We are three sisters united in our search for the divine - in food, libation, literature, art, and nature. This blog will capture the true, sometimes decadent, at times humorous, and every so often transcendent adventures of the Salvation Sisters.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Dragon Noodles

by Michelle

   If you are interested in ethnic cuisines this will be a fun recipe for you to make because the building blocks will take you on an adventure in the kitchen. The key components of the hot, sweet, salty and sour sauce - the infused oils, pickled ginger and ginger syrup - can all be made weeks in advance of the final preparation and will easily last in the refrigerator for months. 
   For added convenience, the dressing for the noodles is best when made a day or two in advance to allow all the flavors to meld. Finally, the sauced noodles can be made the night before or morning of the party to fully absorb the dressing before adding the final garnishes.
   The noodles are an enticing part of an Asian inspired menu or buffet and will complement everything on your plate from pickled shrimp to pork tenderloin to egg rolls. Pile the noodles high in a large shallow bowl or beveled platter alongside bowls of unsalted roasted peanuts and cilantro leaves.
   Leftover noodles are terrific as part of a Thai Salad with barbecued beef or rotisserie chicken with avocado, mango, fresh greens and herbs tossed in a lime and chile vinaigrette, similar to the delicious "plate of inspiration" served at Houston's Restaurant in Phoenix. 
Double-click image to enlarge.
   One year, just after the onset of crab season, Linda and I served our friends the Dragon Noodles as part of an Asian inspired holiday Seafood Fest with Shrimp Cocktails and Baked Spicy Crab Cakes paired with Sweet Chili and Special Mustard Dipping Sauces and marinated cucumbers. Recalling that happy memory, I think it just might be time to make the meal again.
   You can also whip up batches of the sauce for holiday and hostess gifts, packaged in French Working glasses with hand printed labels. With a ribbon, attach printed instructions on how to garnish and serve. We think you and yours will like the noodles, too. Looking forward to your feedback.

Dragon Noodle Sauce is on the left with freshly dressed noodles in the cooking pan.

Dragon Noodles

   For a feast, consider serving the noodles with Salt and Pepper Shrimp or Crab Cakes with Special Mustard Sauce, Oven-Baked Egg Rolls and Quick Cucumber PicklesMy post on Celebrating Chinese New Year explains (in quite some detail proving once again that I am my father's daughter) the homemade and store bought Asian pantry items in the ingredients list. For a fun twist, serve Mai Tais or Pineapple Martinis with the noodles.
   I like to add a fair amount of lemon zest to the noodles as a garnish. Leading up to the event, every time I use a lemon, I zest it first before juicing. Store the peel in a fold of waxed paper and then wrap in aluminum foil for extra protection. The zest can be used directly from the freezer.
   The sauce below makes enough to cover four pounds of noodles. That's a really big party. Of course, you can divide the recipe in half or go ahead and make the full amount with the proactive plan of storing the extra sauce in the refrigerator for future snappy weeknight meals with leftovers at the ready for packable lunches in the following days. Beats a soggy sandwich, that's for sure!

1 cup Ma-La Oil
1 cup Ginger Syrup
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsps black soy sauce
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsps unseasoned rice vinegar, preferably Marukan or Mitsukan brands
1/2 cup juice from Pickled Ginger
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup Spicy Citrus Chili Oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp "goop" from Spicy Citrus Chili Oil
1 Tbsp Thai Kitchen Roasted Chili Sauce
2 teaspoons sea salt

Left: Spicy Citrus Chili Oil, and Right: Ma-La Oil
2 pounds spaghetti
grated zest of 2 scrubbed lemons or more, as needed
3/4 cup thinly sliced green and white scallion rings
1/4 cup black sesame seeds, toasted
grated red radish, for garnish
green and white scallion rings, for garnish
toasted black sesame seeds, for garnish

On the side:
roasted salted peanuts
cilantro leaves

1. Combine all the sauce ingredients, whisking vigorously to blend. Set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use if making a day or two in advance.
2. Cook the noodles to "al dente" in salted, boiling water, according to package directions. Drain the noodles, giving the colander several good shakes. Transfer to large bowl and stir in to the noodles about 2 cups of the sauce. Let sit for 10 minutes so the noodles can absorb the liquid.
3. Taste the noodles. If they have absorbed the sauce and seem dry, add a bit more dressing to moisten and toss again. Add the lemon zest and black sesame seeds. Toss well to mix. Taste and adjust with more dressing and/or lemon zest if needed. The taste should be bright and sparkly. At this point, the noodles may be sealed and refrigerated for up to a day. (If you are working in advance, you might like to wait until serving to add the rest of the garnishes so the vegetables are fresh and crunchy.) For best flavor, bring to room temperature or serve only slightly chilled.
4. To serve, mound the noodles in a bowl, stir in grated carrot and radishes. Decorate the top with additional black sesame seeds and sliced scallions. Tuck in a pronged pasta spoon for easier lifting of helpings. Let guests add peanuts and cilantro to individual servings. 

1 comment:

  1. Okay, here's the deal. Come down and visit us, bring oils and bring a stainless steel spaghetti thingie. Simple. You get a free (well, almost) vacation on the beach and I get stuff I can't find here. '-) This should be one of the most popular blogs in the 'net!


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