Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Szechuan buckwheat noodles

The temperature and the dew point are still both brutally high, so I'm eating mainly cold meals these days. There’s a lot of flavor and crunch in these spicy Szechuan noodles. The recipe initially came from The Barefoot Contessa, but I have altered it so much I feel I can call it my own. For this batch, I used julienned pea pods, carrots, yellow peppers (normally I’d use red peppers too, but I was out of them), and sliced scallions. Sometimes I add grated cabbage too, and I always add cilantro and a sprinkle of sesame seeds at the very end.

Szechuan Dressing
4 minced cloves of garlic
1/3 cup grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp canola oil infused with Szechuan pepper, then strained
1 tsp Sriracha pepper chili paste, or however hot you like it
2 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
the zest and juice of half a lime
1/4 cup water or chicken broth, if you like,
to make it more viscous
(this makes way more dressing than you will need
to serve 2, but will last in your fridge for weeks)

Approx 4 oz of buckwheat soba noodles (a generous serving for 2 people) boiled for 3-4 minutes, then rinsed to remove gummy starchiness. Drain noodles well.

1/2 red bell pepper, julienned
1/2 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 carrot, julienned, grated, or thinly sliced
8-10 pea pods, julienned or whole
4 scallions, julienned or sliced diagonally
Sprigs of cilantro
1 tsp sesame seeds or crushed peanuts

You can play with all the quantities of noodles, dressing and veggies, and vary the veggie choices to your liking. Consider adding cabbage, squash, broccoli, broccoli slaw, etc.

Mix all the prepped dressing ingredients and place in a jar with a lid.

Place your cooked soba noodles in a large bowl and toss with enough dressing to coat, about 1/3 of a cup is good for 4 oz of noodles. Then add your fave veggies. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro at the very end and serve.

NOTE: you can mise en place all you vegetables in advance, but don't mix with noodles until close to serving time to keep them crunchy.

all photos, Diane Carnevale

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