These cold noodles are a summertime staple in my household, and they make a welcome addition to a potluck picnic spread—but really, they’re delicious in almost any context, at any time of year. Feel free to switch up the toppings based on your own preferences, but at a minimum, it’s nice to have something meaty and some vegetable that’s crunchy and raw. Note: We are a staunch crunchy-peanut-butter-sandwich household, but I keep a big jar of the creamy kind in my pantry almost exclusively for the purpose of making this dish.
- Peel the cucumber if desired. Deseed and cut into thin matchsticks.
- Heat up a bit of oil in a nonstick pan. Add a pinch of salt to the beaten egg and swirl it into the pan, letting it spread into a thin crepe, flipping it once so it's cooked through. Roll the egg up tightly and cut it into thin strips.
- Slice the ham into strips about the same size as the egg and cucumber. Set all of the toppings aside.
- Stir all of the sauce ingredients together in a large bowl, adding the hot water last. You want everything to dissolve into a semi-uniform mixture.
- Meanwhile, boil your noodles according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water until cool and drain.
- Add the noodles to the bowl and toss thoroughly. Don't worry if the mixture looks a little bit watery at this point.
- Add prepared toppings to the bowl and toss again. At this point, the noodles are ready to eat, but I like to chill them in the refrigerator for at least a half hour so that the sauce thickens up a bit and everything gets nice and cold. (For a fancier presentation, arrange the toppings artfully on top of the noodles and mix them in at the table, or serve them on the side so that everyone can pick what they want.)
Luke Tsai is a food writer based in the Bay Area. Previously, he was the food editor for San Francisco magazine and, before that, the restaurant critic at the East Bay Express. When he isn't writing and editing, you'll find him eating most everything he can get his hands on.