Monday, June 16, 2014

Cold Spicy Noodles with Shredded Vegetables

I used whole wheat spaghetti. It adds a nice nutty, hearty flavor.

It's heating up and this is one of my favorite cold dishes for summer. Cold noodle salads are very popular in many Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, and Japan. The type of noodles changes as do the seasonings, but they are all packed with flavor and cooling on a hot summer night.

My version is most like the Chinese version with the toasty flavor of Asian sesame oil, and a good dose of chili oil. If you don't have chili oil, you can use Siracha sauce. You can leave out the chili if you don't like spicy and it will still have good flavor.

Cold Spicy Noodles with Shredded Vegetables
(serves 4 as a main dish)

1 pound spaghetti
1 Tablespoon salt (for cooking water) plus 1 teaspoon salt for salad
1 red pepper, cored, seeded and sliced thinly
2 carrots, shredded or grated
4 scallions, thinly sliced for garnish
1 Tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted until golden and cooled
cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 Tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
½ to 1 teaspoon chili oil or Siracha sauce
2 Tablespoons Asian sesame oil
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add salt. Cook spaghetti until just al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water until noodles are cold. Dump onto a clean kitchen towel to dry off - you don't want to add a bunch of water that is sticking to the noodles because it will thin out the dressing.

Combine sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and chili oil in a medium bowl. Whisk until sugar and salt dissolves. Whisk in sesame oil and vegetable oil.

Toss together spaghetti, red pepper, and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk dressing on more time then pour over spaghetti. Toss to coat. Best if served really cold, after sitting in the fridge for a couple of hours. To serve, mound up salad and sprinkle with sesame seeds and cilantro leaves. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days

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