Spicy Sesame Noodles

Spicy-Noodles-2

 

My niece is one of those crazy vegetarians.  Not the total nutjob vegan type but your average every day vegetarian.  I, on the other hand am one of those freakshow  meat eaters.  Meat, meat, meat.  I. Eat. Meat.

I thought I ate a lot of it.  I thought I was the meat eater of the century, capable of winning awards and making third world countries disease free with the juice of my antibiotic laced meat sweats.  Turns out … maybe I’m not as good at is as I thought.

For the past 2 years, for whatever reason, I’ve been taking a quick iPhone picture of my dinner and sending it to my niece before I settle down to put my incisors to good use.  She Oooosss and Ahhhhsss over all of the vegetables, noodles and extra stuff while making barfing sounds at the sight of the meat.  It’s our thing.  I make fun of her “lifestyle” as a vegetarian she makes fun of mine as a barbarian.  Then we talk about what’s going on in Homeland this season and whether or not we think her husband will make it a full month without injuring himself in some ridiculous way.

But the other day I scrolled through a few hundred of my dinner photos and realized … I’m not the Majesty of Meat at all.  I probably eat meat 3 out of 7 days a week which barely counts as a meat eater at all.  I’d be laughed right out of caveman training.

Technically the recipe I’m going to show you today could be served with chicken but I kindda like it without. In fact, I way prefer it meatless.

It’s Spicy Sesame Noodles.  And it all comes down to the sauce.

I’ve been trying, searching for, experimenting with developing a spicy peanut type sauce for years now.  I’d pretty much given up on it actually, then a month or so ago I thought I’d give it another shot.

I know there are a bunch of sesame noodle recipes out there that are really easy and pretty good, but I didn’t want pretty good.  I wanted great.

And low and behold it’s not only vegetarian, it’s VEGAN.

 

 

Spicy-Noodles-3

 

The important thing to this recipe, the only thing really, is the sauce.  It’s a spicy sesame/peanut sauce that will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks.  Probably longer actually but it’s never lasted that long around these parts because it’s so versatile.  This sauce is GREAT on noodles, chicken, fried tofu, spring rolls, and it’s especially good stirred into one of my favourite side dishes,  sautéed kale with shredded carrots.

There are other sesame noodle sauce recipes with less ingredients, but that’s why they taste a bit flat.  This one has more depth of flavour making it taste more complex.  In other words better.

 

 

Spicy-Noodles-overhead

 

The other great thing about this recipe is it’s completely customizable.  I’ve developed it for my tastes and so it has a balance of sweet, salty, acidic and heat. But if you don’t like heat, then just don’t add the chili pepper flakes.  If you LOVE heat, then add more.

Ditto for the sugar, ginger, or anything else.

 

Spicy Sesame Noodles
 
Prep time
Cook time
 
Author:
: Sauce, Main Course
: Asian
Serves: 4 large servings
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ½ tsp your favourite hot sauce
  • ¼ tsp. hot pepper flakes
  • ½ cup of hot water (approximately)
  • 1 lb Chinese Noodles (like Instant noodles for instance)
  • 4 green onions (sliced thin)
  • 1 carrot (grated or sliced in matchsticks)
  • 1 red bell pepper (sliced very thin)
Instructions
  1. To toast your sesame seeds just put them in a dry pan over medium low heat and toast until golden.
  2. Reserve 1 Tablespoon of the sesame seeds for garnish.
  3. Add the sesame seeds, soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, hot sauce, and pepper flakes to a blender or food processor. Blend until combined well.
  4. Add the water a tiny bit at a time until the sauce becomes runny like cream. Stop adding water once you're at the right consistency. You might not use all the water.
  5. Cook the noodles according to package directions. Instant noodles only take 1 minute to cook.
  6. Strain noodles and add the green onions, carrots and red peppers. Toss with the sauce then garnish with reserved sesame seeds.
Notes
For the vegan version choose noodles made without eggs.

 

Keep any leftover sauce in the fridge. It’s great for chicken satays.

Unless of course you’re a vegetarian. Or vegan.  If that’s the case then insert barfing sounds here.

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102 Comments

  1. Paula says:

    Looks really good! What is that kitchen utensil?

