This is one of my all-time favorite recipes, which I have been making every summer for 35 years. It first blessed me, when I taught it to my students in Billings, Montana, at one of my plentiful cooking classes. I don’t exactly remember where I got it, but believe it came in a newspaper clipping sent by my mother, for she was good at supplying me with quaint receipts from the media, during my early catering/teaching career. Many choice dishes were thus provided, which still grace my table today. This specific one highly pleases the palate, though it deviates slightly from its authentic roots.
There are both Korean and Chinese spicy cold noodles; both nationalities use sesame and chili oils, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and sugar in their mixes. The Korean variation includes gochujang, a spicy pepper paste. The Chinese sauce divers in that it calls for sesame paste and peanut butter, giving it an emulsified effect; it is fiery, tart, and slightly sweet.
My particular 1980’s account is from China, though it is Americanized with red wine vinegar instead of rice vinegar, which wasn’t readily available here in the 80s; this version doesn’t have the ever-present peanut butter and chili oil, but is still spicy hot with an abundance of garlic. It is a memorable burst of flavors.
China is a vast land of varying cuisines. Just before I left Billings, one of my students, a travel agent, was engaging me to teach these regional culinary truths on her tour of a number of China’s leading provinces. My sudden move to Portland, Oregon, in February of 1986, interrupted those plans to go abroad; nevertheless that early research still rests with me. One of the provinces which I was studying was Szechuan, or Sichuan, which is the home of this post’s recipe.
Noodles are common throughout this vast country; among the many variations are Chongquing hot noodles, Wuhan hot and dry noodles, Henan stewed noodles, and Beijing style Zhajiang noodles. The latter dish reaches far beyond the Hebei Province; it is made with pork gravy, which varies greatly from southern to northern China.
The cuisine of Szechuan, alternately known as Chuan or Sichuan, not only produces these spicy cold noodles, but also the famous dandanmian, or dandan noodles; they too have a spicy sauce, but contain preserved vegetables. Both these dishes are street foods in Sichuan, for they are served ubiquitously, even in small food stands on the street.
I used poetic license, in that I chose pasta that is a complete protein and a natural, low glycemic food; thus, these delicious noodles are diabetic friendly. This brand “Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Pasta” contains the six grains and legumes, which are mentioned in this Old Testament scripture. As published on their box, these half-dozen organic foods are germinated in pure filtered water; therefore, beneficial enzymes are activated, causing sprouting and releasing powerful nutrients, which otherwise would lay dormant. Diabetics who can’t tolerate carbohydrates are reporting good luck with this pasta in my rich repast.
Join me on a trip to China with this select, health-promoting receipt!
Spicy Cold Noodles Yields: 4-5 servings. Total prep time: 30 minutes, plus several hours for chilling. Note: may omit the chicken for a vegan recipe.
1 1b chicken, or 5 tenderloins, thawed (All natural is best; available reasonably at Trader Joe’s.)
10 oz dry pasta (Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Grain Fettuccine is a complete protein pasta, which is low glycemic, diabetic friendly, and high in fiber; may choose to use a spaghetti pasta.)
1 1/3 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp garlic, chopped
1/4 c sesame paste, or tahini (Trader’s brand makes a good organic one.)
3 tbsp hot brewed tea
3 tbsp soy sauce (Organic tamari is best for your body.)
3 tbsp red wine vinegar (May also use rice vinegar.)
2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste (Himalayan, pink, or Real Salt is critical for optimum health; an inexpensive fine grind Himalayan salt is available at Costco.)
- Thaw chicken in a bowl of warm water. Fill a stock pot with 4 quarts of water; bring to a boil over med/high heat.
- Meanwhile peel garlic cloves; cut cloves in halves or thirds; measure 2 tablespoons worth of pieces. (This amount gives a lot of
bite, may use more or less to taste.) Place garlic in a food processor and press the pulse button repeatedly, to form a med/coarse grind; stop and scrape down sides once; set aside. (May also chop with a sharp knife, if you don’t have a processor.)
- Place tenderloins in boiling water; turn down heat to medium; do not add salt. Cook for about 4 minutes, or until just faintly pink in center; do not overcook. Remove from water when done and place on a plate in refrigerator. SAVE BROTH.
- Brew tea. Place sesame butter in a large bowl, add hot tea, stir until emulsified, or smooth and creamy (see photo). Blend in garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar; set aside. (If chicken is finished cooking while you are preparing sauce, proceed to step 5, and then come back to sauce.)
- Bring broth-to which you have added 1 tsp of sesame oil-to a rapid boil over med/high heat in the stock pot. Add pasta and turn down heat to medium (do not add salt, as this toughens the noodles). Stirring occasionally, cook for approximately 6-7 minutes, or until al dente-slightly chewy. Drain pasta and immediately submerge in cold water to stop cooking process, set aside.
- Cut chicken in bite-size pieces, add to sauce, and season with salt. Toss together with pasta.
- Serve chilled. Yum!