firey cold sichuan sesame noodle
My blog is currently suffering under the wrath of my chronic ADD, which is begging me for tiny changes that the blog probably doesn’t need. Actually, tiny would be for any able body who knows a thing or two about CSS coding, but for this rusty brain who still panics when her phone talks back, this, is gonna take awhile. So, I’m going to quickly leave you with.. I don’t want to say this but… the best spicy cold sesame noodle recipe out there. Why, because I looked.
The cyber-world has no shortage of recipes for cold sesame noodle and
don’t tell’em I said this but… naaah… In fact, it just stops me stone-cold when I see something like “chili oil”, just looking so lost sitting amongst the ingredients-crowd, so unidentifiable that even his own mother can’t pick him out of a bunch. Like WHAT kind? The numb kind? The paste kind? Or just the generic pinkish kind you find in the supermarket that tastes like my ultimate boredom? SPECIFY!! Because I don’t want to sound over-dramatic here but, that’s kinda IMPORTANT? Like, in this particular ANY case?! And since it’s like SO DAMN EASY to make up a batch of your own chili oil/paste at home, like 10X easier than say COOKIES! for sure, it’s just inexcusable not to. And because it’ll taste infinitely-times better, there’s no turning back afterward and I’m afraid it will too, make a chili oil-snob out of you. You ready for this?
Then of course the rest is blah blah blah… A STRICTLY Asian-tyle sesame paste is a must. The CRUNCH from various types of vegetable strips is a must. And if you think that you can do without a paper-thinly spread EGG-SHEET that’s fried golden brown then thinly sliced, you are talking CRAZY. No, this recipe is not by any means forgiving, and you shall taste it.
I have posted several recipes featuring some kind of chili oil (there’s the sichuan chili oil, wonton in chili sauce and spicy dan-dan noodle) and they are more or less very similar to each other. The major difference in this one is the addition of minced/grated garlic, and that it ISN’T filtered. Both the oil and the “bits” are used, so it’s more of a “sauce/paste” than oil. The recipe below is going to make more than you’ll need for the noodles because keeping a jar of this stuff in the fridge is well… you’re welcome.
I always try to provide an online source for ingredients that may be a bit uncommon, and if possible, the exact brand of seasoning that I used because they can vary quite a bit in taste. But in this case, the sesame paste and soy sauce has proven to be a bit difficult. So here’s a little note on sesame paste: Asian sesame paste is a little DIFFERENT from tahini which is usually lighter in color because the sesame wasn’t fully roasted before being ground. Asian sesame paste are darker and more intense in flavor. This one wasn’t the exact brand I used but seems close. In terms of soy sauce, you may need about 4 ~ 5 tbsp depending on the saltiness. Feel free to add more if the soy sauce you use tends to be lower on sodium.
- Chili paste/oil:
- 2 tsp of red sichuan peppercorn
- 1 tsp of green sichuan peppercorn
- 3 tbsp of chili flakes + 2 tbsp more (don’t just use any types of chili flakes. Korean variety is usually of high quality)
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 small piece of scallion
- 2 star anise
- 1 dry bay leaf
- 1/2 tsp of ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
- 1/8 tsp of curry powder
- 1 cup of vegetable oil
- 1 grated garlic
- 3 tsp of soy sauce
- Sesame sauce:
- 90 grams (1/4 cup + 1/8 cup) of toasted sesame paste
- 35 grams (1/8 cup) of creamy peanut butter
- 20 grams (1/8 cup) of chili oil (without the “bits”)
- 4 ~ 5 tbsp of soy sauce
- 2 tsp of dark Asian vinegar
- 2 tsp of sesame oil
- 1 tsp of sugar
- 1/2 cup of water (more or less depending on the thickness of sesame paste)
- 2 servings of ramen noodles, plus more sesame oil for rubbing the noodles
- cucumber, cut into thin strips
- radish, cut into thin strips
- 1 egg, beated with a tiny splash of milk
- Crushed salted peanuts and toasted sesame to top
To make the chili paste/oil: Finely grind the red/green sichuan peppercorn in a spice-grinder or stone mortar (but you’ll need to work harder to break them down). Set aside. In a deep sauce pot, add 3 tbsp of chili flakes (reserve the other 2 tbsp), minced garlic, scallion, star anise, bay leaf, ground cumin, ground coriander, curry powder and vegetable oil. Set the pot over medium heat and bring to a sizzle. Stir constantly and let the mixture cook for 1 ~ 2 min until the minced garlic turn JUST LIGHTLY BROWNED. Turn off the heat completely, then add the ground sichuan peppercorns and 2 tbsp of chili flakes (ground sichuan peppercorns will turn bitter if overcooked which is why it’s added at the end). Keep stirring until the oil stops sizzling/bubbling. Then add the grated garlic and soy sauce, and stir to combine. Let the mixture sit at room temperature for AT LEAST 2 hours. After which you can remove the star anise, bay leaf and scallions, then keep the oil and paste in a jar. It will keep in the fridge for… a long long time.