  2. Alison says:

    Paula, it’s a spider! It’s great for deep frying, but it works like a charm to scoop things out of boiling water! (Karen, hope I didn’t steal your thunder; I just love my own spider so much, I couldn’t help myself!)

  3. Pam says:

    Spicy peanut sauce is one of my favorite things and though I’m not much of a cook I may try this one out. Thanks for posting a vegetarian (non-barf) recipe!

  4. ruth says:

    Okay I’m trying this. I still haven’t found the recipe I like but I trust your tastebuds.

  5. Luanne says:

    Mmm, looks yummy! I may try that with glass noodles. But… I don’t make noodles a lot – does that really say 1 lb of noodles? That sounds like a lot.

  6. Lynne says:

    This sounds like the flavour profile I have been looking for and have never quite been able to achieve. If I wasn’t already in bed all cozy and warm I would be making them right now, I am so looking forward to tomorrow! This works as breakfast food right? 🙂

  7. calliek says:

    I like a little bit of sesame oil in my peanut sauce. Also, I use chili garlic paste – saves having to add the hot sauce and garlic separately.

    • Karen says:

      Yup. You could throw in sesame oil too. (I like toasted.) I use chili flakes because they’re dried chilis that I grew this summer and dried out and they have a LOT of heat in them. ~ karen!

  8. Amber says:

    4 servings, my patootie! This is two servings on a good day!
    Think you can small size your readers, do you?

  9. Amber says:

    Do you think tahini or cashew butter would be a better substitute for those of us with nut allergies?

    • Karen says:

      Cashew butter would work great. It’s the nut taste that you have to replace. (as opposed to adding more sesame taste) ~ karen!

  10. Grammy says:

    I’ve been looking for a good peanut sauce. This is it.

  11. trish says:

    found this post deeply disturbing –whaddya mean KALE and shredded carrot is your fave side dish!? As part of my trawl thru your archives to catch up wth all your other lucky followers who’ve known about you for years, found homework to try a new vegetable. So jumping in the deep end i grabbed the weirdest looking most unlikely vege from the supermarket to try. It was curly kale == it is weird, it looks weird it tastes weird and most disturbingly it feels weird — and this is a favourite vegie . . . ? maybe canadian kale is different from kiwi kale

    • Karen says:

      There is a big difference in different types of kale! Black Kale (dinosaur kale, lacinato kale) is less bitter than regular kale and less tough. It’s the only kale I grow or eat. And you have to cut it into thin strips otherwise it stays tough. Add in the shredded carrots AND the peanut sauce (kind of the scene stealer really) and you’ll like kale. Probably. Maybe. ~ karen!

  12. Louise says:

    Mmmmm . . . sounds yummy! And heck, if this only takes 10 minutes I’m in!

    Your easy broccoli soup recipe is absolutely wonderful, so I will follow your recipes slavishly from now on! 😉

  13. Glynis says:

    This looks – and sounds so delicious. And I have all the ingredients too for both the sauce and the noodle/veg combo. Guess what I’ll be making…

  14. Maura says:

    Looks fresh and delicious! I will try it tonight. Love that little jar you used to stored the peanut sauce. Was that bought online?

    • Karen says:

      I bought it at my local kitchen store, but you can buy them online. It’s a Wecks jar. Even though they’re made for canning I don’t recommend them for canning, they’re VERY finicky. But they’re great for the sort of thing I use them for (like holding sauces). ~ karen!

  15. Jane P says:

    Yummy, I agree with Maura that this dish looks fresh & delicious. I have a simple sauce for Thai pizza that is also tasty with a little heat. Love hearing about your relationship with your niece. What is her favorite vegetarian dish?

    • Heather says:

      Thai pizza? Do tell!

    • Karen says:

      Cookies. ~ karen!

      • Marti says:

        Can we get back to the Thai pizza recipe, please?

        Karen: Nice to see you back in the kitchen. I came to TADS looking for a recipe and voila! You send one out. Hurray!

        • Marti says:

          Btw, I make a similar “Sesame Noodle” dish based on a recipe from some other woman named Martha, somewhere. I discovered it’s pretty great substituting kale for the noodles. I started to live happily ever after. You might try that sometime. I can only imagine the experience would be enhanced by the addition of peanut butter.

          Um, and some leftover roast rotis chicken.

