Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Cold Sesame Noodles

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

While many of you could recognize cold sesame noodles and have probably eaten them more than a couple times, there seems to be little consensus about what goes into this popular dish. It should be a simple affair, but many recipes tend to overcomplicate things and lose the appeal of the dish's simplicity. It should be made with Chinese noodles—the kind that retain more chewiness than regular Italian pasta—and the sauce should be creamy, salty, tart, and fiery.

I'm particularly taken with this version from Mad Hungry by Lucinda Scala Quinn, which is the first I've seen that relies completely on tahini rather than using peanut butter and excessive amounts of sesame oil. The result isn't heavy or gummy—it's lighter and creamier than any version I've tried. Along with the usual suspects in this dish—soy sauce, ginger, garlic—it's got the hallmark balance of flavors that make cold sesame noodles so pleasing.

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