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A few weeks ago we watched the series Cooked, a documentary about the history of cooking that is based on Michael Pollan’s book by the same name. It’s a very interesting show that is also absolutely beautifully shot, if you haven’t seen it I definitely recommend it. One of the things I was at first surprised to learn from Cooked was that people in the U.S. cook less today than they have in at least 30 years.
I didn’t realize that this was the case, what with all the cooking shows and, yes, food blogs out there. But after thinking about it a bit I could actually understand it. Cooking is a job. It takes time, planning, thinking and energy. And with all the responsibilities each of us have in our daily life, time and energy to cook a homemade meal every evening are a luxury for many of us. And I have to admit that even though I love to cook and have time for it, I too usually prefer a quick and easy recipe.
That’s where this simple noodle dish comes in. It’s delicious, cheap, super easy and takes five minutes from start to finish. You simply whisk together sesame oil, natural peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal and coconut milk, and then toss freshly cooked soba noodles in. Mix in a few fresh vegetables like carrots or cabbage for some crunch and you have a perfectly satisfying meal.
Food Photography and Styling: A most difficult subject. Gray, thin strands covered in gooey brown sauce and nothing else. Definitely not an easy task. I made sure to lay the noodles in the bowl in an orderly and wavy pattern and positioned my strobe at about the 11 o’clock position for a dramatic look. There are chili peppers in the sambal so I put a dried chili in the composition to add a splash of color and to mirror the waviness of the noodles.
Cold Sesame Noodles Recipe
- 4 ounces soba noodles, uncooked
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (with peanuts as the only ingredient)
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sambal (more if you like it spicier)
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- mint leaves and sesame seeds (optional)
- shredded cabbage and/or carrot
- Cook the soba noodles according to package instructions, then thoroughly rinse them with cold water.
- Whisk oil, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sambal and coconut milk together until smooth.
- Toss the cold noodles with the sauce, sprinkle with mint leaves and sesame seeds (if using), add shredded vegetables and serve immediately.
- Whatever you don’t eat you need to throw away, you cannot store this noodle dish.