June 19, 2011

Sesame Noodles with Asparagus (or Other Vegetables in Season)

This is another simple and delicious recipe from Deborah Madison, in her book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. It is good at room temperature and easy to double for a crowd, so it's a perfect pot luck dish. I cook this all spring and summer long, when I prefer light meals. At this time of year I make it with asparagus, later I use broccoli or snap peas or green beans.

Here is the recipe as given by Madison, but it is very flexible, as I note.

The Marinade
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 Tbs dark sesame oil (note: I only keep the dark, toasted sesame oil in the house, so I use about 1/4 cup of it)
7 Tbs soy sauce
3 Tbs Chinese black or balsamic vinegar
3 1/2 Tbs dark brown sugar
2 teas salt (I leave out the salt, finding the soy sauce makes it salty enough)
2 teas chili oil (I use hot sesame oil)
1 Tbs minced ginger
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro (I only use cilantro when it's growing in the garden; the recipe is fine without it.)

The Noodles and Asparagus
2 lbs asparagus
1 14 oz package thin Chinese egg noodles (I usually like to use Udon, or Soba noodles, but any noodles will do.)
10 scallions, including firm greens, thinly sliced (generally I put in chives, since I have them growing in the garden)
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted until lightly browned (I never bother with the sesame seeds, but perhaps I should.)

  1. Mix the marinade ingredients, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Steam the asparagus till tender, place under cool water to chill, then slice as you prefer, either thinly, or as I like them, about an inch long.
  3. Cook the noodles and toss with the marinade, most of the scallions, sesame seeds and asparagus; use the remainder to garnish the noodles when placed in a bowl or platter.


  1. I just finished dinner and desert (several actually) and after seeing this post, I am hungry.

  2. looks so good...Thank You Altoon.

  3. Looks wonderful. As a side comment--I love the heat, but am reminded that some of my guests don't. I wish I could figure out how to dependably give a dish that warmth that develops on your palate, but never gets hot. Then those, like me, can add a pinch of chile flakes at the table to kick it up, and the rest could just enjoy that nice warm glow. Seems like we should coin a word for "the glow" in recipes to spare us the trial and error. I agree with my more sensitive guests that adding spice is not a license to blister and yet heat is such an important component in dishes like this one, and just cutting back on the heat risks losing it all together. Any suggestions?

  4. I'm glad you all like the looks of this recipe and hope you enjoy it if you give it a try.

    john, the recipe as written certainly does not blister, but if you serve it to sensitive guests, I'd add just a teaspoon of the chili oil and put the oil or other hot sauce on the table for more adventurous guests. I think hot sauce works better in this case than chili flakes.