To make the sesame sauce: Add the toasted sesame paste, peanut butter, chili oil from above, soy sauce, dark vinegar, sesame oil and sugar in a blender. Blend on high while slowly adding in 1/2 cup of water. Scrape the sides down a few times to ensure even blending. You can add more soy sauce or water to adjust seasoning and consistency if needed. The sauce should be the consistency of yogurt.
To make the noodle: Heat a flat and wide non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and brush the surface with oil. Pour in 1 beated egg and swirl the pan to evenly distribute it so the egg thinly coats the bottom of the skillet. Cook until both side of the egg-sheet is evenly browned, then thinly cut it into short strips. Set aside.
Cook the ramen noodle according to the package instructions. Once done (DON’T overcook it! It should be still slightly chewy), rinse under cold water until cools down completely. Toss with 2 tsp of sesame oil to prevent sticking, then you can keep it in the fridge until needed. Before serving, toss the ramen noodles, cucumber strips, radish strips, egg strips and enough sesame sauce to generously coat every strand of noodles. Evenly stir the chili paste/oil then add a couple tsp to the noodle (or more…), pus crushed salted peanuts and sesame on top.
experimental cookAugust 28, 2013 at 5:37 PM
Lovely pictures! There’s lots of drama in the process in which you cook it.
Mandy L.August 28, 2013 at 5:41 PM
devil’s in the detail!
Belinda @themoonblushbakerAugust 28, 2013 at 7:23 PM
Thank you! Someone has clearly said that said sesame paste is WAY different from the middle eastern version(They are both good none the less).
Even with something so simple, you seem to be able to make these noodles so active and dramatic in a world of mundane passive noodle bowls. Crunchy, crunchy you can not forget the fried shallots!
Mandy L.August 28, 2013 at 9:17 PM
Belinda, really!? I have never had cold noodle with fried shallots before! Sure is worth a try.
Todd @ HonestlyYUMAugust 29, 2013 at 3:11 AM
Mandy…I freakin LOVE your blog. Thank you for doing what you do and having a style of writing and photography that’s always exciting to visit. Totally craving this dish, btw, and can’t wait to become a chile oil snob.
SophieAugust 29, 2013 at 5:11 AM
Oh goodness yes. Noodles all day, every day! I’m pleased that my local Asian market supplies a non-descript, nearly unmarked jar of good toasted sesame paste, which I much prefer to tahini anyway. Can’t wait to make this. Like tonight. You are my Asian noodle-cooking Jedi. I second the fried shallots!
helenAugust 29, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Looks good, I will have to try it. I am looking for good, tasty recipes without animal products, looks like this one does that! Can hardly wait to try it.
Emma GallowayAugust 29, 2013 at 1:33 PM
LOVE the look and sound of these noodles. I could eat this everyday, yum!
DiannaAugust 30, 2013 at 3:10 PM
I’ve never seen green sichuan peppercorns before and don’t want to spend $8 plus shipping only to find I may not like them. Can we just use the red Sichuan peppercorns without distorting the flavor too much? Or is it worth shucking out the exorbitant cost for the green Sichuan peppercorns for the chili oil?
Mandy L.August 30, 2013 at 3:22 PM
Dianna, green sichuan peppercorn is in charge of the “numbing sensation” on your tongue when you eat authentic sichuan cuisine. You can substitute it with red sichuan peppercorn, which will give you the floral fragrance but not so much of the “numbness”.
JoanneAugust 31, 2013 at 1:43 AM
Your pictures are gorgeous as usual!! How do you take such perfect photos? I’m going to make this soon!
Tj GromSeptember 4, 2013 at 12:54 PM
Excellent Recipe and Beautifully laid out images
KatherineSeptember 7, 2013 at 2:22 AM
I wish I could get a hold of Sichuan peppercorns here in Toronto. They are impossible to find!