          • Karen says:

            Would that be similar to the side dish I say I love that’s … kale with peanut sauce? ~ karen!

            • Marti says:

              No, because the dish I make is EVERYTHING…. not a “side.” It’s the main event anytime I can get kale for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I buy the little baby kale in the bag at Costco when they have it. No “bitter” anywhere near.

              But… I don’t have a good front yard like you do.

        • Karen says:

          Just for you lady! ~ karen

  16. magali says:

    very excited to try this!

  17. Amanda Rudack says:

    I, also, need to know about that little glass container. In a right-now-where-do-I-buy-it sort of way.

  18. Heather says:

    Sounds yum. I have a favourite peanut dipping sauce that I learned years ago at a cooking class that I love. So good with shrimp chips! Unfortunately right this minute I am on Weight Watchers – so this recipe will have to wait for awhile. My daughter has recently discovered PB2 and using it for recipes to cut down on the fat content. http://www.bellplantation.com/products/pb2-powdered-peanut-butter.html. If I try it I will let you know how it works out.

    I love those Weck jars but have never bought any. Do they seal as well as a Mason jar? They sure are pretty!

  19. Karol says:

    On a side note… your photography skills are excellent!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for saying that Karol! Going down to 3 posts a week has given me a bit more time to set things up and really figure lighting out. Stuff I didn’t have time for before because I had to rush through everything. I think it’s made a big difference in my shots. ~ karen!

  20. brenda says:

    yummmmmm throw in some shrimp and I’m all over this

  21. Connie S. says:

    Looking forward to trying this with my daughter who’s been vegetarian for almost 2 decades. I esp. enjoy Thai -asian style foods so this quick dinner would satisfy ALL of us, especially if i make the chicken satay for her meat eating brother and Dad 😉
    Going to make the sauce right now !
    thx Karen

  22. Mary Werner says:

    Once the sauce is in the fridge, this supper would take less time than getting up to refill my iced tea. I LOVE sesame seeds! I love sautéed kale but never tried it with shredded carrots. Think that will be my next BIG effort at cooking. Thanks for some more good food recipes.

  23. SuzyMcQ says:

    Looks delish! I too, add sesame oil and some cucumbers as well. If I have some fetuccini or linguine I use that rather than going to the overwhelming noodle aisle at the Asian grocery.

    • Karen says:

      Try to brave the noodle aisle, lol. Your regular grocery store should have “Instant Noodles”. They’re the fastest and easiest way to go. One minute! ~ karen

  24. Teri says:

    I take exception to calling people who don’t eat meat, dairy or eggs “nut jobs”. There is nothing wrong with eating a whole food plant based diet and actually the word Vegan means more …it is a whole different lifestyle. Vegans ( Peta people) are the ones that throw stuff on people that wear animal products etc. Not all people who don’t eat meat, dairy and eggs refer to themselves as VEGAN. I don’t eat that stuff but call myself a Whole foods plant based or starchivore.
    Now to the recipes….sounds great and it is great…you can even sub in the PB2 to cut back on the fat calories in the recipe. So “barf barf” to your meat….

    • Karen says:

      I’m guessing you might be new here. The nut job reference was hyperbole. Although frankly I do think vegetarians are nut jobs. Which is fine. I eat meat. They think I’m a nut job. No big whoop. As far as the word Vegan goes, it actually means exactly what I said it does. People who don’t eat animal products. Here’s the definition in Webster’s Dictionary. The term vegan was first used in 1944 to describe someone who doesn’t eat anything related to animals. Peta on the other hand didn’t even form until 1980. So there you go. Barf away. 😉 ~ karen!

  25. Cred says:

    I love Thai peanut sauce but since it’s not my husband’s favourite, I’ve never tried researching recipes and making my own. Because I trust your recipes and since you suggest it will keep in the fridge for a few weeks, I am making this today. If it tastes like you describe, I dont expect that it will last long even if I’m the only one eating it…. out of the jar with a spoon.
    Does the type of peanut butter matter- regular Kraft okay or would you suggest an all natural peanut butter?

  26. Yeah. I’ll be trying that. Photograph is dynamite! Thanks for the skinny on the Weck jars. They just didn’t look like they would seal properly. I love all of their shapes, however.

