Arame and Bean Thread Noodles with Ponzu Dipping Sauce

MAKES: 4 servings

TIME: 30 minutes, plus about 2 hours to chill

The fine, noodlelike texture of arame and its mild grassy flavor make this the perfect introduction to the world of seaweed salads. (It doesn’t hurt that this is dead easy to make.) The Ponzu Sauce has a bright citrus taste, but if you don’t have the right ingredients handy, use Soy Vinaigrette instead. Serve this salad cold, with Grilled or Broiled Tofu or as a light meal on a bed of mixed greens.

One 2-ounce bundle bean thread noodles

1 ounce dried arame (about 2 cups loosely packed)

1 recipe (about 3/4 cup) Ponzu Sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts (optional; see Greens with Fruit, Cheese, and Nuts)

1/2 cup sliced scallion for garnish

01 Put the bean threads in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for about 10 minutes, until soft and clear. Use kitchen scissors or a sharp knife and a fork to cut the threads into 2- to 3-inch pieces. (This shouldn’t take more than a few cuts.)

02 Add the arame to the bowl with the bean threads and stir gently to combine. Soak for another 10 to 15 minutes. The bean threads will take on the color of the seaweed, only lighter. Drain in a strainer for a few minutes, then toss with 1/4 cup of the Ponzu Sauce. Cover and refrigerate until very cold. (The salad may be made in advance to this point and kept in the refrigerator for a day or two.)

03 To serve, divide the remaining Ponzu Sauce among 4 small individual dipping bowls so diners can use chopsticks or a fork to dip each bite into the sauce. Toss the salad with walnuts if you’re using them, garnish, and serve.

Variations

Arame and Bean Thread Noodles with Fermented Black Beans. Substitute Soy Vinaigrette for the Ponzu. In Step 2, add 1/4 cup fermented black beans to the salad. Sprinkle with hot red pepper flakes to taste. To serve, toss with more dressing if you like and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro in addition to the scallion.

Bean Thread Noodles With Arame. Increase the amount of bean thread noodles to two 2-ounce bundles. Reduce the amount of arame to 1/2 ounce (about 1 cup loosely packed).