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Cold Sesame Peanut Noodles

  • e

I'm looking for some more recipes for this, my husband's favorite dish. I have lots of versions, but nothing comes close to what we get in the local Chinese place.

I've done Bittman's version, Martha's, Moosewood's, and every F & W and Epicurious version I could find, many good, but none approaching his idea of Platonic Noodles.

Also, any thoughts on the use of any of the following ingredients?

Chinese black vinegar/balsamic
Black tea
Five Spice Powder
Honey/Maple Syrup

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  1. Have you tried the recipe from Nina Simonds' Asian nodles cookbook yet? Great cookbook, well worth the purchase. Here's a paraphrase:

    1/4 cup hoisin sauce
    2 tbsp. smooth peanut butter
    1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
    1 tsp sugar
    1/3 cup water
    1 tsp. safflower or corn oil
    1 1/2 tsp minced garlic
    1 tsp crushed red pepper

    Mix the first 5 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

    Heat a small, heavy saucepan over high heat, add the oil and heat until hot (about 20 seconds). Then add the garlic and pepper and heat until fragrant (5 seconds or so). Then add the mixture and cook until warmed through, about 3-4 minutes.

    Link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ext...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chris VR

      I second that rec, I bought the cookbook for it, too. (sheepish grin)...It's easy, and everyone likes it. She (and I) add tons of veggies, too, which makes it less authentic, but great for a meal..

      Her dipping sauce recipe for Goi Cuon has to be the best I've ever eaten. The only real clunker I've cooked out of there is her Pad Thai, which is absolutely abysmal. But that's okay, there're lots of good Pad Thai recipes arpund...;)

    2. j

      I just made Bittman's recipe for a dinner party the other night and although I thought there wasn't enough sauce to coat the noodles, I thought it was delicious-- not too oily, with a nice sweetness and richness.

      I think using tahini instead of peanut butter is the way to get authentic restaurant taste. I also used toasted sesame oil for richness and hot sesame oil for a bit of a kick.

      The Martha Stewart cookbook has a recipe for them that I wanted to try, but I didn't want to pay the $35 for the book.

      1. b

        For authentic sesame noodles, the real thing is based on a very simple sauce. No Chinese person I know who makes this dish uses hoisin sauce, honey, maple syrup, peanut butter, tea, or five-spice powder in it.

        The sauce:

        2 tablespoons sesame paste
        2 tablespoons soy sauce
        2-1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
        2-1/2 tablespoons water
        2 teaspoons sugar
        2 teaspoons vinegar
        chili oil, to taste (optional)

        Place sesame oil in mixing bowl. Add other ingredients one by one, and stir until smooth before adding another. Pour over hot or cold noodles.

        I like to place on top one or more of the following: shredded chicken, julienned sheets of scrambled egg, julienned cucumber, finely chopped scallions, and chopped toasted peanuts or toasted sesame seeds.

        This recipe is from _Chinese One-Dish Meals_, by Huang Su-Huei and published by Wei-Chuan. Authentic. One of my kitchen bibles.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Browniebaker

          You beat me to it with the cookbook recommendation!

          Your recipe sounds right to me, based on the peanut sauce noodles I'm used to. And I heartily endorse the Wei-Chuan cookbook series. They're as authentic as can be found in English, and worth the price for the pictures alone.

          Maple syrup? Maybe on chengfan....

          Link: http://www.weichuancookbook.com

          1. re: Gary Soup
            Caitlin McGrath

            Okay, I just noted that one person's recipe has no sesame, and now you're saying this recipe sounds right for the "peanut sauce noodles" you've had, but there's no peanut or even peanut oil in it.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              LOL, you're half right. But if you put finely-chopped peanuts on top (read further down the page) the peanuts adhere nicely to the sesame paste and you have peanut-sesame (or sesame-peanut) noodles. It's a little easier to make it with peanut butter and, if you like, put sesame seeds on top (but with the sesame oil in it it's sesame-peanut or peanut-sesame noodles even without the sesame seeds.

              My major point was that I have never seen it made with hoisin sauce, tomato sauce, or anything fruity or of color.

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                They're not called "peanut noodles" in Chinese anyway, at least not in Sichuan. (These are originally a Sichuan dish, right? Or maybe not .... anyone know?)Just "liang mian" ... "cold noodles".

                1. re: foodfirst

                  Yes, it sounds like Sichuan liang mian to me too.

                  If desired, boiled bean sprouts can be added for a bit of texture.

                  I could have sworn that I've seen chinese peanut pastes sold in those squat little jars. Perhaps that could be added too, no?

              2. re: Gary Soup

                Thank you, Gary, for the link to Wei-chuan's website. I love it!

              3. re: Browniebaker

                I love that cookbook! I haven't actually tried that particular recipe though. However, I wanted to point out to folks who may be wanting to try it that you should use Chinese sesame paste (which I think is toasted? well, at any rate, has a toastier flavor) as opposed to tahini.

