I wrote about my fantasy of the perfect bowl of sesame noodles in this post some time ago. Last night I looked at the available ingredients in the cupboard and fridge, considered my lack of desire to cook, and decided to try Mark Bittman's "Cold Noodles with Sesame Sauce" from The Minimalist Cooks Dinner.
Bittman's sesame sauce consists of half a cup of sesame paste, a tablespoon of sugar, quarter of a cup of soy sauce, a tablespoon of rice vinegar and a tablespoon of sesame oil. Combine these ingredients; season with hot sauce, pepper and salt to taste; then pour over cooled, previously-cooked noodles. Garnish with sliced scallions.
Once I prepared this version of sesame noodles, I felt I was getting closer to the perfect fantasy, but the real sticking point that was bringing me crashing back to earth was the sesame paste. Even a smooth paste seems to have a bit of grittiness (if only a subliminal grittiness), and it really is astonishingly close to peanut butter. In addition to Lala's suggestion of using cashew butter instead of sesame paste, I may start trying sesame sauce mixes with a bit of sake or mirin to smooth things out and sweeten them up. Clearly the only thing that will do is for me to concoct my own version of sesame sauce.
On the other hand, the leftovers are on the docket for dinner tonight, and I expect they will be more than adequate for that purpose.