By the Gracious Vegan
I finally discovered the secret to “real” cold sesame noodles: it’s the Chinese sesame paste. There isn’t a good substitution. If you have access to an Asian grocery store, that’s your best bet, but you can find it online as well. I owe this find to Sam Sifton of the New York Times and his recipe for Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles. I adapted and tweaked his recipe to remove the oil. I added options for whole wheat noodles and dates instead of sugar. The flavors are recall the best sesame noodles from Chinese restaurants, without the greasiness you can sometimes get.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and cook until barely tender, about 5 minutes. (If you choose whole wheat noodles, it may take longer.) Drain, rinse with cold water, drain again and pat dry with a paper towel.
9 ounces dried chow mein noodles (or other noodles that don’t contain eggs)
In a medium bowl, blender, or food processor, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
5 Tablespoons soy sauce
4.5 Tablespoons Chinese (roasted) sesame paste
1.5 Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons smooth peanut butter
2 Tablespoons sugar (or 3 Tablespoons date paste)
1.5 Tablespoon Chinese rice vinegar
1.5 Tablespoon finely grated ginger
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (3 medium cloves)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon chili-garlic paste, or to taste
Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl, and garnish with
Half a cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch by 2-inch sticks
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Timing: less than 30 minutes
Nutrition: Whole-food unprocessed if you use whole wheat noodles and dates
Gluten-free if you use gluten-free noodles