Friday, September 9, 2011

Another Stab at the Chilled Noodle

On a sweltering hot summer day in Taiwan, a bowl of chilled noodles was a go-to meal.  When I was living there, I would often go to this shop across the street from my work.  It was basically a garage that sold steamed xiao long bao and cold noodles.  There were stacks and stacks of bamboo steamers for the dumplings and piles of prepared cold noodles in clear plastic containers, sauce on the side.  I would pick up a few xiao long bao, which were given to you in a plastic baggie, for breakfast, and a package of noodles for lunch.  I don't know when they opened, my guess was pretty early, but they were closed by about 10:00am.  A perfect little one stop shop.


There are a few dishes by which I judge certain types of Chinese restaurants and one them is their chilled noodle dish.  I've had a few spectacular ones over the years, one of the most recently memorable was back in Taiwan out of a tiny little shop where we sat on rickety folding metal chairs at a small metal card table.  We asked the locals for their favorite spot, and this was where we were sent.  You chose your sauce combo and for about $2.50, it was a little bit of noodle heaven.  


I am constantly trying to sort that sauce out.  How did they do it?  I have tried many variations, and here's another on this hot day in September.


For the sauce:
1/2 Cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp sesame paste
1 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp garlic scented grapeseed oil (I fried some minced garlic in the oil, then strained oil)
2 tsp Worcestershire 
1/2 tsp Peppercorn chili oil


For each bowl:
Finely julienned cucumbers
Finely minced garlic
Finely sliced scallions
Chopped cliantro
Finely chopped peanuts


Boil noodles, I used Inaka Udon.  Run under cold water to cool.  For each bowl, place noodles on bottom, top with a spoonful or so of sauce, some cucumbers, a pinch of minced garlic, scallions, cilantro and chopped peanuts.  Do to your taste, but I tend to fall a bit on the more the better side of things, but for the garlic.  A little goes a long way.
Add more chili oil to your liking... I do!  Really good, but not sure it measures up to what I had in Taiwan.  Still.. a summer time hot weather must!



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