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Spicy Sesame Noodles With Broccoli

Broccoli and rice noodles with a kick.

I am always on the hunt for a great Asian noodle recipe, preferably one that’s easy, flavorful, and maybe a little spicy. This spicy sesame noodles recipe makes a great meal on its own, with broccoli and a spicy tahini sesame sauce. 

spicy Asian sesame rice noodle salad with broccoli

All About This Spicy Sesame Noodles Recipe

I love developing my own recipes, but I also love cooking others’ recipes. And one cook I dearly love and respect is Hetty Lui McKinnon, an accomplished, lovely Chinese-Australian cook and food writer. Hetty has beautifully channeled her background and general love of Asian food into one of my favorite cookbooks of 2021, To Asia With Love.

I’ve been cooking my way through her cookbook. But one of my unexpectedly favorite dishes thus far? Her spicy sesame noodles recipe. This dish is a quick recipe made from wide rice noodles, some broccoli, tahini, fresh herbs, and a generous (albeit optional) helping of Chinese chili oil.

ingredients for Chinese noodle salad broccoli tahini garlic rice noodles

How to Cook Rice Noodles

Rice noodles cook quickly and are a satisfying, versatile, gluten-free noodle. But because they are gluten free, they tend to break if overcooked. Rice noodles also contain a lot of starch. The starch can make the noodles very sticky — even gummy — if not cooked and rinsed correctly.

Here are the main guideposts for how to cook rice noodles:

  1. Season the water. Bring it to a boil and cook the rice noodles, stirring occasionally, according to the package directions, until al dente. This will probably be about 6 to 7 minutes.
  2. Rinse the noodles very well under cold water to get the excess starch off and stop the cooking.
  3. Proceed with the recipe.

chinese chili oil ingredients hot pepper Sichuan peppercorns garlic ginger

Pre-Step One: Homemade Chinese Chili Oil

I am generally not a fan of “hidden” recipes: the recipes within recipes. But this recipe starts with whipping up a quick batch of homemade chili oil. No problem. It takes about two minutes, and makes enough for leftovers. Chili oil is always good to have on hand.

If you do not want to make homemade chili oil, the store-bought kind works great, or you can leave it out altogether.

broccoli in skillet with rice noodles and fresh herbs

How to Make Spicy Sesame Noodles With Broccoli

This recipe comes together quickly, so make sure you have all your prep done and ingredients out.

  1. Cook the rice noodles until al dente. Rinse well.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the tahini, garlic, and some water until smooth and pourable. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a skillet. Add some oil and cook the broccoli until charred and just tender. You want some bite.
  4. Toss the broccoli with the noodles and sauce. Season.
  5. Drizzle with oil and top with scallions and cilantro.

spicy Asian sesame rice noodle salad with broccoli

How to Serve These Sesame Noodles

Room temperature, with lots of fresh scallions and cilantro. Serving this at room temperature means it’s a great warm-weather dish.

If you like these noodles, you’ll also love:

spicy Asian sesame rice noodle salad with broccoli

Spicy Asian Sesame Noodles With Broccoli

An easy rice noodle salad recipe with broccoli, tahini, and plenty of fresh herbs for a perfect summer noodle dish. Adapted from Hetty McKinnon.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Course: dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Asian, Chinese
Keywords:: asian, broccoli, caesar salad, dinner, easy, gluten-free, hetty mckinnon, pasta, rice noodles, sesame, tahini, vegan, vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
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Ingredients

  • 10 oz. or so dried wide rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • Neutral vegetable oil, such as canola
  • 2 heads broccoli, cut into florets (don't forget to peel and include the thick stem; it's delicious!)
  • 2-3 tablespoons chili oil (recipe follows)
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • Generous handful fresh cilantro leaves
  • Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
  • Sesame seeds, to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Make the chili oil, if using. Set aside.
  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rice noodles and cook, stirring occasionally, to al dente, about 6 or 7 minutes. Drain well under cold water and set aside.
  • While the noodles are cooking, whisk together the tahini, minced garlic, and 1/2 to 3/4 cup cold water, until it's smooth and pourable. Season with pepper and about 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste.
    PRO TIP: If you can find it, I like Soom-brand tehini. It's high quality, preferred by numerous chefs, and is a woman-owned business.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. When the oil is hot and shimmering and moves quickly in the skillet, add the broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Cook, turning frequently, for about 5 to 7 minutes, until charred and just tender.
  • Combine the noodles and broccoli into a large mixing bowl with the tahini sauce. Add the sesame oil and toss to coat. Taste for seasoning.
  • Portion the broccoli rice noodles into individual bowls. Drizzle with chili oil and garnish generously with fresh scallions, cilantro, and a pinch sesame seeds. Serve at room temperature.

3 comments

  • Can you please be a bit more specific about the quantity of broccoli needed? A pound? Thank you.

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Andi. One pound, more or less, will be perfect. Great question. Enjoy!

  • elena v.

    5 stars
    Surprisingly delicious. The tehini sauce is very satisfying but not heavy. Important to use enough water in the sauce so it is not dry. Will make again.

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