Recently, Deidre Donnelly (Senior Features Writer/Books Editor of O Magazine) contacted me to participate in a feature in South Africa’s Oprah Magazine. The brief was to choose a picnic/summer recipe from my childhood. I decided to choose Taiwanese cold noodles 涼麵 (liang miàn). All photographs were taken by Oprah Magazine.
Taiwanese folk have quite a variety of cooling dishes, snacks and drinks; including bubble tea and shaved ice, ideal for scorching summer weather, owing to the drastic temperatures there. Luckily, in South Africa we don’t have to suffer the weather extremities, but we do get to enjoy the deliciousness of Taiwanese cold foods. One of my fondest memories of traditional summer food is watching my mama prepare Taiwanese cold noodles.
The refreshing taste of the cold noodles, paired with cool cucumbers and crunchy carrots, complimented with a generous splash of the sesame sauce. Though, bear in mind, the sesame paste that we use is not the same as tahini. The flavours are different and the colouring of sesame paste is dark, whereas tahini is a light brown. I remember my mama always made double of the sauce, so that we could happily continue eating the cold noodles the next day.
Makes 4 servings
- 200g dried egg noodles (egg noodles are the best, especially colour, but you can substitute, try get cylindrical not flattened noodles)
- 60g cucumber (julienned, do not use the seeded part)
- 60g carrots (julienned)
- 4 tbsps of hot water
- 4 tbsps of cold water
- 4 tsps Chinese sesame paste, including some of the oil on top (not Tahini, they’re not the same thing)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsps white sugar
- 4 tsps soy sauce (add to taste)
- 2 tsps Chinese black vinegar* (optional)
- Firstly, cook the noodles, drain and run it through cold water.
- Add a drop of oil to keep the noodles from sticking together and refrigerate while making the sauce.
- To make the sauce, mix the sesame paste with the hot water so that it becomes smooth.
- Add the minced garlic, sugar, soya sauce, vinegar and cold water, and stir well.
Place an individual portion of the noodles into a bowl, dress it with the cucumber and carrots and drizzle roughly 4-5 tbsps of the sauce over. You can serve it in portion size for one or appetiser size so that it becomes side dish.
Mix the noodles with the sauce, carrots and cucumber so that it’s even through and through.