Why, oh why, does my cooking pot always hold more pasta than I need for one dinner? A single handful of dried pasta suddenly morphs into a huge, steaming mound. Maybe I'm subconsciously afraid of not having enough, or more likely the issue is a lack of attention when I grab that first handful of uncooked noodles. Not that an extra pile of cooked pasta is a problem, it's more like a headstart on a tasty and quick-to-fix dish. Pasta Frittata is one example, and this Asian Noodle Salad is another favorite.
Italian frittata? Asian salad? which cuisine can claim the oldest noodle connection? and where did the noodle originate anyway? did Marco Polo really introduce pasta to Italy when he returned from his travels? Google has 4.76 million hits relating to that very question, and I personally like the notion that, "...the noodle was developed independently by different people from all parts of the world."(link)
Back to the dish at hand. The sauce and noodle base work well with a wide variety of crispy vegetables, so don't feel limited by the suggested carrots, celery and green onions. Add some julienned Napa cabbage, baby bok choy shreds, crispy bean sprouts, tiny pea pods, julienned sweet peppers... the list goes on. The crunch of raw or barely blanched vegetables provides the needed contrast to the soft, slippery sauced noodles, but it's the sauce that really shines with mixed notes of sweet, salty, sour and hot.
1 small knob of fresh ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, pressed or mashed
I make extra sauce to hold in the fridge for a day or two. Use it on wraps and burgers or as a meat sauce for chicken or pork.
The noodle salad will hold several days if chilled, but will need additional sauce before serving. In a pinch, just toss with additional seasoned rice wine vinegar and mirin.