The Secret Ingredient (Ginger Jam): Ginger Sesame Noodles Recipe

Kerry Saretsky

When I first moved to Florida from Manhattan, there were a few things I missed. Like winter. And sesame noodles. So much, that when I went up to New York for the weekend, I bought two big orders of them, and packed away the snap-shut plastic containers in the overhead bin on the flight down to Florida. A better laid plan has never gone more awry.

When we landed at Palm Beach International, I opened the overhead bin; immediately, the smell of cold Chinese sesame noodles flooded the aircraft, nose to tail. I knew what it was, but all the other passengers looked around, gasping, demanding, who did that? But I wasn't so embarrassed that I left them on the plane. At the last second, I grabbed my precious sesame package and made a run for it. In front of my TV that night, seated on the couch, nutty noodles dangling from my mouth, I could have no regrets.

I love cold sesame noodles. Cheap. Delicious. Substantial. If you've never had the real deal, imagine a creamy, savory sauce made from peanut butter, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and a splash of stock. The sauce zips onto the noodles, and the whole thing is topped with a cold julienne salad of cucumber. It never occurred to me that I could make it at home.

But it is incredibly simple, and I imagine a good deal healthier. My secret ingredient in this version of sesame noodles is ginger jam, a thick spread made from spicy ginger and sugar, that gives a sweet heat to the sauce, an Asian back-of-the-throat kick of ginger, and even more thickness. Now, I don't have to suffer for my noodles. I can make them, and smell them, in the privacy of my own kitchen.

Recipe Facts

Active: 5 mins
Total: 10 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 1 pound wide lo mein noodles
  • 6 tablespoons smooth peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoon boiling water
  • 3 tablespoon ginger jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 4 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 scallions, chopped


  1. Cook the noodles in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain, and rinse with cold water.

  2. Meanwhile, whisk together all the other ingredients into a smooth sauce. Gently toss the noodles with the sauce, and serve.