Spicy Summer Noodles with Fresh Vegetables
From China Moon
1 lb thin Chinese egg noodles
1/4 c. dark soy sauce
1/4 c. unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
1/4 c. strained chile lemon oil (recipe follows)
2 T. sugar
1-1/2 t. salt
Zest of 1 lemon
3 T. toasted sesame seeds
1 English cucumber, seeded and julienned
2 red, orange or yellow bell peppers, julienned (or some of each)
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced crosswise
1/2 lb mung bean sprouts
Chopped basil or cilantro (garnish)
Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling water, separating the strands, until al dente. Drain and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and put into a large bowl. Make the dressing by whisking together the soy sauce, vinegar, chile lemon oil, sugar and salt.
Toss the dressing, lemon zest and sesame seeds with the noodles, using your fingers to coat and separate the strands. Let the noodles sit 10 minutes or refrigerate until ready to use. Just before serving, toss the noodles with the cucumber, pepper, carrot, most of the green onion and bean sprouts. Arrange in bowls and garnish with the remaining green onions and basil or cilantro or both. Serves 6 as a main course.
(For picnicking, reserve the bean sprouts and basil or cilantro garnish and transport them in a Ziploc bag. Pack the noodles into a plastic container or Ziploc bags and toss with the bean sprouts and garnish just before serving.)
Chile lemon oil: in a heavy non-reactive saucepan, combine 1-1/2 c. corn or peanut oil, 2 T. Japanese sesame oil, 1/3 c. thinly sliced scallions, 2 plump stalks of lemongrass, bulb only, lightly mashed and cut into 1-inch pieces, 1/4 c. dried chile flakes, 2 T. minced gingerroot, 1 T. Szechuan peppercorns and 1 large garlic clove, peeled and lightly mashed. Bring to a low boil and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, let stand for 5 minutes and add the zest of 4 lemons. Let cool, then remove the lemongrass and scrape the oil and seasonings into a glass jar.