Make your own best takeout.
Chinese peanut sesame noodles are a popular dish for a reason. (Though not as popular as General Tso’s chicken or egg rolls, according to this survey.) Tasty warm or chilled, the flavor of sesame and a touch of peanut butter are mild, but nonetheless perfectly flavorful, especially when combined with bright scallion and a hit of salt and acid from soy sauce and rice vinegar.
Backstory: Chinese Peanut Sesame Noodles
I love developing my own recipes. But I also love sharing others’ recipes that I love and think are worth knowing. This is one of those recipes. The New York Times‘s über-popular recipe for Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles boasts over 6,500 five-star reviews and counting.
This recipe is closely adapted from this Chinese-American classic. I have substituted dry pasta instead of fresh noodles (virtually the same result, and easier and less expensive to source), and slightly adjusted a couple of ingredients and added scallions.
Recipe Notes: Chinese Peanut Sesame Noodles
This dish comes together quickly, especially if you make the sauce in advance. You’ll want to have room-temperature or slightly warm noodles when you stir in the sauce. This keeps the sauce nice and silky instead of seizing up. A few more notes:
- I love to top this with some lightly-crushed peanuts for a bit of crunch and texture
- If you are able to find fresh lo mein noodles, the equivalent will be one pound. Otherwise, use 8 to 10 ounces dry spaghetti.
More Asian-Inspired Favorites:
- Thai Coconut Chicken and Vegetable Curry
- Chicken and Shrimp Fried Rice
- Homemade Wonton Soup
- Spicy Sesame Rice Noodles With Broccoli
Chinese Peanut Sesame Noodles
- 8 ounces dried spaghetti noodles or 1 pound fresh or frozen thin lo mein noodles
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil, plus a glug
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (or tahini if not available, though this will taste a bit more mild)
- 1 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoons finely-grated fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons chili paste or chili oil, or to taste
- 2 scallions, green and light green parts, sliced thin
- peanuts and sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain, rinse well with cold water, and toss with a glug of sesame oil.
- Whisk together the 2 tablespoons sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, tahini or sesame paste, peanut butter, sugar, ginger, garlic, and chili paste/oil (if using).
- Pour the sauce over the noodles and toss to coat with most of the scallions and a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds. Serve, garnishing with some peanuts, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and the remaining scallions.PRO TIP: Have leftovers? The sauce may seize up in the fridge, making the noodles appear a little dry. Rewarm in a pot over medium-low heat with a couple tablespoons of water, tossing frequently, until reconstituted.