Restaurant-style sesame noodles

April 30, 2017 at 9:58 pm (Alma's faves, B plus (3.5 stars, like a lot), Chinese, Derek's faves, Monthly menu plan: dinner, Pasta, Sauce/dressing, Tofu, Website / blog) (, )

I already have two sesame noodle recipes on my blog. The first recipe is from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East cookbook, and uses tahini. The second recipe is from Nancie McDermott’s Quick and Easy Chinese cookbook, and uses peanut butter. But lately we haven’t been making either of these recipes. Instead we’ve been making a version of the takeout-style sesame noodles recipe from Sam Sifton on the New York Times website. It uses both tahini and peanut butter. It’s clearly the winner. We make a whole meal out of it by adding pan-fried tofu, steamed broccoli, toasted sesame seeds, and various raw veggies. The last few times we’ve made this for dinner, Alma has scarfed it up. We just have to be careful not to make the sauce too spicy for her.

Ingredients for sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil (we usually leave this off and people just add sesame oil to their own bowls)
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon soy sauce (original recipe calls for 3 ½ tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar (original recipe calls for Chinese rice vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) tahini (original recipe calls for Chinese sesame paste, and specifically says not to use regular tahini)
  • 1 tablespoon (16g) smooth peanut butter (we use a natural peanut butter with no added sugar or oils)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger (if you use chopped ginger instead of grated you will probably want more)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 frozen chunks from our silicon freezer tray)
  • 2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste, or to taste (omit or reduce for a spice-sensitive toddler, next time try 1/4 teaspoon of sambal olek)

Other ingredients:

  • 12-14 ounces whole wheat linguine, dry (original recipe calls for 1 pound of 1/8-inch thick Chinese egg noodles)
  • about 500g (?) of broccoli, broken into small florets and stem sliced thinly
  • 14 ounces firm tofu, plus oil, salt, and nutritional yeast for seasoning it
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted or ¼ cup chopped roasted peanuts or cashews
  • one cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/8-inch by 1/8-inch by 2-inch sticks (original recipe calls for 1/2 a cucumber)
  • other raw veggies of your preference, julienned (optional). I like carrots, red orange or yellow bell peppers, kohlrabi, mung bean sprouts, and radishes.

Instructions / Gameplan:

  1. Make the sesame sauce (or pull some out of the freezer if you made extra previously.) Consider making a quadruple batch and freezing the extras, see below for sauce x 4 recipe.
  2. Do some prep: Chop the broccoli and place it in a steamer basket. Let it sit. Mince your garlic and ginger if you don’t already have some in the fridge or freezer. Let the garlic sit!
  3. Wash and julienne any raw veggies you are using (bell pepper, cucumber, carrot, kohlrabi, bean sprouts…) Let your toddler munch on raw veggies as you cut them up.
  4. Get out a 5-quart pot, add about an inch of water, and bring the water to a boil. Add some salt if you want. Add the steamer insert with the broccoli in it, cover, and steam over medium high for 4 to 6 minutes (depending on how cooked you like your broccoli). When the broccoli is done, remove the insert and uncover, so that the broccoli doesn’t end up overcooked. Put your toddler in her high chair and let her start eating broccoli if she’s hungry and begging you for an appetizer before dinner.
  5. While the broccoli is cooking, bring more water to boil in a kettle, then measure out your pasta. When the broccoli is done, add the hot water from the kettle to the 5-quart pot. When the water comes back to a boil, salt the water well and cook the pasta.
  6. While the pasta is cooking, cook the tofu and toast your sesame seeds (if you don’t have any already toasted). Cut the tofu into large cubes. Warm a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add some oil, and pan-fry your tofu. When all sides are golden brown, transfer the tofu to a bowl and sprinkle on salt and nutritional yeast. Add the sesame seeds to the still hot pan, turn the heat to low, and stir constantly, until the sesame seeds are golden brown. Watch them carefully so they don’t burn! Do not get distracted by your toddler asking you for more broccoli. You will burn the seeds. Focus!

My notes:

Last time I found the pasta a tad bit dry, maybe because Derek halved the soy sauce. Maybe add some pasta cooking water to thin it out a bit?

We used 12 ounces of pasta last time and I thought it was an okay amount. We ate it for dinner and Derek ate the leftovers for lunch. Ideally, we want to make enough for all of us to have it for dinner and lunch. Do we need to increase all the amounts or just eat less next time?

Sauce recipe x 4

If you are going to quadruple the recipe I find it easiest to just measure out the amounts by weight into one large bowl (for tonight’s dinner) and 3 small glass jars (for the freezer). Alternatively you can measure it all into one large bowl then try to divide it evenly into four portions, but that never seems to work out as nicely as I’d expect. But my friend says she makes a quadruple recipe for dinner and doesn’t freeze any of it! She has a larger family, and they just eat the whole 4x recipe for dinner and then as leftovers.

  • 143g (= 9 Tbs.) soy sauce (original recipe calls for 14 Tbs.)
  • 119g (=8 Tbs.) brown rice vinegar (original recipe calls for Chinese rice vinegar)
  • 112g (= 8 Tbs. = 1/2 cup) toasted sesame oil
  • 112g (=8 Tbs.) tahini (original recipe calls for Chinese sesame paste, and specifically says not to use regular tahini)
  • 72g (=4 Tbs.) smooth peanut butter
  • 60g (=4 Tbs.) finely grated ginger (Derek used about 4 Tbsp. chopped ginger, and I thought there could have been a bit more)
  • 50g (=4 Tbs.) sugar
  • 48g (=8 tsp.) chili-garlic paste, or to taste (omit or reduce for a spice-sensitive toddler, next time try 1 teaspoon of sambal olek)
  • 40g (=8 tsp.) minced garlic (about 8 frozen chunks from our silicone freezer tray)


  1. austingardener said,

    I printed out the recipe to try and saw that you didn’t mention how to make the sauce. So I went to the other recipe of Sesame noodles on your blog and saw this” In a medium bowl large enough to toss the noodles with the sauce, combine the sesame paste or peanut butter, the soy sauce, hot water, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil and salt. Whisk or stir well to combine into a smooth, thick sauce.”
    But in this recipe you didn’t mention water.
    Well going into the kitchen now to cook it. I will report .

  2. My time-saving kitchen tips | The captious vegetarian said,

    […] now make a quadrupled recipe of sesame noodle sauce and freeze the extra 3 servings in small glass […]

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