Sesame-peanut noodles are tossed with sesame seeds, peanut butter, sesame oil, soy sauce, vinegar, sliced cucumbers, and scallions. A great lunch or first course to a Chinese dinner.
These gooey, slurpy, peanut butter-y noodles are the true test of a Chinese restaurant’s worthiness. Although now you don’t have to leave it to chance. You can simply make them at home. These sesame-peanut noodles are adapted from The New Basics Cookbook, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. Adapt it as you will, tossing in some shredded leftover chicken or grilled shrimp or asparagus or sugar snaps or carrots or whatever you please.–Renee Schettler Rossi
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
- 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, cashews or whatever nuts you have
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon mirin or sherry
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
- 1 English cucumber (also called hothouse cukes — the long, skinny ones), peeled
- 1 pound soba noodles (or substitute any pasta)
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 scallions green parts only, sliced 1/4 inch thick on an angle
- Bring a large pot of salted water (figure about 1 teaspoon salt per quart of water) to a boil.
- Meanwhile, toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring or shaking things frequently, until they turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
- In a food processor, combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, peanuts, soy sauce, vinegar, mirin or sherry, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Process to a purée. Stir in half the cooled toasted sesame seeds.
- Slice the cucumber in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and toss them in the compost or the trash. Slice each cucumber half crosswise about 1/4 inch thick.
- Add the noodles and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain very well, shaking the colander until it stops dripping, and dump into a bowl. Add the peanut mixture, cilantro, and black pepper, and toss to coat. Turn out onto a large platter. Arrange the cucumber slices around the edge of the platter, sprinkle the scallions on top, and sprinkle the remaining sesame seeds on last. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*What Is Mirin?Mirin is a sweet Japanese rice wine; you’ll find it in the Asian section of your supermarket.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This dish is a keeper. It is quick and has a wonderful balance of textures and flavours. The first taste without cucumber was quite good — good enough, in our opinion, to warrant being made again. The next bite with the cucumber really made the dish, though. We loved the crisp moistness the cucumber brought to the noodles, while without the cucumber we found the sauce a bit dry. We loved the heat of the raw garlic and found the combination of toasted sesame seeds and ground nuts added a nice textural component to the sauce.
These noodles have a wonderful Pan-Asian flavor: the magic Thai combination of peanuts and cilantro mixed with Japanese soba and sesame seeds. This is a very tasty and satisfying dish that I will make again and again.
Loved it. This recipe is so simple to prepare, and it was delicious. The soba noodles are wonderful and the peanut sauce was unique and a perfect complement to them. Just an all-around great recipe.
I really liked this recipe because all of the ingredients were ones I usually have in my pantry. It was easy to make and most importantly, it was delicious. There are also so many ways to vary the recipe. You can add more vegetables (shredded carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, etc.) or chicken or shrimp. I liked it as a side dish and I liked this recipe when I served it at a luncheon. I put the ingredients together ahead of time and mixed it at the last minute. I garnished it with the cucumber, sesame seeds, some additional cilantro, scallions, and the chopped nuts — a very attractive presentation.
Originally published May 31, 2018