  27. I used to be a freakshow meat eater, and then I switched to nutjob vegan overnight, and I haven’t looked back! I had no idea that I would not only feel way better, but that my palette would change and now I WAY prefer my vegan diet.

    P.S. that dish you just made is vegan! 😉

  28. amanda g says:

    Ok, this post confirms that you are my psychic twin. Or that noodles are my psychic twin….it confirms something. A spicy peanut sauce I can stash and eat at a moment’s notice? Thank you Goddess Of Sesame Noodles. My vegetarian self, my nutjob vegan daughter, and my 19 yr old newly vegetarian son, (formerly known as ‘the Baconator’) thank you most sincerely!

  29. Carole McGinnis says:

    Yum – I love it when you post recipes. They are ALWAYS awesome!

  30. Gwen H. says:

    Looks good. I may have to take this to a potluck.

  31. Laura Bee says:

    Sounds awesome. I just finished my lunch of MrNoodles with a dash of sesame oil. Then I come here & see this. Weird. Next time I’ll try this!

    • Laura Bee says:

      And a little more weird for you- I piocked up a glass ginger grater today at a charity shop near me. The ladies were unpacking a bag of donations & I saw them pull it out & I had to have it. Adding ginger to my shopping list.

  32. Shauna says:

    Funny, on the menu tonight is chicken satay:) I usually make it with rice, but I’m thinking I might do noodles tonight.

  33. cbblue says:

    Oh Karen,
    This stuff is wonderful! My husband made it with garlic chili oil and chicken. It was amazing! Thank you so much for giving us this recipe. I may have to figure out what kale is; other than the ornamental variety. Now we may need to build a pizza oven. Thank you very much. Jeanne in Wisconsin

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for coming back and letting me know! If you’ve never heard of kale and you try it … you’ll hate it, lol. Unless you happen to like bitter greens. If you do buy it see if you can find the black or lacinato version. It has dark blueish leaves. It’s not as bitter or tough as the regular kale. SUPER healthy though. ~ karen!

  34. Heaven. I’m in heaven. Sing it now. LOVE> LOVE. LOVE> LOVE. Just sayin’. I’m making this every day for the rest of my life.

    • Karen says:

      O.K., well how be you try it once and then decide before committing to a life of it, lol. That’s probably me being overly cautious though. ~ karen!

  35. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Most anything noodles is popular here!

  36. Audrey says:

    Karen, I made this tonight and it was SUBLIME! When I tasted the sauce I heard angels sing! Thank you SO much!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for coming back and letting me know! I don’t mind if you share, but let’s face it, angels probably have enough good stuff goin’ on in their lives. So I hope you didn’t offer them any. ~ karen!

  37. Jan in Waterdown says:

    Alrighty, this looks like a good one to try out soon, especially since red peppers are $1.99/lb starting tomorrow @ my local grocery store. Karen, have you tried your fresh pea sprouts with it? I also really need to give kale a shot so thanks for the tips. Everyone just seems to go all gaga over it so I feel like such a loser for not jumping on it . . .

  38. MARILYN JOHNSON says:

    You said that the Sesame sauce last for a few weeks. I am confused. How much do I put into this recipe or do I use all of it????

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marilyn. You just add enough sauce to coat however many noodles (or pieces of chicken, etc.) that you have. A single serving of noodles would take a few tablespoons of sauce to coat them. ~ karen!

  39. Connie S. says:

    OMG, This was delish! I made the sauce and served it for dinner tonite with chowmein noodles , carrots , red peppers and broccoli, with the green onions for the garnish. I had my concerns because the sauce seemed watery ( i only used 1/4 cup water) but it thickened up nicely with the heat of the noodles and veggies.
    The only thing is , i used up most of the sauce and there’s hardly any left over for another meal , LoL. Yup, It was that good!! It’s a keeper. Well done Karen .

  40. She Yoshi says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and love it but have never commented before, but my boyfriend made this for dinner yesterday and it was SO GOOD I felt the need to comment on this. He used spaghetti noodles and red wine vinegar instead of rice vinegar since he just threw it all together last minute. I was just telling him how much I was craving peanut noodles and then you made this post! Very fortuitous. And we are both vegetarian 🙂 Thank you for all your hard work experimenting with peanut sauces!!

