This easy noodle salad (top) belongs to the Eastern school and is eaten during the sweltering summers to tease one's appetite. I must admit as a Malaysian-born Chinese, I didn't know of the existence of this tangy salad until I went to Shanghai a few years ago. Instead of thick Chinese noodles, this recipe works best with fresh or dried thin egg noodles. The dressing for this dish can be varied according to the season, the region and personal taste, so if you are in Sichuan province, expect this salad served with chilli oil, sesame paste and ground Sichuan pepper. Shredded cold poached chicken, Chinese ham and soaked dried shrimps are also great with this salad.
- 500 gm fresh thin egg noodles
- 1 telegraph cucumber, cut into fine matchsticks
- 2 green onions, finely shredded
- 35 gm roasted sesame seeds (¼ cup)
- 1 tbsp finely shredded ginger
- 60 ml vegetable or peanut oil (¼ cup)
- 250 ml light soy sauce (1 cup)
- 60 ml Chinkiang vinegar (see note) (¼ cup)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1-2 tsp sugar
- 1-2 tsp bean sauce (douban jiang, see note)
- 1For Chiankiang vinegar dressing, combine all the ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves.
- 2Drop noodles into boiling water and stir to separate. Boil for 2-5 minutes or until just tender. Rinse under cold water and drain thoroughly.
- 3Place noodles in a large bowl and add the dressing. Toss with cucumber, green onions,
vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons roasted sesame seeds. Serve on plates sprinkled with remaining sesame seeds.
Note Chinkiang vinegar is a black rice vinegar popular in southern China, where it is considered the best of its kind. Bean sauce, also known as douban jiang or min si jeung in Cantonese, is made from soy beans. Depending on the brand, it can be very salty, so use sparingly. Similar to miso, it is wonderfully versatile and keeps almost indefinitely in the refrigerator. When asking for douban jiang, insist on the variety without chilli. Chinkiang vinegar and bean sauce are available from Asian grocery stores.