Weekly Recipes: Cold Spicy Asian Noodles and Dan Dan-style Noodles

This first recipe is one I’ve been making for years now, having found it on Pinterest from this blog, and tweaking it over the years. Many years ago, when our air conditioner was broken during the 90 degree heat and humidity of July, I started cooking and serving only cold dinners, which is when I first served this recipe. It became an easy, go-to favorite. It comes along on beach picnics and camping trips or packs nicely in a work lunch. It’s also a crowd-pleaser at potlucks. The best part? It comes together in 10 minutes and then sets all happily soaking in the sauce until serving time. It’s cool and refreshing on a hot summer day.

Cold Spicy Asian Noodles:
Yield: 6 servings

1/2 pound pasta of choice (linguini, spaghetti, or rice noodles)
1/2 t crushed red pepper
1/2 t ground ginger (or if you happen to have fresh, use about 1 T)
1/2 C sesame oil
6 T honey
6 T soy sauce
1/2 C chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 C chopped green onion
2-3 T black sesame seeds

Other optional mix-ins I’ve used over the years:
snow peas or snap peas
matchstick cut carrots
cabbage–red and/or green

Place a pot of salted water on to boil. In a small skillet heat the sesame oil for a few minutes to get it hot, then add the crushed red pepper and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute to get the pepper flavor infused into the oil. Add the ginger and let it cook just a few seconds. Remove it from the heat and strain it over a medium mixing bowl or measuring 2 cup measuring cup, so that only the pepper/ginger-infused oil, but not the flakes, goes into the bowl/cup. Add the soy sauce and honey and stir with a whisk until well combined. Meanwhile, boil your pasta of choice (I almost always use a spaghetti or linguini noodle) for 6 minutes, until al dente. Drain with a colander and pour into a storage container large enough to hold the noodles, the toppings of your choosing, and to toss everything around in the sauce in. Pour the sauce over the hot noodles and toss them–the noodles will start to soak-up the sauce. Add the cilantro, green onions, and sesame seeds, and any other toppings of your choosing, and toss until well combined. Let set in the fridge several hours–until cold–before serving.

Now, you might notice that there is only one photo for this post, and that the photo above does seem to contain some sort of meat topping. The other week I set about making lettuce wraps, and while this filling (recipe below) did indeed taste yummy wrapped in the tender outer leaves of our young romaine plants, it tasted even better when tossed with the spicy cold noodles I’d planned to serve on the side. The meat calms the heat down a little on the noodles and adds a really savory element, the two flavors combining really nicely on your palette. The end result isn’t really a traditional Dan Dan, but does have a similar look, taste, and feel. Bonus? If you still want to serve them separately, you can. Yay flexibility!

We ate this meal outside on our back patio, served family style, and it was lovely, relaxing, and delicious.

Dan Dan-style Noodles/Asian Lettuce Wrap Filling
Yield: 6 servings

1 recipe of Spicy Asian Noodles from above
1 pound ground turkey
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
1/2 t ground or 1 T peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 T olive oil
2 T hoisin sauce
1/4 C peanut butter
2 T soy sauce
2 t siracha
2 T rice vinegar
2 t sesame oil
2 T honey
sea salt and black pepper

In a wide bottom skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat and season with sea salt and black pepper, stirring and cooking to break the meat up for about 5 minutes, or until brown. Add the carrots, garlic, and ginger to the pan and cook another 1 minutes. Add all of the sauce ingredients and stir around, cooking another 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside until ready to serve. You can place this on top of the Cold Asian Noodles (recipe above), or fold into tender lettuce leaves to serve as a lettuce wrap. If you do serve it as a lettuce wrap, I recommend making-up a quick sauce.

Lettuce Wrap Dipping Sauce
Yield: 6 servings

2 T olive oil
1/4 t crushed red pepper
3 T soy sauce
1 T rice vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T white sugar
1/3 C water

Heat the oil until hot, then add the crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Strain out the red pepper and return the chile oil to the pan. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds, then add everything else and remove from the heat. Set aside until ready to use (or refrigerate if you’re making this ahead of time).

Published by kelinmchull

Wife, mother, teacher, dreamer/doer, adventurer, wannabe farmer, writer, and all around curious gal.

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