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now with pants

Recipe: chinese cold noodles

At the start of my hapless journey into Cancerland, I received an enormous influx of packages from mostly friends and some family. There were so many that we filled half of a room with cardboard boxes and all of the associated packing material that would make me apeshit on an ordinary day. The packages were awesome – stuffed with food, books, hats, DVDs, cards, handmade crafts, knitting… One of the best things I got was a pair of flannel pajama bottoms from Sam. As soon as they were washed, I put them on and felt the warm fuzzies of being loved, being thought of. Then I felt like complete crap because it was the start of chemo #1. I wore those pj bottoms throughout each miserable start of my chemo rounds because they took away that little bit of suckage for me. I lived in them for about 5 days at a time until I could resume being upright, stand up long enough to shower, and put some pants on. That’s when I knew I was coming out of the Feeling Like Utter Shit Phase.

Well… I got pants on! I can’t say I’m quite over the hump because my condition vs. time resembles a fourth degree polynomial, but the most debilitating symptoms have passed and I only have an infection or two to get through now. It feels good to not feel bad. Which brings me to Barbara’s LiveSTRONG with a Taste of Yellow Event, today – May 13, LiveSTRONG day. I even got off my lazy bum and submitted lemon petits fours last month, so you can certainly hop over to Winos and Foodies for a looksee. There were nearly 200 entries that Barbara rounded up from food bloggers around the world in support of LiveSTRONG day. It’s quite remarkable, as is Barbara. Please do check it out: Part 1, Part 2.

I am actually wearing pants, not shorts, because this is what the Atmosphere delivered to our doorstep this morning:


nothing surprises me anymore



Not quite the weather that puts you in the mood for a cold noodle dish, but that’s what you’re getting because we know Spring will eventually make its way over there, or rather here…

iron-man noodles



These are the noodles I use, because these are the noodles my mom always uses for this recipe. I don’t know why they are called iron-man, but I doubt they have anything to do with the triathlon. I think I’ve also seen them eloquently referred to as flour stick noodles. Ever been to Engrish.com? Hi-larious. Sometimes I love being Chinese.

cukes, eggs, preserved mustard green, carrots, sprouts



I checked a cookbook I have on Chinese noodles to see if this recipe had a name. As I suspected, it resembles all of the cold noodle recipes, yet isn’t any of them. Apparently the Chinese have had a lot of time on their hands to mix and match a bazillion ingredients with cold noodles. It’s not a bad idea, really. It just requires a lot of chopping. My family typically serves the noodles with carrots, cucumber, preserved mustard green, bean sprouts, chicken, and egg.

turn the eggs into egg sheet



The egg sheet made an appearance before in my version of mu shu pork. Beat the eggs in a bowl, pour into a hot, oiled pan. Let cook as one giant egg pancake. Flip once. Remove from heat. Cut into strips.

making the peanut sauce



I use creamy peanut butter for the peanut sauce. One time I only had chunky peanut butter available and I wasn’t a fan of that texture. The trick to the peanut sauce is to add a little bit of boiling water at a time to the peanut butter and patiently stir it in. It separates at first and looks like hell, but it comes together if you stick with it.

adding sesame oil



When the peanut sauce reaches the consistency of your liking (usually something pourable), then you can add the seasonings like sesame oil, soy sauce, and vinegar. I usually set any spicy sauces (like chili-garlic or chili-black bean) on the side for people to add individually.

serve up the chopped ingredients



For a vegetarian version of this dish, replace the chicken breast with dried tofu. It is just as delicious and you get to skip a step (boiling the chicken breasts).

set some noodles in a bowl



When all of the ingredients are ready, each person grabs a handful of noodles to place in their bowl or on their plate. Then they top their noodles with their desired combination of goodies from the Big Bowl/Plate of Goodies. Pour a little (or a lot of) peanut sauce over everything, then mix it up and eat!

a party in my bowl



Chinese Cold Noodles
[print recipe]

1 lb. iron man noodles, cooked, drained and cooled
1/2 lb chicken breast, boiled and juilienned
3 eggs, cooked into egg sheet and julienned
2 cups cucumber, julienned
2 cups carrots, shredded
2 cups bean sprouts, washed
1-2 cups preserved mustard green, shredded or julienned
1 cup creamy peanut butter
~1 cup boiling water
sesame oil
soy sauce
red wine vinegar

To make the peanut sauce: Place peanut butter in a medium bowl. Pour 1/4 cup boiling water into the bowl and carefully stir the water into the peanut butter. Continue stirring until incorporated. Add another 1/4 cup of water and repeat until creamy (pourable) consistency is reached. Add 1-2 tbsp sesame oil, 1-2 tbsp soy sauce and 1-2 tbsp of vinegar to taste. Mix well.

