Real Deal Sesame Noodles

These real-deal Chinese sesame noodles are way better than takeout. The post teaches you how to use secret ingredients to make the sauce addictively tasty.

These real-deal Chinese sesame noodles are way better than takeout. This post teaches you how to use secret ingredients to make the sauce addictively tasty.

Sometimes I hear complaints that Chinese recipes tend to have super long ingredient lists, which scare people away. I couldn’t agree more. The fact is that Chinese cuisine is really good at playing with flavors. It brings together herbs, fermented sauces, and many ingredients that are sweet, salty, sour, and nutty to play a symphony. The tones and rhythms all come together, to create a beautiful melody. Everything is balanced, without a single ingredient jumping out or screaming loudly.

For “poor folks’ food” like noodles, the idea is to use the cheapest ingredients to maximize flavor. The goal is to make you happy with a stomach full of noodles, vegetables, and a minimal amount of meat (or no meat at all). A simple sesame noodle dish requires more than 10 ingredients to achieve this goal. In fact, if you count the ingredients needed to make the chili oil, you’ll need about 20 in total.

Sometimes I try to simplify recipes as much as I can, so you can actually make them at home. But in this case, I’d say you need the whole set of ingredients if you want the sauce to be interesting and not just taste like peanut butter.

These real-deal Chinese sesame noodles are way better than takeout. This post teaches you how to use secret ingredients to make the sauce addictively tasty.

The flip side is that you can make more sauce ahead of time, store it in the fridge, and serve it during the week. For example,

  1. This sauce makes a very nice vegetable dip.
  2. It is also a great sauce for zucchini noodles.
  3. You can use it on roast chicken or leftover meat to make it more interesting.
  4. And you can thin it out a bit with water and use it as a salad dressing.

If you hate chopping, your best next choice is to use ginger paste and garlic paste from Gourmet Garden. When I’m feeling super lazy, I’ll use these pastes straight from the tube instead of chopping (Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!). You’ll need to add more paste than the amount listed in this recipe, because fresh ginger and garlic are more potent.

The secret ingredients in this recipe are the homemade chili oil and roasted Sichuan peppercorn powder. When I serve this dish at cooking classes and events, I always sneak these two in there so that the noodles will wow everyone. With these ingredients, you can turn “just your average sesame noodles” into “OMG this is so good”.

These real-deal Chinese sesame noodles are way better than takeout. This post teaches you how to use secret ingredients to make the sauce addictively tasty.

You can serve sesame noodles either as an appetizer or a main dish. They are easy to prepare ahead of time and the sauce only gets better after it has sit in the fridge a few hours. I might skip (or use very minimal) toppings on the noodles to keep them simple as an appetizer. On the other hand, you can add other things to make it a full meal. For example, leftover shredded meat, sliced avocado, eggs (boiled, poached, or fried), and more vegetables. In this case, make more sauce accordingly.

The last thing I want to emphasize is to always make more sauce than you expect you’ll need. The problem with noodle salad is that you never get the exact amount of sauce correct. Every type and brand of noodles absorbs water and sauce in a different rate. Plus, you might want a bit of extra sauce on the side. The sauce in this recipe is plenty for two big servings or four small servings. But you won’t regret making a double batch in any case.

I hope you enjoy!

These real-deal Chinese sesame noodles are way better than takeout. This post teaches you how to use secret ingredients to make the sauce addictively tasty.

5.0 from 5 reviews
Real Deal Sesame Noodles
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main, Side
Cuisine: Chinese
Ingredients
  • 250 grams dried noodles (*see footnote 1)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
Peanut sauce
Topping options
  • 1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, cut into thin strips
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Instructions
  1. Boil noodles according to instructions. Transfer cooked noodles into a colander, rinse with tap water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.
  2. Combine peanut butter with 1/4 cup warm water in a small bowl. Stir with a spatula until the water is fully incorporated and it forms a smooth paste. Using warm water helps the peanut butter thin out and form a silky paste.
  3. Add light soy sauce, Chinkiang vinegar, honey, chili oil, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and Sichuan peppercorn powder. Stir to mix well. You can make the sauce ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours before mixing, so the flavors will be more evenly blended.
  4. Transfer cooked noodles into a large bowl and add two thirds of the peanut sauce. Toss with a pair of tongs to coat the noodles evenly with the sauce.
  5. Garnish with cucumber, green onion and sesame seeds.
  6. Serve at room temperature with the remaining sauce.
Notes
1. You can use many types of wheat noodles to cook this dish, including egg noodles, pasta, udon noodles, and somen noodles (the super thin type). To create the best texture, use homemade noodles such as hand pulled noodles or rolled noodles.

