RECIPE: Sesame Noodles

Kevin White/America’s Test Kitchen

Recipe courtesy of A Very Chinese Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen


  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Chinese sesame paste
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 pound fresh thin white wheat noodles
  • ½ English cucumber, cut into ­3‑inch-long matchsticks
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 scallions, green parts only, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

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Note: If fresh thin white wheat noodles are unavailable, substitute fresh lo mein or 12 ounces dried wheat noodles. In a desperate pinch, spaghetti will work. Also, this dish is wholly satisfying as written, but you can add any topping. Poached chicken is a natural pairing. In Hong Kong you’ll find deli ham, red bell ­peppers, and sliced egg omelet on cold noodles.


  1. Process soy sauce, sesame paste, sugar, vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, chili oil, garlic, and ­ginger in blender until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed; transfer to large bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and cook, stirring often, until just tender. Drain noodles and rinse under cold running water until chilled; drain well.
  3. Transfer noodles to bowl with dressing and toss to combine. Adjust consistency with extra water as needed until sauce smoothly coats noodles. Transfer noodles to shallow serving bowl and top with cucumber, cilantro, scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve.

Serves 4-6, Total Time: 30 minutes

This recipe was discussed on an edition of Central Time‘s Food Friday. Listen to the episode here.

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