I managed to make some substitutes (regular, pink and whit pepper. also almond butter for the peanut, because I a. dislike peanuts and b. there’s the matter of killing my boyfriend that I do not like all that well) and used it on a cold soba noodle salad. Holy crap this is tasty!
I just wish I had been able to make it more authentically tasty I guess. . . I’m definitely glad to have stumbled across this food blog!
KellySeptember 13, 2013 at 12:09 PM
I love reading your blog! I am definitely making this, luckily in Australia we have access to a lot of the more hard to find Asian foods. I haven’t seen green Sichuan peppercorns as yet, though I haven’t looked that closely. Must go searching for it this weekend.
Alison@streetfoodNovember 4, 2013 at 7:50 AM
This really looks incredible, I’m whipping up a batch of that chilli paste and want to coat everything in it. Agree on the blah-ness of most store bought chilli oils, sometimes I want to swipe the little pot from the counter in a restaurant and take it all home.
Enlightenment TransmissionDecember 2, 2013 at 9:36 PM
Great recipe. Exciting, passionate, detailed descriptions that make sense and provoke the taste buds, You to take cooking to the next level. Fantastic!
The Singsong Korean Hot Pepper Coarse Type Powder which you link to apparently is sourced from China, as some Korean-style chilli powers are. How do they differ?
Mandy L.December 2, 2013 at 10:45 PM
Enlightenment transmission, honestly, I don’t find much difference in the chili flakes from China (I exclusively buy chili flakes shipped from Sichuan) and the chili flakes from Korea, AS LONG AS both are of premium quality. But for people from, say America, who may find chili flakes from sichuan a bit uncommon, then I would suggest buying them from Korean grocery store, which I find to be a lot more fragrant than typical chili flakes from supermarkets (for example the ones you put on your pizzas).
But if all else fails, I trust my nose. The chili flakes doesn’t have to come from a particular origin BUT it HAS TO carry a very prominent and pungent chili fragrance.
ShulingMay 26, 2014 at 8:41 PM
Mandy, I ADORE your blog and your recipes never fail to impress me!! I feel we have a lot in common especially I am Taiwanese origin as well. This one is so classy, it took me 2 days(one day for the chili oil to settle and the other for the paste) to make this dish and it turned out SO GOOD!! Thank you!!XXX
mandylee@ladyandpupsMay 27, 2014 at 1:33 AM
SHULING, Hello fellow Taiwanese! Glad you like it, and I hope it was true Taiwanese-cold-noodle-style as in consumed in a drunk wee hours in the morning..haha
EsveeMay 30, 2014 at 2:22 AM
not related to the noodles (but i’ll be making them soon) — what kind of blender do you have?? i’m intrigued.
mandy@ladyandpupsMay 30, 2014 at 2:41 AM
ESVEE: mine is a kenwood (I don’t have the product no though). It comes with a blender AND a spive grinder which I can’t live without. But I also read somewhere that some blender blades can be screwed to a mason jar and viola! Instant Spice grinder.
KellyJune 20, 2014 at 12:51 AM
Oh my gosh you`ve outdone yourself again! I love peanuts however I`ve recently learned that I am allergic to peanuts and more recently to peanuts and pecans. Do you have any suggestions for me. I’m thinking of trying sunflower butter. No rush to respond but I’m planning to make this tonight.
For those having problems finding peppercorns, I recently found this in Superstore on the top shelf in their international section far away from the spices in an obscure spot and I live in boonhicksville so ask a few people and someone is bound to know what you’re talking about.
I’m salivating in anticipation of dinner tonight!
Thanks as always…..
mandy@ladyandpupsJune 20, 2014 at 1:01 AM
Kelly, hm… I’ve never had sunflower butter, but How about cashew butter? Something that’s also creamy and nutty would be ideal.
KellyJune 20, 2014 at 1:28 AM
Oops should have said: peanuts, hazlenuts, almonds & pecans.
mandy@ladyandpupsJune 20, 2014 at 2:01 AM
Oh man, try omitting the peanut butter and just use sesame paste then!
