Choochoocachew is a food instagram (Taiwanese) from here in Rochester (MN) whose recipes I usually pay attention to because they’re delicious and she’s stuck with the same limited access to special ingredients as I am.

Her recipe for summer Sesame Noodles just came across my feed and I remembered all the delicious summer salads/noodles easily available in Japanese convenience stores like Ban Ban Ji

Bang Bang Chicken Recipe (Bang Bang Ji)
Cooking with Dog’s Bang Bang Ji

Which is basically a sesame/vinegar sauce over poached chicken and any fresh veggie you might have on hand. Or Hiyashi Chuka (basically cold ramen, my recipe here.)

And I wanted to make sesame noodles, alas all I had was bow tie pasta and vietnamese glass/rice noodles.

So I decided to use a veggie peeler to make thin slices off zuchinni and do zoodles instead. And fry up some tofu for the top. So here is a modified (for Japanese ingredients I always have on hand like rice vinegar and miso) Choochoocachew sesame sauce on zuchinni zoodles topped with fried tofu and basil I snatched from my deck pots.

For the Sauce. Stick the following in a blender or food processor and blend until desired consistency:

  • 1/4 cup Toasted White Sesame Seeds
  • 1 TBsp Unsweetened Peanut Butter Sub with 1/4C Roasted Peanuts
  • 1 TBsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 TBsp miso
  • 1 TBsp chili garlic paste or oil
  • 2 TBsp rice Vinegar
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 TBsp honey
  • 1/4 C Water
House - Shichimi Togarashi × 2 sets- Japanese Mixed Chili Pepper Shichimi

You’ll also need: Tofu, 2 medium zuchinnis, flour, potato/corn starch, and optional fresh basil or mint. (and Togarashi if you have it, but not necessary)

For the Tofu. Take a block of Firm tofu and put it in colander for like 5 minutes, pressing lightly to get the water out. Cut into cubes (I usually do about 10 but whatever size you like) and dredge in a mixture of 1 part flour: 1 part potato or corn starch: 1 part sesame seeds. (about four tbspns each but however much you need to lightly coat) Add pepper or Japanese Shichim Togarashi (which is a lightly peppery spicy ground spice) as desired. Heat 1/4 cup canola oil in Wok until it shimmers. Carefully place tofu in oil and fry for about 3 minutes (however brown you like it), turn all onto next side and fry for 3 minutes, and repeat until at least four sides of cube are fried. Place tofu on paper or rack to drain.

Grab some fresh basil or mint and set aside. Grab 2 zuchinnis, wash, and use mandolin (or like me a veggie peeler because I’m not fancy) and make thin slices. Or, if you have a vegetable noodle maker, use it!

Toss zuchinni zoodles with sesame sauce (refrigerate extra), put a bunch of mint or basil in the middle and place fried tofu on top. Bon Apetit!