You can find cucumber sesame noodles on most neighborhood Chinese restaurant menus. But, there aren’t any secrets keeping you from making them right in your own kitchen. It’s probably one of the most versatile pasta dishes you could make too. Just as good served warm, cold or at room temperature, it goes great with a salad for lunch, a tasty and energizing after school snack or add chicken and broccoli for a one-dish dinner (recipe below).
About rice vinegar: There’s rice vinegar and seasoned rice vinegar, which can be misleading and confusing. In an unscientific nutshell, (i.e. the home cooks two cents) rice vinegar begins with rice that’s fermented into vinegar. It’s sweet and mild compared to other types of vinegar. Seasoned rice vinegar is exactly the same with the addition of salt and sugar, kind of like salted vs. unsalted butter. When using ingredients, it’s always better to stick with the basics so you can season according to your own taste.
Tahini vs. PB: Tahini is simply ground up sesame seeds hence the name sesame noodles. In a pinch or if you prefer, peanut butter is a sound alternative. The flavor is more assertive, but just as tasty and it’s probably already in your pantry.
One-dish dinner: Add chicken and broccoli for a wholesome on-dish dinner. In a medium pot, bring a small can of chicken broth to a boil. Add one chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces and a bunch of broccoli florets. Simmer 5-10 minutes until cooked through, drain and add to sesame noodles.
- 1-pound capellini pasta (SHC likes whole wheat)
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ cup tahini (sesame paste) or natural peanut butter
- Dash of hot sauce
- 3 scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 1 cucumber, trimmed
- In a large pot with salted boiling water, cook pasta until almost al dente. While pasta is cooking, in a large bowl (so cooked pasta can be added) whisk soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar, sugar tahini or peanut butter and hot sauce until smooth (If very thick, add 1 tablespoon of water). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain pasta and toss with sauce. Cut cucumber in half, then, slice lengthwise with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife. Add to pasta along with chopped scallions. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.