              4. s
                Science Chick

                Here is a recipe I got some years ago from a friend who was trained at the London Cordon Bleu. She swears on the authenticity....

                For one lb noodles:

                1 c. peanut oil
                1/2 c. tahini
                1/4 c. sesame oil
                1/4 c. soy sauce
                1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
                3-4 crushed/minced large garlic cloves
                1-2 T. minced fresh ginger
                cayenne or red pepper flakes to taste

                Whisk dressing ingredients together and toss with warm pasta. Refrigerate. Garnish w/chopped green onions and sesame seeds
                * For special parties, I sometimes toss in steamed shrimp, blanched broccoli florets and colored bell pepper strips*


                4 Replies
                1. re: Science Chick

                  This recipe sounds great, thanks for posting it. Just one thing, 1 cup of peanut oil sounds like a lot of oil for 1lb of noodles.

                  1. re: Charlieboy

                    I was thinking the same thing, but maybe that's the key to making the dish tasty like a restaurant version.

                  2. re: Science Chick

                    Ok.. I guess I am the only one that has to ask what kind of noodles and how to cook them. Do you run them under cold water after cooking or not.

                    1. re: T.Davis
                      Science Chick

                      Yikes! Keystroke error and thanks for pointing it out! The revised recipe is below. Also, I like linguini (fresh or dried) but any long/thin noodle will suffice. DO NOT rinse/cool down the noodles. Let them sit 2-3 minutes so they are not piping hot, then toss and let cool in fridge, dressed. One of the keys is to have the pasta a bit hot so it soaks up some of the dressing.

                      For one lb noodles:

                      1/2 c. peanut oil
                      1/2 c. tahini
                      1/4 c. sesame oil
                      1/4 c. soy sauce
                      1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
                      3-4 crushed/minced large garlic cloves
                      1-2 T. minced fresh ginger
                      cayenne or red pepper flakes to taste

                      Whisk dressing ingredients together and toss with warm pasta. Refrigerate. Garnish w/chopped green onions and sesame seeds
                      * For special parties, I sometimes toss in steamed shrimp, blanched broccoli florets and colored bell pepper strips*


                  3. The most authentic-tasting version I ever had (outside of a good Chinese restaurant) was made by a French chef who was part Vietnamese. I don't know the exact proportions, but he used a mixture of peanut butter, yellow bean paste, sambal oelek, rice wine vinegar and sugar. I've made it by feel using about 1 cup of PB, 1/2 cup of bean paste, 1/8 cup sambal oelek, 2 tbsp sugar. Start with the peanut butter and thin with hot water until workable, blend in remaining ingredients above, then blend in rice wine vinegar to taste. Then thin to desired consistency with more water. I can't remember whether it takes soy sauce or not. I guess if it tastes like it needs it, you could add a tbsp or two. Sorry to be so vague.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: GG Mora
                      Caitlin McGrath

                      But there's no sesame in there.

                      1. re: GG Mora

                        Nope, but they're delicious nonetheless.

                      2. Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen has a very garlicky rendition that I've enjoyed.

                        1. All these different recipes say one thing to me: you use what you have or what you can get. I've seen some places where I cannot get a good dark sesame oil. I find the other kind more or less insipid. I've never seen a toasted or roasted chinese sesame paste and I live and shop in a chinatown. My point is not that it doesn't exist, but that cold sesame noodles are made with what's available and what's at hand. Everyone's contributions are valid and give me some ideas, too. Thank you!


                          1. Of course none of us have any way of knowing exactly what the noodles at your local Chinese place are like. It's largely a question of "what do you like," "what do you want them to taste like," and "what's your favorite thing about them vs. what you're willing to sacrifice for ease of cooking."

                            When you go out again, order them and pause ... pull your thoughts together, close your eyes, and taste ... really taste. Ask your companions to do the same. That might be revealing.

                            If you're looking for 'authentic,' you'll probably want Chinese black vinegar (balsamic works just fine) and Szechuan peppercorns. Tea? No. Five spice? No. Honey or Maple syrup? Please ... if you like them sweet go for sugar.

                            I use peanut butter or sesame paste (tahini), Sriracha hot sauce (and/or chili oil, and if I have them, minced fresh hot peppers of any kind), Soy sauce (or fish sauce), sugar, and garlic powder. I'd use Szechuan peppercorns but I hate the way they stick in my teeth. Since I don't always have Chinese noodles, Top Ramen (throw the spice packet away) work just fine. But your favorite style may be quite different.

                            BTW, let's never forget that these are a calorie-counter's nightmare.

                            1. Have you considered asking at the restaurant how they make it. They may or may not tell you, but it never hurts to try.

                                1. The best recipe I ever used for this I believe was from The Frugal Gourmet Three Ancient Cuisines...

                                  I haven't made it in a long time though.