Spicy Sesame Noodles for Lunch


I thought sesame noodles would be a great lunch for my friend and her daughter.

Ever since they cat-sat for us last summer, the young lady has been eager for us to leave town again so she could play with the kitties. Spring break was a good time to invite them for a visit. Gracie, Mikey, and Sula were happy to wake up for the special attention, petting, and playing with strings.

When Little Tess was little, much younger than my friend’s daughter, she often visited the next-door neighbor’s three children, and was frequently invited to stay for lunch or dinner. One day, the neighbor made macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. As she filled the plates, she asked Little Tess if the serving was right. “Oh, B. it is just right. My mom doesn’t have any children so she doesn’t know what kids like!” said my daughter.

So, Tess may have scared her young guest: I was careful to decrease the amount of toban jiang in the sauce. Really, the sauce was not any spicier than barbeque potato chips or sausage on pizza! To make matters worse, I mixed the sauce with the noodles to make serving simpler. That was the first evidence that I don’t know what kids like.

The second mistake was to answer her question about what the pink stuff was. I said it’s a sort of Japanese fish sausage. You can imagine how well that went over. I could have said it is kamaboko, like crab stix. Or maybe that wouldn’t have helped? At any rate she didn’t taste it.

I set the table with chopsticks (and the cute kitty chopstick rests), and I did provide forks. I’ve been using chopsticks since I was a little kit (my mother serving LaChoy Chop Suey managed to find chopsticks in the UP!). But I do at least understand that many folks find them intimidating. I think (???) that didn’t go over so badly… sort of a fun little lesson?

Well, next time they visit, I’ll be sure to ask my friend what would be good for lunch. It will be an opportunity to redeem my failure as a hostess.

Chilled Chukasoba with Spicy Sesame Sauce
Hiyashi Chukasoba Mushidori to Gomadare

very much adapted from: The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
page 348
serves 3

Toppings – The Protein:

  • ½ pink and white kamaboko
  • ½ square hanpen
  • 9 large shrimp

Cut the kamaboko into 6 to 9 slices.
Cut the hanpen into 8 small triangles. Poach in plain water until puffy.
Poach the shrimp, remove shells, tails, and sand veins.
Arrange attractively on a serving plate—some parsley sets off the pink, white and orange colors nicely. Cover and chill.

Toppings – Vegetables:

  • 2 Tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 3 mini sweet red peppers
  • ½ cup frozen green beans
  • ½ cup simmered shiitake

Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan. Put them into a small serving dish.
Stir-fry the sliced red pepper in a little sesame oil.
Blanch the green beans, stir-fry, and sprinkle with a teaspoon or rice vinegar.
Thaw the simmered mushrooms and place in a small serving dish. (click the picture of the shiitake for a recipe: they freeze well and are great to add to all kinds of noodle dishes and stir-fries.)

Sauce: (Gomadare)

  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons toban jiang (chile-bean sauce)
    Note: I only added ½ teaspoon of the chili bean paste.

In a skillet, heat the sesame oil then add the toban jiang. Cook until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer to a mini-food processor. (or you can mix by hand with a bowl and whisk)

  • ¼ cup sesame paste, preferably Japanese (be generous)
  • ¼ cup hot brewed plain black tea
  • 2 Tablespoons shoyu (soy sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon komezu (rice vinegar)
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped scallion, white part only
    (use the green part to garnish)

Add the sesame paste to the food-processor, and blend until smooth. Add the hot tea, 1 Tablespoon at a time, stirring or blending until smooth. Add the soy sauce, sugar, rice wine vinegar and green onions and mix until smooth. Reserve.

Noodles:

  • 2 bundles somen noodles
  • a large pot of boiling water
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil

Cook the noodles according to package directions. Test for doneness by removing one noodle and biting it. Drain in a colander, and rinse the noodles under cold running water. Drain well again. Toss with sesame oil. Chill.
To Serve:
If the noodles have been in the fridge, you may need to rinse and drain them again so they are not stuck together. Toss with the sauce. (or maybe better not). Arrange the sesame seeds, vegetables, and seafood on a tray. Provide bowls and eating utensils. Allow guests to serve themselves.



Click on the above pictures to view my previous posts about Japanese sesame noodles.

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9 thoughts on “Spicy Sesame Noodles for Lunch

  1. Haha hilarious! And tasty too, as ever ;) So you’re a mom? Me not yet, but I can get all the little ones to eat, even the most difficult ones are sent to my place every once in a while, if their mom’s can’t make them eat anymore ;)

    One little girl had this period she didn’t want to eat anything but bread & cheese. Thx to soup with letterpasta I got her addicted to soups…she started of with the lettersoup from a baggy, playfully writing her name & being “obliged” to eat a spoon after every letter, she started coming up with other names to form too, then the mom added the letterpasta to other kinds of soup and now she even eats soup without letterpasta! Another cute little girl eats anything, but only with tomatosauce over it… Another girl didn’t eat anything untill we made a pizza together and she had to cut everything & could choose her own ingredients & there had to be 3 vegetables. it works. Just make it a game.

    I’d love the fish thingies hmmm and I would imagine a little girl to like such a pink thing too (say it’s like a fish-stick, but not fried, don’t they all like fishsticks?) But brown noodles with brown sauce, yeah I can imagine they don’t like it..

    • We have one daughter—she is all grown up. I’d always cook “interesting” food, and the neighbor kids ate over at our house. They were used to American and Italian foods but were interested in my stir-fries and other international dishes even including sesame noodles.

      But I’d forgotten about how sensitive kids can be to spicy if they haven’t been exposed to it!

      This was the first time I met my friend’s daughter, a shy young teen. Charming, but not used to spicy food. She liked the Japanese simmered mushrooms, which I thought amusing, because they look sort of brown and slimy. They are sort of sweet/salty/sour so maybe that appealed?

      She would have liked the fish cakes, but I should have keep my mouth shut about “fish sausage” before she tried them.

      Ah, well, maybe she’ll come again to play with the kitties. Her parents are thinking about getting a cat for her, but it hasn’t happened yet…

      • I grew up with the spicy spices and am now therefor addicted now.. pfff reminds me; if I’m going on a trip for Easter (woohoo!) I’ll need a catsitter again… We’re planning to do 3 countries in 10 days so would be wise leaving the cat home this time.

        • Lucky you: we’ve been insulating the attic, and after that there is a whole list of duties including getting the vegetable garden fixed up. Have a good time traveling. I’m thinking my friend’s daughter would love to cat-sit for you–I’ll see what her mum says about a trip to Amsterdam!

          • Haha :) Young daughters shouldn’t be sent to the centre of Amsterdam. No kidding, it’s completely safe here.
            Doesn’t sound bad at all, Mr Tess seems nice ;) and I’d loooooove to have a garden too.

  2. It has a sort of logic: unless she was looking in a mirror, she didn’t see any children around! LOL
    (she’ll kill me if she ever reads this post)

  3. Pingback: Sweet Miso Soup with Udon « Tess's Japanese Kitchen

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