Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Udon Noodles and Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Sauce

This is another international dish.  Udon noodles, a thick wheat flour noodle, are traditionally part of Japanese cuisine.  They are usually found is soups of vegetable pasta dishes.  We were only about to find packages of udon noodles like Ramen noodles.  We bought two of them and threw away the flavor package that comes with it.  There is a good amount of bok choy with this dish to add texture to the salad.  Please think of this as a pasta salad rather than a garden salad because everything is cooked and therefor warm.  The sauce is a combination of sesame oil, sesame seeds, and soy sauce.

The only time I remember having bok choy is when I was a little girl and my parents got a head of bok choy as part of their farm share. We had some form of a salad but I have no idea how they made it.  When I decided to add the bok choy as my vegetable I did a little research on how to cook it.  Cook's Illustrated is always my go-to resource for cooking questions (well, after my mom).  They have an article explaining that they tried many different ways of cooking bok choy and found that sauteing (or stir-fry) was the best option.  In their review of different cook books they found that non asian cookbooks recommended cooking the stems and leaves together but traditional asian cookbooks advocated for separation.  When preparing the bok choy cut the leaves away from the stems, chop the stems crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces, and cut the leaves into 1/2 inch strips.

Udon Noodle and Bok Choy Salad with Sesame Sauce
1 package udon noodles
3 heads baby bok choy
1 shallot or 1/2 an onion, diced
3 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Prepare the udon noodles according to the directions on the package.  Clean and cut off the very ends of the bok choy near where the leaves were attached to the roots. Also cut the leaves away from the stems, chop the stems crosswise into 1/4 inch pieces, and cut the leaves into 1/2 inch strips.  Heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil over medium heat in a skillet.  Saute the bok choy stems and shallot for about 2 minutes until the stalks are tender and crisp.  Add in bok choy greens, soy sauce, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and saute for another minute or two.  When the noodles are done drain them and stir with 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Stir together the bok choy and the noodles before you serve.  Sprinkle a few black sesame seeds on top and enjoy!

** Again I couldn't find the pictures of this! Sorry.

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