F&W Best New Chef 2017 Peter Cho, of Han Oak in Portland, Oregon, is a master at riffing on Asian classics. He says that he created this dish to curb his wife’s cravings for one of their favorite places in New York City, Xi’an Famous Foods. “When we lived in New York, we went there pretty regularly, and we always ate the tiger vegetable salad, warm spicy tofu and the pork zha jjang hand-pulled noodles,” he says. “This is my version of a combination of those dishes.”
Slideshow:More Noodle Salad Recipes
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
8 ounces soba noodles
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice plus 1 teaspoon finely grated zest
1 tablespoon kombu tsuyu (see Note)
1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon gochugaru or crushed red pepper
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1 small English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on the bias
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves and thin stems
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 small red chile—halved lengthwise, seeded and thinly sliced
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the sesame seeds on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast until browned, tossing once, about 6 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a spice grinder and let cool completely. Process until finely ground.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the soba noodles until just tender. Drain and cool under cold running water. Transfer the noodles to a bowl of ice water to chill. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the toasted sesame seeds with the vinegar, lime juice, lime zest, kombu tsuyu, tamarind, brown sugar, garlic and gochugaru. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the sesame oil until incorporated. Season with salt. Add the cold noodles along with the cucumber, celery, cilantro, scallions and chile. Season with salt and toss. Transfer to bowls; serve.
Kombu tsuyu is a Japanese condiment made from dashi soup stock, soy sauce, mirin and sugar. It’s available at Japanese markets and on amazon.com.
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