KellyJuly 10, 2014 at 1:26 PM
Finally had the time and ingredients all together. Made the Chili paste last night and finished the noodles and Sesame sauce tonight. I ended up substituting regular pasta noodles Cashews for the peanut butter. OMG it was sooooooo delicious with endless possibilities. Thanks sooooo much! ;-)
mandy@ladyandpupsJuly 11, 2014 at 1:02 AM
Kelly, glad you enjoyed it! Perfect for this hot summer :) now I’m craving some myself…
Jess JoJuly 25, 2014 at 4:05 PM
OMGosh! I love your blog!! Your photos & recipes are to die for!!
I’ve never attempted a paste from scratch. What’s the blender that you use in your first photo?
mandy@ladyandpupsJuly 25, 2014 at 4:15 PM
JESS: THANKS! It’s a Kenwood blender that comes with a spice-grinder jar :)
DeeDFebruary 1, 2015 at 3:12 PM
Thanks for the scrumptious-sounding recipe. Ambitious for me, for sure, but could you please clarify a a couple of things in case I manage to conjure up all the ingredients and the nerve to attempt this?
Your lovely photo shows long, straight noodles which look nothing like the “instant” ramen noodles I see at the grocer, but you do mention a package. Is there another kind of packaged ramen noodles? I am aware there IS a whole world of ramen noodles superior to the instant type but haven’t seen anything about being able to buy the noodles at a store. I’m not up for making ramen noodles from scratch at this point. If I can’t find the right ramen, what would be the next-best type noodle? I knowww, it wouldn’t be your unforgiving recipe as written, but I fear I may face the choice of making substitutions or walking away, ya know? Life can do that to us.
When you say dark Asian vinegar, I suspect you don’t mean black vinegar but I am not familiar with “dark” Asian vinegar other than black.
Hey, this is first I’ve ever heard of green Sichuan peppercorns — I’m psyched! I like the flavor of the red reasonably well but its floral perfume can be overwhelming for my taste! I suspect I would like the green a lot.
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 1, 2015 at 4:15 PM
Deed: The ones I used in all the ramen-recipes are not the “superior” freshly made ramen noodles, so don’t fret. I usually go to the refrigerator section of Asian supermarkets, and around the soy-products/tofu section, I can usually find a couple varieties of packaged, fresh noodles(not dried). Then you just pick the ones that is the closest to what you’re looking for.
But you know what, if you can’t find it, you can simply used dried Asian noodles, soba, or whatnots for this particular recipe.
Dark Asian vinegar is usually labeled as “black vinegar” or “dark vinegar” at the condiments-section. Here’s a link for reference: http://posharpstore.com/en-us/posharp/posharpsearch.aspx?kw=black%20vinegar&catid=0
And the green sichuan peppercorns: http://posharpstore.com/en-us/premium-green-sichuan-peppercorn-2-oz-p4146.aspx
DeeDFebruary 2, 2015 at 6:12 AM
Thanks, Mandy. The Asian market here does have some frozen noodles. I saw at least one bag. I can’t even reach much of anything in that case, but if the son is around, he will help. As for the vinegar, yeaa, I already have some black by Koon Chung. I just read about Gold Plum brand, and think I will look for that next time. I sure appreciate the ingredient links — they really help.
On another note, you know, I can’t help but think your passion and that of Taylor at The Mala Project site would be a great matchup. I discovered that site about the same time as yours in my search for a good-sounding Dan Dan / Tan Tan noodle recipe. Her food interest is Sichuan cuisine and she too tries to help with sourcing ingredients. Your site and hers are very different (that’s a good thing to me, doubling my pleasure), but if you haven’t been there, you may want to take a look. The two of you might enjoy talking Sichuan cooking. Or not. :-) just a thought ….
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 2, 2015 at 2:34 PM
I checked the blog out, and it is awesome! Thanks!!
DanielleFebruary 18, 2015 at 7:57 AM
This looks amazing! Having trouble finding green peppercorns. Went to an Asian grocery store and asked for help and they handed me a bag of greenish peppercorns labeles “wild pepper.” Is this the same thing? I tasted one when I got home and it had a very strong pine flavor and numbed mt mouth.
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 18, 2015 at 1:49 PM
Danielle, there are red and green sichuan peppercorns. Red is fragrant and less numbing (more common), and green is very numbing. You can certainly try using what you have now (which sounds like green sichuan peppercorns) in a slightly reduced amount and see how you like it. Then add more if needed.
