This recipe comes from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, which I use often and highly recommend.
Don’t be afraid to try it if you don’t have everything on the ingredient list. As long as you have the fundamentals (dark sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame seeds), you can make a version worth serving. Once I substituted ramen noodles for the thin Chinese egg noodles since that’s what I had on hand and it was delicious. Another time I left out the chili oil, scallions and cilantro, and used powdered ginger in place of fresh, and it was still great. Note that the recipe serves 6-8, but you can easily cut it in half.
1/4 cup sesame oil
3 tbsp dark sesame oil
7 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp Chinese black or balsamic vinegar
3 1/2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili oil
1 tbsp minced ginger
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
The Noodles and Asparagus
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 14-ounce package thin Chinese egg noodles
10 scallions, including the firm greens, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted until lightly browned
Mix the marinade ingredients together, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the asparagus. Cook until bright green and tender but still firm, just a few minutes. Scoop the asparagus out, rinse it under cold water and set on a towel to dry.
Pull the noodles apart with your fingers, add them to the boiling water and give them a quick stir. Boil until tender but not overly soft, tasting them often as they cook. It should take only a few minutes. Pour the noodles into a colander and immediately rinse under cold water. Shake off the excess water.
Toss the noodles with all the marinade and most of the scallions, sesame seeds and asparagus. Mound them in a bowl or on a platter, then garnish with the remaining asparagus, scallions, and sesame seeds.