Place a mound of noodles in a bowl or on a plate. Top with carrots, cucumber, mustard green, egg, sprouts, and chicken. Pour peanut sauce over the noodles and eat.

35 nibbles at “now with pants”

  1. Laura @ HungryAndFrozen says:

    Glad to hear you’re in pants :) You write so frankly and calmly, I cannot imagine how I would handle myself in such a situation. That noodle salad looks beautiful. I love anything smothered in peanut sauce…especially if it has sesame oil in it :)

  2. Kitt says:

    Yay for pants!

    Yum for noodles!

    I’m really ready for this whole snow thing to stop. My tomatoes are becoming rebellious gangly teenagers in the laundry room and threatening to go joyriding if I don’t get them in the ground soon.

  3. manggy says:

    I was about to get cheeky until I realized that Sam is female… Carry on, haha :) I’m glad you’re feeling better– I hope this polynomial doesn’t have anymore downward slopes (how else can I put it– the first derivative lies above the y-axis? blah blah).
    For the first time in a long while, London and I are at least on the same decade of temperature… 23°C high (73°F) for them and 26°C low (77°F) for us. I half-consciously spread out my blanket in my sleep, it must have rained out. I realize that must sound weird to be using a blanket at all, but of course the windows are open, there’s a fan, and I’m not exactly wearing pajamas O_o Ah, different worlds! Here, anytime is time for soup/ ice cream/ cold noodles/ whatever you want to eat :)
    Though I’m not super-accustomed to non-hot entrées, I do love me some peanut sauce… (And feel free to add the chili bean sauce in, yay!)
    I’m trying hard not to laugh too much at the Engrish site! That stuff is insane! :D

  4. White On Rice Couple says:

    Happy to hear that you’re in pants. I now look forward to hearing more about your snow ski fest. I’m happy for you, I guess, that you still have snow this time of year.
    I think I keep repeating myself with that last sentence. I’m not bitter nor jealous about your everlasting winter wonderland. No, really I’m not. I do look forward to hearing more about your snow ski fest. I’m happy for you….:D

    I’d go for these peanut noodles any day, no matter how hot, dry, warm, windy or snowy. Yes, even very snowy white, winter wonderland-ish that you’re enjoying now. *Huh! Pout!*

  5. peabody says:

    Cold noodles with peanut sauce…super yummy.
    We were only around 50F here today. I would have loved snow though. :) But we are suppose to be up to 85F by Friday. Weather is weird.
    Congrats on getting into pants.

  6. barbara says:

    This is bookmarked to make soon. It looks delicious.

    I had special clothes I wore to chemo, the same set every treatment, comfy and warm and easy to get in and out of. When chemo was finally over I burnt them ‘cos I felt sick whenever I looked at them.

    I think I could swap my blue sky view for your snow view for a day or so. Beautiful.

  7. Y says:

    Iron Man noodles.. heh. I think I would’ve bought that just for the name alone. Looks like a great dish – anything with peanut sauce can’t be a bad thing. And hooray indeed, for pants :)

  8. Mrs Ergul says:

    There are so many things I wanna say!! I’ve been waiting for this post & I finally see it. I’m delighted and happy to hear that u’re getting better a little at a time, if not totally :)

    I didn’t know those rice noodles look like that when dry! Seriously, they look a little like the wooden disposable chopsticks from Chinese take-away ;)

    Btw do you have a photo of the noodles which has been mixed with the peanut sauce & all other ingredients. I’m very intrigued to know how it looks like in the final stage cuz I don’t think I’ve eaten this before even though I’m Chinese too! What a diverse food culture for us Chinese, huh? :)

    Take lots of care Jen!

