Summers in Shanghai are blistering hot. Even as someone who loves a piping hot bowl of noodles on any given day, those couple of months were unbearable. If I was craving noodles, my mom would make peanut sesame cold noodles (花生芝麻凉面) to quell those needs. This recipe only requires a quick mix of a variety of delicious sauces, boiling thin noodles quickly and rinsing them under cold water, and adding a bit of crunch with julienned vegetables.
With the peanut butter and sesame paste as the base of the sauce, we rarely ate this with any other side dishes because it is so filling. A quick 10-minute meal for lunch or a speedy weekday dinner, this recipe is great when temperatures run high, and you want something easy, refreshing, and filling.
Ingredients for peanut sesame cold noodles
- Handful of whole wheat noodles: I like to use the thin variety because they cook a lot faster. However, this sauce goes great with thick, curly noodles as they adhere to the surface. More sauce appreciation!
- Creamy, natural peanut butter
- Sesame paste: You can find these at any Asian grocery store, usually where you would also find the other condiments and sauces such as soy sauce and vinegar. If you don't have sesame paste, you can also sub with equal parts tahini.
- Soy sauce: we usually use the low sodium variety
- Oyster sauce
- Black vinegar
- Miran - if you don't have miran, you can sub with some rice vinegar with a teaspoon of granulated sugar
- White sesame seeds
- Julienned cucumber
- Chopped purple and green cabbage
- Julienned carrots
Instructions for peanut sesame cold noodles recipe
Mix together sauce ingredients, put peanut butter and sesame paste in a bowl first. Then add oyster sauce, soy sauce, mirin* and black vinegar to thin out the paste. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time to get the sauce to a thinner consistency.
*Use rice vinegar and sugar to sub for mirin
Boil a pot of water and cook thin noodles for 6-8 minutes depending on package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Rinsing the noodles under cold water will help keep them nice, springy, and chewy. This also helps keep them from getting lumpy and from sticking together.
Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss so the sauce covers all the noodle surface!
Julienne cucumbers and carrots to serve over the noodles for extra crunch. If you're looking for an easier way, I sometimes have a pack of chopped lettuce and toss it over the noodles in lieu of prepping the vegetables myself. Sprinkle with white sesame seeds.
Frequently asked questions
Ideally, you'll use smooth peanut butter. We typically have the natural kind at home, but you are free to use the conventional kind of at home. When I'm in a crunch and only have crunchy peanut butter, I also use those and it still adds a nice texture with the peanut bits!
I would recommend using a thin, straight wheat-based noodle such as Lanzhou hand-pulled noodles or somen. However, some people prefer thicker, curly noodles which also works great with this sauce!
Looking for more noodle dishes?
Peanut Sesame Cold Noodles
- 2 tablespoon white sesame seeds
- ½ cucumbers (julienned)
- ½ carrots (julienned)
- Mix together sauce ingredients, put peanut butter and sesame paste in a bowl first. Then add oyster sauce, soy sauce, mirin and black vinegar to thin out the paste. Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time to get the sauce to a thinner consistency.
- Boil a pot of water and cook thin noodles for 6-8 minutes depending on package instructions. Drain and rinse under cold water.
- Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss so the sauce covers all the noodle surface.
- Julienne cucumbers and carrots to serve over the noodles for extra crunch. Sprinkle on white sesame seeds.