Print Digg


Summer Solstice Cold Asian Noodles

Monday, June 25, 2018

This is the solstice, the still point of the sun, its cusp and midnight, the year's threshold and unlocking, where the past lets go and becomes the future; the place of caught breath. ~Margaret Atwood

Given that NASA just recorded the fourth warmest May in 138 years of modern global record-keeping, and the fact that Thursday, June 21, is the official 2018 summer solstice (the midsummer date based on the planet’s rotational axis, making it the longest day of the year), it seems appropriate to feature a refreshing cold pasta dish for celebrating the summer solstice, since the heat wave making it's way across the Midwest and Northeast could break records this week.


Cold Asian Noodles with Chicken, Cucumbers and Sesame Sauce

Ingredients (the sauce ingredient amounts are our preference and should be adjusted to cooks choice when necessary) 

2 cups shredded cooked chicken or about 12 ounces boneless chicken breast

1 or 2 pounds seedless English cucumber

12 ounces long pasta like linguine, or 16 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles

2 or 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

1 or 2 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

1/4 cup good quality Chinese sesame paste (a bit more expensive than tahini, but so worth it)

1/4 cup peanut butter, or not

2 teaspoons sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

1/2 cup rice or wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste

garlic chili paste, to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more

at least 1/2 generous cup minced scallions (green onions)

freshly chopped cilantro for garnish, or notf

fresh limes for squeezing over plated cold pasta, for those who choose to do so


Boil a large pot of salted water. If your chicken breasts are uncooked, wash carefully and poach in the salted water as it comes to a boil; they will cook in about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cut cucumbers in half and set aside (we used our mandolin slicer while wearing a safety glove for thinly sliced cucumber).

When water comes to a boil, also cook pasta until tender but not mushy (If chicken is not done, you can still add pasta; remove chicken when it is done.)

While pasta is cooking, mince garlic and ginger (we used our baby Cuisinart and minced them before adding other ingredients), then add dark sesame oil, sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and garlic chili paste in baby Cuisinart, or whisk in a separate bowl.

Thin this sauce with hot pasta water so that it is about the consistency of heavy cream; you will need a 1/2  to 3/4 cup or more sauce, depending on personal preference.

When pasta is done, drain it and run pasta under cold water briefly. Shred chicken (the easiest way to do this is with your fingers).

Toss noodles and chicken with cucumbers, green onions, a small amount of sauce, and taste as you go since there will be extra sauce for the refrigerator and you don’t want to over-sauce.

Adjust seasoning as necessary (the dish may need salt if you do not include fish sauce) and possibly red pepper flakes, then garnish and serve.

Nutritional value

Sesame seeds have many health benefits due to the nutritional content, including vitamins, minerals, natural oils, and organic compounds including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper, zinc, fiber, thiamin, folate, protein, and tryptophan.  

A word of caution: Excessive consumption of sesame seeds can show up on drug tests due to their very small amount of THC.

Ellen Troyer with David Amess and the Biosyntrx staff

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~Henry James

The mid summer sun's heat is said to be an elemental force that can energize or overwhelm us at whim; the year's longest day is a time for celebration. We enjoy the long hot summer days best when we surrender to their altered state, instead of treating them like something we need to escape.

We prefer celebrating summer solstice cold Asian noodles with a glass or two of fruit-forward Dr. Loosen's classic Mosel Riesling, if you are lucky enough to find one, or with a refreshing dry summer-beautiful rose.