  9. Lan says:

    I am so glad you are feeling well enough to blog! i rave about you to my friends, like i know you or something!
    your dish looks delish but when i saw your beautiful snow pic, i had a mad craving for some hot Pho or Wonton Noodle soup.
    you’ve inspired me to cook more and i’ve challenged my bff to a monthly kitchen smackdown. http://www.kitchendoorknob.blogspot.com

    stay warm and hope you feel great today!

  10. Bridget says:

    Best part of getting into pants – this was the last time you have to struggle through that! Congrats on getting through 6 rounds!

    I’m actually having noodles with peanut sauce tonight, for the first time ever. I’m using the recipe Deb wrote about recently.

  11. Kelly says:

    when i first saw the photo, i thought it was the same cold noodles i make…but our family always made “liang mien” with sesame sauce (sesame paste + water). is it different altogether or just another variation? we use spaghetti noodles and the ingredients to add are: egg sheet, julienned cucumber, soy sauce + sichuan peppercorns, garlic, sugar water, salt water, vinegar, and chili oil.

  12. Maya says:

    Love the cold noodle recipe. I make otsu with buckwheat noodles almost every week – the leftovers are great for lunch! Good news about the pants, Jen!

  13. stacie says:

    Congrats on the pants, love all your pictures!

  14. SallyBR says:

    I had no idea a woman wearing pants could make my day so much brighter!

    WAY TO GO!!!!!

  15. Abby says:

    So glad to see your back at cooking and blogging!

    The dish looks great, but I’ve never even heard of dried tofu. I live in such a small world sometimes.

  16. Mollie says:

    Good to have you back in pants.

  17. Graeme says:

    I’m not going to do a load of admiration stuff. You know how vast my awe is of The Jenatron.
    Instead, I’m making an Iron Man movie reference:

    Iron Man Salad. Tony Stark would be proud.

  18. Amy says:

    Hurray! Good for you girl! I think you should rename those noodles Iron Woman Noodles. :)

    I like a lot of chili oil/sauce in mine.

  19. Lizard Eater says:

    Oh, YUM! I’m going in to the hospital in a couple of weeks with my toddler for her first in-hospital chemo and I am SO taking this with me. Seems like it would be the perfect “grab out of the fridge” cold nosh.

  20. Christina says:

    I need to work on my chopping skills!

    The recipe looks really great and this is one of my favorite dishes.

  21. Christine says:

    I’m glad your treatment is coming to an end and I’m with everyone else who is rootin’ for ya :)

    I love cold noodles and I’ve often made one very much like this minus the mustard greens – which I’ll have to remember next time. I like jicama a lot so I often add it to my peanut noodles. The last photo reminds me of bi bim bap with all the colorful veggies and meat layered in a circle — so bright and delicious looking.

  22. Maja says:

    Great for pants and friends that know we need them (pants and friends). ;) Your salad looks great! Do you have a special way of cutting the veggies?
    I hope you’re out of the FLUSPhase! :)

  23. Martin says:

    I keep telling my friends about how great your blog is, and now it is time I tell you: Your blog is great! Great recipes, great pictures and (from what I can tell) a great person behind it all! Keep getting better!

    And oh, the noodles look yummy! This will be lunch tomorrow.

  24. Shoshanna says:

    Yay, you’re blogging again! :) Speedy recovery Jen and I’m super glad to see you back.

    Ahhh…peanut sauce, another childhood favorite. My family also loved “ma jiang”; not sure what it’s called in cantonese. YUM! Looks delicious; might make this next week for dinner since it looks pretty healthy. :P

  25. jenyu says:

    Laura – I don’t think any of us know how we’ll react to a tough situation until we’re in it. So cut yourself a little slack, you may surprise yourself :)

    Kitt – you’re lucky you can even grow tomotoes ;) we can expect freezes into June.

    Mark – hey! Why does it matter if Sam is female? ;) I could not imagine living in the tropics. I would probably go mental (I mean more than I already have). I hate sleeping in warm weather – it makes me cranky. Then again, in your climate, there are few surprises! What’s funnier than Engrish.com is seeing it all in real life ;)

    WoRC – oh hon, I’m not skiing :) I don’t have the strength for it and I think my skis are hung up until next season anyway… unless I can get in shape enough to do a ski ascent on the local peaks. So don’t be jealous or nuthin’. How about I put some snow in a ziploc and mail it to you? hee hee. You’re too cute.

