October 09, 2012

Cold Chinese noodles | Early memory #2

Katrina's noodles made with whole wheat spaghetti
It was a beautiful day when my parents and I moved into our brand new row house in Philadelphia. The friendly neighbors who were already living on the block were out on the lawn and we were all getting acquainted. I was told the next door neighbors had a baby but she was napping, and I was very anxious to meet her. I was, after all, a baby, and this was exciting news. I begged them to bring her out. "When can she come out? Can she come out to play? Will she come out soon?" I was beside myself. I wanted the neighbors to like me, and I started thinking that if they thought I was "cute," they might bring the elusive baby out to play with me. I think they told me the baby was only two months old and couldn't play, but I didn't get it. She was a baby, I was a baby, why not? I must have gotten carried away in my cuteness and enthusiasm, because my mother yelled at me, and I remember being very sad and upset. I can still remember how bad I felt after being so happy. I was 15-months old.

Today's recipe for cold Chinese noodles always makes me happy. It's so easy to make and tastes so good. You can make it ahead for a party, or make it at the last minute because it's so quick to throw together. The recipe came to us from our friend Katrina, who is from China, and she was pretty vague about quantities. I've written the recipe to reflect the way I make the noodles as I tried to replicate the taste of Katrina's version, but feel free to make adjustments to suit your preferences.

I used Ancient Harvest quinoa noodles which are made with corn flour and quinoa and are gluten-free. You could also use spaghetti noodles or buckwheat soba.

The nori pieces are much too big!
Katrina's noodles
  • 8 ounces spaghetti (I used Ancient Harvest quinoa pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar (or brown rice vinegar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili sauce (sambal oelek)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, cut fine (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced very fine
  • few grinds black pepper
  • 1 sheet seasoned or plain toasted nori, cut with scissors into small rectangles
  • chopped cilantro, optional
  1. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions al dente. When cooked, drain and rinse under cold running water to cool quickly. Drain noodles again and place in a bowl.
  2. Add the oil and toss to coat the noodles.
  3. Add vinegar, tamari, chili, garlic, ginger, sugar and pepper, and mix well.
  4. Just before serving, add the nori. Mix some in and transfer the noodles to a serving bowl. Arrange the remaining nori over the top of the noodles.
  5. Optional: Sprinkle with chopped cilantro.
Makes two average, or three to four very small servings.

Topped with crushed peanuts.

32 comments:

  1. Ooh yum! My husband is crazy for noodles, so I'm always on the lookout for new noodle recipes to try.

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    1. We really like this recipe, and have made it often.

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  2. Bless your memory! I can't remember much of anything before I was 4 or so.

    These noodles do look and sound tasty; I can imagine being very happy sitting down to a plate of those.

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    1. My earliest memory was from 12-months-old, but don't ask me what I did last week!

      I wouldn't mind sitting down to a plate of the noodles, myself, but tonight I've got to try a pizza recipe I saw on Richa's blog, topped with a coconut milk cheese from sweet roots.

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    2. Oh, I just saw that coconut milk cheese today! It looks so good. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it!

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  3. That is amazing that you remember something from 15 months! I remember a few things from being two, and I remember the first time I made it out of my crib alone, but nothing as early as yours.

    xo
    kittee

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    Replies
    1. Yesterday's memory is from 12-months-old. I don't remember being two!

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  4. I love it when something so simple to put together has a massive tastiness pay off!

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    Replies
    1. Katrina is an amazing cook, and everything she makes tastes great. I love to eat at her house.

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  5. I love a cold noodle recipe that doesn't involve peanut sauce. But, I'm hell bent on using up what's in my pantry this MoFo and I'm all out of pasta!

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    Replies
    1. After you've used everything up, put pasta on your shopping list and make the noodles!

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  6. This looks like something Mike & I would like, without the optional cilantro (we're not fans of the stuff). Such an easy recipe, too. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I like cilantro but sometimes I use parsley instead. You don't really need either in this recipe if you use nori.

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  7. Aww, poor baby Andrea! I'll let you play with Curly if it makes you feel better - even if he's napping! :)

    What a lovely and simple dish! I love a not-too-sauced-up bowl of spaghetti.

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    1. Can Curly come out? I want to play right this minute.

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  8. Wow, another memory from when you were still so small! My mom always says that anything that you remember, anything that stands out against all of the other moments of your life that you've forgotten, must be something that's defined you. It's interesting to think about why we remember the particular things that we do and what it was that made it remarkable on that day. I've thought many times about writing down every memory that I have from earliest to latest. It's also interesting that sometimes other people will have memories of you that you've completely forgotten. For whatever reason, for them it really stood out while for you, it's totally melted away.

    The noodles sound so cozy and filling! It's supposed to get into the 20's tonight. I could use a warm bowl of noodles!! (And maybe a blanket...)

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    1. Interesting idea. One of the upcoming topics for a women's group I meet with is about defining moments in our lives. I haven't shared the one I'm going to talk about here, but it was a lot more dramatic than the ones I've mentioned. It's only recently that I realized the true meaning of the memory.

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  9. You know, I'm reading a book about child psychology now (okay - a comic memoir about a child and her memories interspersed with text from psychiatric books) and it's really interesting to hear about yr memories and yr definite reactions to interior monologues. I wonder how they've shaped the intelligent and compassionate person you seem to be today!
    As for the meal, it sounds fantastic. I would never have mixed nori into pasta but it sounds like it works. After the arsenic/rice post, it's a good reminder to hear about quinoa pasta.

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    1. Maybe I should read that book!

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  10. That looks delicious.... only now I'm going to want them warm. I'm cold!

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    1. Warm is OK. Maybe room temperature. :)

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  11. It's lovely that you can remember so far back, even if this was a bit of a sad memory in the end. As children we are just so enthusiastic, parents forget they were like that too

    This recipe looks great :)

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    1. I don't think we realize how much children comprehend beyond their ability to communicate.

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  12. I am still traumatized by one of my earliest memories of when I was a little baby and this kid next door (who cold n't be more than two) kept ringing my parent's door bell and waking me from my nap, asking, "can the baby play? then this kid sneaked in and force fed me cold noodles. Wait, do you think..maybe, too much of a coincidence. Naaah. porbably not. Door bells scare me, but not that delicous cold noodle dish.

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    1. The baby's name was Marilyn.

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    2. Phew, what a relief.

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  13. Thanks Adrea for posting this! I should follow your recipe from now on! :-)
    I also love your stories of early memories. It's amazing you remember things when you were just a baby. I wish I could too.

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  14. Katrina, This is you, right? You don't need recipes!

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  15. Thanks for sharing this easy delicious dish! Did feel it needed a little more tamari/salt. Might be because I wasn't able to evenly coat the noodles.

    Didn't have chili paste so I used a blender to make a paste of serrano peppers, ginger, garlic, and carrot. Next time I'll add more garlic and pre-combine the dressing/paste ingredients together to more evenly coat the noodles. Also added black sesame seeds and served with a side of steamed kale topped with a little toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, & salt.

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    1. I tend to under-salt recipes because I've reduced my salt usage and can now taste minute amounts in my food. Also, chili paste and seasoned nori both contain salt so if you used something different you'd need to adjust.

      I think recipes are meant to be tinkered with, and I'm glad you you were able to make this one to suit your tastes! Thanks for trying it and leaving a comment.

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    2. Yes, I love salt too much and have grown accustomed to large quantities. I only added a little extra tamari as part of my quest to retrain my tastebuds as you seem to have done. It makes me feel a little better that I used plain nori and no chili paste, but I have a long way to go!

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