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Cold Sesame Noodles
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins
Cold sesame noodles have a nice toasted sesame flavor and a great slippery texture. I love to pair crunchy cucumbers and daikon, or watermelon radish will these nutty noodles for a contrasting crunch and refreshing bite against the smooth and rich noodles. If you like your sesame noodles spicy, add more of the chili garlic paste to your liking. Add some shredded cooked chicken meat for a light dinner.
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Author: Ginger
  • 10 oz Chinese Lo Mien Ramen, or spaghetti noodles
  • 2 scallions sliced thin on a diagonal. White and green parts
  • 1 medium 5 - 6.5 oz / 145 - 190 g seedless cucumber
  • 2- inch piece of daikon radish or 1- 2 (3 oz / 88 g) watermelon radishes, or carrots
  • 2 TBS 21 g toasted sesame oil,* extra to coat the cooked noodles
  • 3 TBS 46 g / 150 ml soy sauce
  • 2 TBS 25 g unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 TBS 40 g tahini or dark sesame paste
  • 1 TB 21 g smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1-2 tsp 4 - 8 g brown sugar
  • 1 TB 18 g chili garlic paste*
  • 1 tsp 2.5 g Chinese black vinegar8
  • 2 medium garlic cloves green germ removed and minced or grated
  • 1½ - inch 4 cm piece fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish
  • roasted and salted peanuts rough chop for garnish
  • chopped cilantro for garnish optional
Prep your vegetables
  1. Peel and scrape out any seeds. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, then cut each half in quarters. Cut each quarter into 1 - 2-inch (2.5 - 5.5 cm) strips. Set aside
  2. Peel the radish and slice into very thin disc less than 1/8-inch (2 mm) thick. Cut each disk into matchstick size strips. Set in a small bowl filled with ice water. Set aside.
  3. Take the sliced scallions and add to a small bowl filled with ice water. Keep the scallions and radishes in their ice bath for 15 minutes, or until you assemble and serve the sesame noodles. Set aside.
Cook the Pasta
  1. Bring a big pot of water to boil and cook the noodles according to the directions. Some noodles take 3 minutes to reach al dente, some take 10 minutes. If you are using the curly lo mien noodles stir with a fork to help separate the noodles without breaking them. Be careful not to burn your hand and overcook the noodles. Drain the noodles in a colander and rinse in cold running water to stop the cooking. Once the noodles are cooled, shake out any excess water and carefully dump the noodles on a clean flour sack towel, or other lint free kitchen towel. Carefully pat the noodles lightly dry.
  2. Plop the cooled noodles into a large mixing bowl add 2 teaspoon of dark sesame oil and using clean hands carefully toss the noodles until nicely coated. Set aside.
Make the sauce
  1. In a medium mixing bowl add the toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame paste or tahini, peanut butter, brown sugar, chili garlic paste, black vinegar, minced garlic and minced ginger. With a wire whisk, whisk all the ingredients together until smooth and incorporated. Taste the sauce and correct the seasoning with using any of the sesame sauce ingredients you wish, if needed.
  2. Add about 2/3 of the sauce to the noodles and toss with your clean hands to evenly coat the noodles. Taste and add more sauce if needed.
  3. Drain the scallions and radishes and pat dry.
  4. Add most of the remaining vegetables to the noodles, leaving some for a garnishing. Toss with your hands to mix together.
  5. Scoop the cold sesame noodles out of the bowl and onto a serving dish and garnish with sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, cilantro if using, and remaining vegetables.
  6. Serve immediately.
  7. Do ahead note- If you make this in advance. Mix together the noodles and the vegetables and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Make the sesame sauce and cover with plastic wrap and keep on the counter until ready to serve. Add the sauce to the noodles right before serving.
Recipe Notes

There are two types of sesame oil. One is light in color and the other is darker because it is made with toasted sesame seeds. This recipe uses the darker sesame oil and is found in health food stores, Asian markets, or the international food section at your grocery store. Store dark sesame oil in your refrigerator, especially if you do not use it that often. My favorite brand is Spectrum and found in Health Food Stores, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods.

Chili garlic paste is found in most Asian markets and similar too Sambal Oelek. You can substitute these items with Hot Chili oil if you cannot find them. Add a little and taste as you mix the sauce, then add more as needed. If you want to keep your costs down and already have Sriracha sauce, use that instead. It has a very different flavor from the garlic chili paste but it does have a nice spicy flavor.

Black vinegar is also a specialty item found in Asian Markets. It has a very strong flavor and adds some great depth to the sauce. I totally understand if you want to skip out on buying it, but it will last forever in a cool pantry and is used in many Asian food recipes.