    Peabody – 85 in Seattle? That’s a heat wave, woman! I hope you can keep cool, knowing how much you like cold weather!

    Barbara – that must have been incredibly therapeutic to burn those clothes! I don’t have too many bad associations with tangible objects as far as I can tell. But I am certainly sick of eating applesauce, jello, and mashed potatoes ;)

    Y – thanks!

    Mrs. Ergul – thank you, that’s really sweet. Actually, these are flour noodles, not rice noodles, but yeah, they look like flat chopsticks ;) I don’t actually have a photo of the noodles mixed, but just imagine it all jumbled together with a creamy peanut sauce coating everything! :)

    Lan – now that you mention it, I guess I now have a craving for Pho or wonton noodle soup! sounds good. Have fun with your kitchen smackdown – neat idea :) thanks for the kind wishes.

    Bridget – aw, thanks. It will feel great when it’s really over! what a coincidence!

    Kelly – hmmm, I guess my parents call this lian mien too? I think cold noodles are like sandwiches – so many variations.

    Maya – otsu is good too!! :) yum. w00t! pants!

    Stacie – thank you!

    SallyBR – ha ha, you’re very sweet. Thank you :)

    Abby – thanks! Dried tofu is more dense than firm tofu and is usually flavored with soy sauce. You can see what it looks like in this post.

    Mollie – :) thank you.

    Graeme – you silly… Don’t give anything away! I haven’t seen the movie yet (but plan to soon!) xxoo

    Amy – nice!

    Lizard Eater – omg, that makes me so sad :( I hope your little one will be okay. I really do. xxoo

    Christina – chopping skillz are teh important :)

    Christine – ah, I know you’re always in my corner of the ring, my friend. Jicama! Great idea. I love jicama… I usually just eat it straight because it’s soooo good :)

    Maja – you’re right, friends who know that we need pants and friends are better than the regular friends :) I just chop the veggies into thin slices and then thin strips – except for the carrots, I prefer to shred those. Use a good sharp knife and be careful of the fingers!!

    Martin – oh, you are really too sweet. Thank you.

    Shoshanna – thanks! Hmmm, what is ma jiang? Is it tofu based or black bean based or ???

  26. manggy says:

    It wouldn’t matter because Jeremy would like it… See, I can make cheeky out of anything ;)

  27. Kevin says:

    That looks so fresh and tasty. I like the peanut butter sauce! :)

  28. Tartelette says:

    Snow!!!! I am right there!! We have summer…bummer!!
    Cute short (that’s be a first) story: B. and his band play New Orleans jazz every weekend and your pants story made me think of this song: http://music.yahoo.com/Fats-Domino/Shiek-Of-Araby/lyrics/24439027
    Read each line and then say “without no pants on”….that’s how they sing it :)

    The salad is indeed a party in a bowl! I love it! Will have to make it when the family comes visit.

  29. jenyu says:

    Mark – indeed, you are a cheeky one at that.

    Kevin – the pb sauce is gooooood stuff :)

    Tartelette – ha ha ha! Well, it’s going to get warm enough around here that I won’t be wearing pants for a few months… Have a great time with your family!

  30. RecipeOfTheWeek says:

    This is a great variation to the “Cold Noodles Recipes” category! I’m going to try this recipe soon! Thanks for sharing!

  31. Jenny says:

    Wow these great!
    Just wondering though, when you say ‘flour noodles’, do you mean wheat noodles? Just trying to figure out what noodles I’d get if I can’t these Iron Man ones.

  32. jenyu says:

    RecipeoftheWeek – you’re welcome :)

    Jenny – well, it’s wheat flour noodles. They call them flour stick noodles sometimes. Just make sure it’s not rice noodles or bean thread noodles…

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  35. Aimee Paradise says:

    Love cold noodles in the summer time. I was writing about a japanese version (hiyashi-chuka) which reminded me of this version, but I have no idea what it’s called. Ban Ban jee?? :) Who’s cares, it’s sooo yummy, thanks for sharing!

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