou
      Note: This follows on from the Munching with the Miao topic.
       
      The three-hour journey north from Miao territory ended up taking four, as the driver missed a turning and we had to drive on to the next exit and go back. But our hosts waited for us at the expressway exit and lead us up a winding road to our destination - Buyang 10,000 mu tea plantation (布央万亩茶园 bù yāng wàn mǔ chá yuán) The 'mu' is  a Chinese measurement of area equal to 0.07 of a hectare, but the 10,000 figure is just another Chinese way of saying "very large".
       
      We were in Sanjiang Dong Autonomous County, where 57% of the inhabitants are Dong.
       
      The Dong people (also known as the Kam) are noted for their tea, love of glutinous rice and their carpentry and architecture. And their hospitality. They tend to live at the foot of mountains, unlike the Miao who live in the mid-levels.
       
      By the time we arrived, it was lunch time, but first we had to have a sip of the local tea. This lady did the preparation duty.
       

       

       
      This was what we call black tea, but the Chinese more sensibly call 'red tea'. There is something special about drinking tea when you can see the bush it grew on just outside the window!
       
      Then into lunch:
       

       

      Chicken Soup
       

      The ubiquitous Egg and Tomato
       

      Dried fish with soy beans and chilli peppers. Delicious.
       

      Stir fried lotus root
       

      Daikon Radish
       

      Rice Paddy Fish Deep Fried in Camellia Oil - wonderful with a smoky flavour, but they are not smoked.
       

      Out of Focus Corn and mixed vegetable
       

      Fried Beans
       

      Steamed Pumpkin
       

      Chicken
       

      Beef with Bitter Melon
       

      Glutinous (Sticky) Rice
       

      Oranges
       

      The juiciest pomelo ever. The area is known  for the quality of its pomelos.
       
      After lunch we headed out to explore the tea plantation.
       

       

       

       

       
      Interspersed with the tea plants are these camellia trees, the seeds of which are used to make the Dong people's preferred cooking oil.
       

       
      As we climbed the terraces we could hear singing and then came across this group of women. They are the tea pickers. It isn't tea picking time, but they came out in their traditional costumes to welcome us with their call and response music. They do often sing when picking. They were clearly enjoying themselves.
       

       
      And here they are:
       
       
      After our serenade we headed off again, this time to the east and the most memorable meal of the trip. Coming soon.
       
       
    • By liuzhou
      Today is 元宵 yuán xiāo, the Lantern Festival marking the 15th day of the first lunar month and the last day of the Spring Festival (春节 chūn jié) which begins with the Chinese New Year on the 1st of the lunar month.
       
      Today is the day for eating 汤圆 tāng yuán, sweet glutinous rice balls.
       
      I was invited to take part in a celebration ceremony this morning in what is considered to be the city's most beautiful park. I half agree. It lies in the south of the city, surrounded by karst hill formations, but for me, the park itself is over-manicured. I like a bit of wild. That said, there are said to be around 700 species of wildlife, but most of that is on the inaccessible hills. There are pony rides for the kids and some of the locals are a bit on the wild side.
       

      Park Entrance
       

      Karst Hill
       
      Although the park has beautiful flower displays and great trees, what I love most is the bamboo. Such a beautiful plant and so useful.
       

       
      They had also hung the traditional red lanterns on some of the trees.
       


      The main reason for us to be there was to be entertained by, at first, these three young men who bizarrely welcomed us with  a rendition of Auld Lang Syne played on their bamboo wind instruments - I forget what they are called. They are wearing the traditional dress of the local Zhuang ethnic minority.
       

       
      Then some local school kids sang for us and did a short play in English. Clap, clap, clap.
       
      Then on to the main event. We were asked to form groups around one of four tables looking like this.
       

       
      Appetising, huh? What we have here at top is a dough made from glutinous rice flour. Then below black sesame paste and ground peanut paste. We are about to learn to make Tangyuan, glutinous rice balls. Basically you take a lump of dough, roll it into a ball, then flatten it, then form a cup shape. add some of each or either of the two pastes and reform the ball to enclose the filling. Simple! Maybe not.
       

       
      Some of us were more successful than others
       

       
      These are supposed to be white, but you can see the filling - not good; its like having egg showing all over the outside of your scotch eggs.
       
      Modesty Shame prevents me telling you which were mine.
       

       
      At least one person seemed to think bigger is better! No! They are meant to be about an inch in diameter. Sometimes size does matter!
       
      Finally the balls we had made were taken away to be boiled in the park's on-site restaurant. What we were served were identically sized balls with no filling showing. They are served in this sweet ginger soup. The local pigs probably had ours for lunch.
       
       

       


      The orange-ish and purplish looking ones are made in the same way, but using red and black glutinous rice instead.
       
      Fun was had, which was the whole point.
       
    • By liuzhou
      Today is 小年 (xiǎo nián) which literally means 'little [new] year', but is something more. It takes place approximately a week before Chinese New Year (February 16th this time round - Year of the Dog) and is the festival for the Kitchen God
       
      In traditional animist Chinese thought, there is a god for everything and the kitchen god is responsible for all aspects of, you guessed, the kitchen. Once a year (today), the kitchen god pops back  to report to the god of heaven on the happenings of the last 12 months. Therefore we have to placate him so he makes a good report.  My neighbours are busy preparing offerings of sticky rice and assorted sugary confections for the god, so that when he eats them, his teeth and lips will stick together and he will be unable to report any bad behaviour. An alternative theory suggest the sugary stuff will sweeten his words. Then we'll be OK for another year!
       
      This is  the fellow


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×