    • Karen says:

      Thank YOU for finally commenting, lol. Glad you liked the sauce. Clearly you loved it to have gotten a first comment out of you! I’m pretty proud of my concoction. Think I might have it tomorrow night with fried tofu. Huh. Fried tofu. I’m gonna get laughed out of meat eaters camp. ~ karen!

  41. Leslie says:

    Thanks! I needed this!

  42. Bonnie says:

    This recipe was so timely and so good. I had a group of family and friends coming over and wasn’t sure how many would stay for dinner. But, I knew we had vegetarians, meat eaters, seafood eaters, old people who don’t like new-tangled food, and omnivores. So, I made a pot of noodles and mixed them with the slivered carrots, red pepper, green onions and sauce. Then I had separate bowls with ingredients to add according to taste–steamed broccoli, sautéed shrimp, and sautéed chicken. The shrimp and chicken were sautéed in a little oil and soy sauce. Everyone enjoyed this meal so much! It was delicious, nutritious, and met everyone’s needs. Thanks! I will be making this again.

    • Karen says:

      That’s a stinkin’ GREAT idea Bonnie! Seriously great. A noodle bar! I’m glad it was a hit. Isn’t it fun when food is a hit? ~ karen!

      • Bonnie says:

        Yes, but I woke up at 5:00 am this morning craving those noodles. So good! I will be making this again soon.

  43. kimberly says:

    oh my gosh! so so so good. i used sesame oil since i didn’t have sesame seeds for the dressing. I used a bag of pre-shredded cabbage/veggie fixings from the market. Popped the dressing into a recycled salad dressing squeeze bottle. At work today, threw everything into a large serving bowl with the noodles – my coworkers loved it. got lots of compliments and requests for the recipe. thank you

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Kimberly. And thanks for sharing the recipe with people. It looks like this may end up being a real reader favourite. ~ karen!

  44. Alexandra says:

    “4 large servings” *snort*

    I made it with cappellini pasta, because that’s what I had on hand. I cooked less pasta (one serving only) but made the whole amount of the sauce, because you said it could be stored. WRONG. I guzzled the sauce straight out of the jar during the 3 minutes it took to cook the pasta.
    I may be able to use it for a vegetable dip tomorrow. For a single carrot.
    Long story short: It tastes great. Thanks for the recipe, Karen!

  45. Lili says:

    This is the best peanut sauce recipe I have ever tasted…thank you so much for sharing. (I know this because I have already made it twice since your post.) p.s. I adore your blog. ~Lili

  46. Bonnie says:

    One last comment on this delicious recipe. I added some baby kale to the little bit of leftover noodles and sauce when I heated them up. The baby kale was good and not bitter.

  47. jo says:

    Going to try this as soon as we do a grocery run. Question. The vegetables are not cooked? Also looking for the Thai pizza recipe.

  48. Vanessa says:

    Forgive me…I’m a noodle idiot….but can I use ramen noodles?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Vanessa. Sureeee. Why not? People use italian pasta noodles for this (like spaghetti) which I’m kind of opposed to but basically just use whatever noodle you have around. But if you’re going to a grocery store pick up some instant noodles. They work best to make it a fast meal and the noddle is the right texture. ~ karen!

  49. Tara says:

    Hi Karen

    I’m an avid reader of your blog, first time commentator. I live on Long Island and we were slammed with eight inches today. My son, who lives in the city, happened to be snowed in with me and my HS daughter. I rummaged thru the frig trying to think of what to make for lunch when I remembered your Asian noodles. I made them along with homemade black bean burgers and what a lovely, spontaneous lunch we had! I don’t usually get a leisurely lunch with them and it was wonderful to eat what felt like a restaurant meal, watching the snow gently fall! thank you for an unexpected lunch (schools closed!!) we will not quickly forget!
    Tara

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tara! Well I don’t think I was responsible for your great lunch but I’m happy to have been a small part of it. 🙂 8 inches is quite a snowfall! Soon, soooooooon it will be over. Thanks for finally commenting! ~ karen! ps. I should probably make a black bean burger soon.

  50. jainegayer says:

    I’ve made this 3 times since you posted it and I think it’s my favorite dish… well besides coffee chip ice cream.
    It’s so easy to make. LOVE IT!!!

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