Beware what you bring as a pot luck offering since it may earn you a reputation for that dish and ever after you will be forced to bring that same dish to every pot luck you attend as your reputation will proceed you. I know because it happened to me. Not that I mind, I chose well and my “signature dish” is not bound by the seasons or weather. Ask anyone who goes to my church or my kid’s school or at my bee group. They may not know my name, but they will know that I’m the lady who brings the sesame noodles. Is that all I’m known for–no there’s also a cupcake reputation I carry around, but sesame noodles are my savory dish moniker.
Why sesame noodles?
- They’re made from ingredients I have in the house most of the time.
- They can be made in the time it takes to boil a pot of water + 10 minutes.
- They work for most diets including vegans.
- They don’t rely on an ingredient that is ever out of season.
- Best of all they’re cheap.
They weren’t inexpensive when I first discovered them in the deli case of my local Whole Foods over a decade ago, but that is what caused me to try to recreate them at home. I love to scan the deli case while I’m shopping for delicious tidbits of food that I might not make at home; just a taste of luxury or better yet a recipe inspiration which sends me scurrying back to the isles for a few more items to throw into my cart. One day I spied a giant platter of glossy brown noodles sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Isabelle, Russell and I shared a small bowl and quickly decided we wanted more. The problem was I balked at buying a large quantity of the nutty brown noodles given their $7.99/pound price tag. Until I looked at the ingredient list they posted for people with allergies (or sneaky cooks like me). Spaghetti, Tamari, Toasted Sesame Oil, Black Sesame Seeds. That’s it. I probably don’t even need to give you a recipe now because now you know how to make them. So simple, so quick, and so cheap. My sesame noodle come in at under $2.00/pound, depending on where you buy your ingredients, which means you can show up at a pot luck with two pounds for less than five bucks. Noodles worthy of a pot luck reputation.
1 pound spaghetti (white or brown, though I usually use white)
Tamari or low sodium soy sauce
toasted sesame oil
black sesame seeds
Bring a large pot of unsalted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and give a quick rinse in cold water, but don’t completely cool off the pasta–you want a little bit of warmth to help suck up the sauce. Mix the tamari and toasted sesame oil in a 3:1 ratio. Depending on taste you’ll need 1/2 cup or more total sauce to give the noodles their flavor. Taste as you go and toss frequently so all the noodles are well coated. You don’t want them sitting in a puddle of sauce so it’s better to start slow and work your way up till it tastes good and you seem to have reached the noodle saturation point. Note this recipe requires repeated taste tests, in our house it often requires the entire family to taste test. To finish sprinkle with black sesame seeds, I go until they look good, somewhere between 2-4 Tablespoons and a little extra for the top. Serve at room temperature, though if you make it the day before throw it in the fridge until you leave for your pot luck. You may want to bring some tongs with you as the noodles can prove elusive if you try to serve them with a fork (though they can be eaten with a fork, a dichotomy I haven’t quite figured out).