Sesame Noodles are like the Nectar of the Gods. There’s just something about the combination of that sesame flavor with soy sauce that makes them a unique culinary experience. You can make them mild or hot. You can use fresh Chinese noodles, or linguine. And there’s no limit to what you can add to them — Snow Peas, peas, peppers, cucumbers, or shredded carrots. This recipe calls for frozen peas, but use your imagination. As you might guess, mine are also on the spicy side. If you want to make them hot, there’s nothing like making your own chili oil. You can, of course, cheat and buy hot oil, but I recommend you make your own.
This recipe calls for 16 oz of noodles, which makes a lot. The beauty of these noodles is that they taste better as they age. Put the leftovers in your refrigerator, then simply bring them to room temperature and give them a toss when you’re ready to eat them.
16 oz of noodles*
Salt (just enough to put in the noodle water)
1/2 cup Tahini paste (sesame seed paste)
1/2 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
6 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce or Tamari
4 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
Bunch of scallions (whites and greens separated, thinly sliced; plus slice some of the greenest part of the scallion thinly lengthwise for garnish)
2 tbsp of sesame seeds (I use one tsp white and one black)
1.5 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tbsp fresh hot peppers, chopped (tabasco, habanero, jalapeno — your choice)
1.5 cups frozen peas (defrosted)
While you’re making your hot chili oil, bring a pan of water (and some salt) to boil and cook your noodles. Remember to use a big pan. The noodles cook faster and they will not stick together. When noodles are done, strain and rinse well with cold water. Allow to drain completely.
Pour the 1/2 cup of canola oil into a skillet. Add the scallion whites, sesame seeds, chopped peppers, red pepper flakes. Simmer over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes or until the scallions are browned. Set aside and allow to cool.
Whisk Tahini paste, soy sauce (or Tamari), roasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sugar. Now, here’s where some suggest you should add a portion of your chili oil to the mix. I’m suggesting you want to use the whole thing, especially if you like spice and a bit of heat. You can either drain off about 4 tablespoons of the oil and add to the mixture, or you can toss the whole shebang into the sauce. That’s what I do. Trust me. It’s delicious. Add the rest of the sliced scallion greens (except the ones you’ve sliced lengthwise) and the peas. Pour on the sauce and mix well.
Top the dish with the scallion greens you’ve sliced lengthwise, and sprinkle some more black and white sesame seeds on top. Done.
Note: If you use Snow Peas in place of the frozen peas. Remember to blanch them first and allow them to cool.
*I use the fresh Chinese soba noodles for this dish as opposed to the dry Ramen noodles. These are generally in one of the coolers (not freezers) in the grocery store. In my store, they are kept with the pizza dough and pre-packaged specialty meats, like Pancetta and Italian cold cuts. Ask your grocer if you cannot find them.