2. Chinese sesame paste is made from toasted sesame seeds. Unlike tahini, it is darker in color and has a nuttier flavor. You can use natural peanut butter here as an alternative.

3. The homemade chili oil is usually served separately and added according to personal taste. I personally prefer to use a small amount in the sauce because it adds a very fragrant umami that makes the sauce stand out. Always ask your guests if they can handle a bit spiciness. If not, serve the chili oil separately with the noodles.

4. To make toasted Sichuan peppercorn powder, cook whole Sichuan peppercorns in a tablespoon of oil until they turn dark (not black). Drain the peppercorns and grind them them in a coffee grinder (or use a mortar and pestle). It results in a nutty flavor that adds character to the dish without tasting too pungent. If you are using uncooked Sichuan peppercorn powder, cut the amount to 1/8 teaspoon or just a pinch.

The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 of the 4 servings generated by this recipe.

Real Deal Sesame Noodles Nutrition Facts

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Meet Maggie

Born and raised in Beijing, Maggie now calls Texas home. She’s learned to love barbecue, but her heart belongs to the food she grew up with. For her, Omnivore’s Cookbook is all about introducing cooks to real-deal Chinese dishes, which can be as easy as a 30-minute stir-fry or as adventurous as making your own dim sum. Recipes, step-by-step photos and video are the tools she uses to share her knowledge—and her enthusiasm for Chinese food.

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21 thoughts on “Real Deal Sesame Noodles

  1. Rebecca Whitten

    I just subscribed to your newsletter and downloaded the cookbooks. Thanks for the recipes. I can’t wait to try some of them!

    Reply
  2. Brittany

    Made this for dinner tonight and oh my gosh so delicious! And extremely satisfying! My hubby and I were both wanting to go back for seconds but so full we decided to save the rest for lunch tomorrow– and I’m already getting hungry just thinking about it! 😀
    Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      So happy to hear you cooked the recipe and enjoyed the dish! The leftover will taste even better 😉
      Have a great week ahead Brittany!

      Reply
  3. Marissa

    Maggie, these noodles look incredible. I’m always half afraid to come to your website because suddenly I’m SOOO hungry. 🙂 Making these this week…thanks for another inspiring recipe!

    Reply
  4. jack guard

    I have prepared this recipe and it is MARVELOUS…真棒!I also recommend homemade wide noodles that are thin—-I do mine with weight to get them right each time—-if 16 ounces of flour I use half of that minus one ounce meaning 7 ounces of water—-of course according to ambient temperature it could change—-key is a dry but not too dry of a dough—-let it rest—-when water is boiling add noodles—when boiling add the noodles—-when it comes back to a boil let it boil 15 seconds or so then add 1/2 cup of cold water—-when it gets close to returning to a boil strain them—-into a bowl with the sauce—-crispy fried ground pork—cucumber and cilantro….AND an ice cold BEER…… 🙂 Cheers—-

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Jack, I’m so happy to hear you tried out the recipe and liked it! Yes the sauce will go so great with homemade noodles. Thank you for sharing your noodle recipe! I’ll need to try that out next time. And yes, adding some ground pork and veggies, and beer, you’re good to go! 🙂
      Have a great week ahead!

      Reply
  5. Cynthia Miron

    We love these sesame noodles. They are becoming a staple in our house. The pantry list is excellent very helpful shopping here in Beijing.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      I’m glad to hear you tried out more recipes from my blog Cynthia! Yes this is a quick recipe and so delicious. I’m happy to hear my post helped you to gather ingredients in Beijing.
      Happy cooking and hope your next project turns out delicious as well 🙂

      Reply