Cold Noodles with Peanut or Sesame Sauce


Makes: 2 main-course or 4 side-dish or appetizer servings

Time: 30 minutes

A crowd-pleaser and an easy starter or side—or a main course on a hot day. To make it more substantial, add 1/2 cup or so of small tofu cubes or cooked soybeans. Or top each serving with a few slices of grilled, roasted, or poached chicken. The cucumber adds nice crunch and freshness to what is otherwise a pretty dense dish. Recipe from How to Cook Everything.


1 medium or 2 small cucumbers (optional)

12 ounces fresh Chinese egg noodles or long pasta, like linguine

2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

1/2 cup tahini, peanut butter, or a combination

2 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons soy sauce, or to taste

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (optional)

1 tablespoon rice or white wine or other vinegar

Hot sesame oil or Tabasco sauce to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste

At least 1/2 cup chopped scallion for garnish

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Peel the cucumbers if you’re using them, cut them in half lengthwise, and, using a spoon, scoop out the seeds. Cut the cucumber into shreds (you can use a grater for this) and set aside.

2. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until tender but not mushy. Meanwhile, whisk together the sesame oil and tahini, sugar, soy, ginger, vinegar, hot oil, and pepper in a large bowl. Thin the sauce with hot water until it’s about the consistency of heavy cream; you will need 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Stir in the cucumber. When the pasta is done, drain it and run the pasta under cold water. Drain.

3. Toss the noodles with the sauce and cucumbers. Taste and adjust the seasoning (the dish may need salt), then garnish with the scallion and serve.


Posted in Japanese, Recipes


  1. GarlicGirlBlog said...

    Oh happiness! I’m going to try this one this weekend. Thank you!

  2. Marissa Bognanno said...

    this sounds lovely!

  3. SidMILB said...

    I only had fettuccini, I wanted it hot instead of cold, and a bit more spice.So heated it, added more spice, and enjoyed it immensely. Thanks.

  4. Margaret O'Hora said...

    The sesame oil in this recipe should be optional as the peanut butter or tahini contains sufficient oil. I made the peanut butter version of the recipe without added oil and it was delicious. I highly recommend using crunchy peanut butter!

    • Marty said...

      It’s not a question of too much or too little oil; sesame oil gives a smokey flavor that’s essential to the dish, or at least the most common version.

  5. Marianne said...

    This recipe has come out perfectly every time I make it. I have a vegetarian son and this has become his go to meal. Love it, thanks!

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