KristinFebruary 20, 2015 at 4:38 AM
I’m going to a Chinese New Year dinner party this Saturday and am bringing a cold noodle dish of some sort. I would LOVE to try this…there will be close to 20 of us there, but we’re all bringing dishes to share. Could I double or triple everything but the chili paste? Any other suggestions?
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 20, 2015 at 1:22 PM
Kristin: Yeah of course you can! You can make 4 times the recipe. If you have a food scale, that would even make your life easier.
RyanApril 9, 2015 at 6:42 AM
You’ll never believe how happy this recipe made me tonight. When I lived in Chicago there was a little Sichuan place that made a cold noodle salad. It was a regular favorite of mine. When I moved away from Chicago I feared I would never be able to enjoy those noodles again, but this recipe tastes exactly like them. The only difference was they had a small amount of ground pork with some preserved vegetables mixed in, which I added to your noodle recipe. This recipe made my week. Thanks!
trading websitesAugust 12, 2015 at 10:25 PM
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You know a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa).
You definitely put a new spin on a subject that has been
written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just excellent!
NNDecember 21, 2015 at 9:58 PM
Hi! I am making a jar of your sesame sauce as a little home made Christmas present for a friend, do you know how long it might last in the fridge?
Im also making your chill oil and spicy peanut brittle as presents too! I love your blog!
mandy@ladyandpupsDecember 22, 2015 at 5:01 AM
NN, I would say up to 4 days to be safe :)
AngelaJanuary 15, 2016 at 11:44 AM
Unreal delicious! My Chinese mum, whom I made this dish for, said it was the best sesame noodle she’s had. The flavour of sesame shines in this dish.
I used the chili oil from your Xi-an hot rice ribbons. I piled on so much cucumber and radish that it was about 1/3 veg and 2/3 noodle! But I loved it that way. With the peanuts and sesame seeds, there was so much CRUNCH in this dish. In my haste to eat I forgot to make the egg strips…
TheoJuly 7, 2016 at 5:14 AM
FINALLY, a recipe for proper cold spicy sichuan sesame noodles that is GREAT. I have been dying for these ever since Dynasty on 110th (upper west side, NYC) went out of business. This recipe is PERFECT. This is my very favorite go-to summer lunch. BTW, so many of your recipes are exactly what I have been looking for since I started going to Beijing and Chongqing regularly 12 years ago, and then have to return to the culinary desert of the West. The food is worth the other challenges of mainland China, hands down. I am a sichuan addict, not the weak-kneed piss-ant blandness that passes for sichuan cuisine here in the great wasteland, but proper Chengdu and Chongqing fare. Your recipes do the trick! Keep posting, it is much appreciated.
AnnitaJuly 27, 2016 at 6:08 PM
Hi, since living in HK I have discovered Sichuan Cold Noodles and your recipe is the only one I have found which looks remotely like it’s worth trying! I’m super excited because it looks so authentic. I obviously have no problems sourcing the ingredients but I’m wondering what kind of curry powder do you use? I have a few different kinds which have pretty different flavours. Thanks!
Nope NopeSeptember 17, 2017 at 5:52 AM
No! Very disappointed. I tried this recipe step by step exactly as described, with the freshest ingredients, and it was not good. It was dense, heavy, muddy, and nothing like actual Sichuan noodles and sauce that stays bright, refreshing, and numbingly spicy. Sorry everyone. Keep looking.
Nadja Gordon SöderlingOctober 4, 2017 at 5:48 AM
This is an amazing recipe, just loved it! Perfect balance of creamy richness, heat, sweetness and a touch of acid from the vinegar..Really impressed :)
Wendy TienJune 12, 2019 at 12:42 AM
I made this dish just in time for a heat wave in LA – so good! I piled on the fresh cucumbers for that crunch and contrast to the sesame paste and spicy numbing of the peppercorns. This is going into my permanent rotation.
ShaneJuly 12, 2020 at 11:30 PM
What does 2 servings of ramen noodles mean? Two pounds?
mandy@ladyandpupsJuly 13, 2020 at 1:33 AM
Shane, I meant like those bricks of instant ramen noodles? If you don’t have those you can use fresh ramen noodles, too. I’d say one serving is a medium handful raw noodles.
ShaneJuly 16, 2020 at 11:03 PM
ShaneJuly 17, 2020 at 9:50 AM
I have to also add that I love this recipe. I searched far and wide for sichuan noodle recipe before I settled on this one and I’m so glad I did. This is very good. Thank you for sharing!