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Deliciously Easy Chinese Sesame Noodles

Easy Sesame Noodles are even better than takeout. They’re quick to make and have a short ingredient list.

low-angle shot of chinese sesame noodles on a black plate. Next to it is a blue and white serving bowl with sesame noodles in it. There is also a jar of chile crisp. The table is dark brown wood.

They are flavored with toasted sesame paste, toasted sesame oil, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, and an optional dollop of chile crisp or chili oil. They are always a crowd-pleaser!

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This easy sesame noodles recipe takes just about 20 minutes to make. You can easily make it into a full meal by adding vegetables like broccoli or snap peas. You can even use a bag of frozen stir-fry vegetables.

What ingredients do you need?

This recipe uses mostly pantry staples. I use ground pork, but you can substitute ground chicken or ground turkey, or even crumbled tofu.

You can also add vegetables if you like. I often add snap peas, shredded carrots, or broccoli. Here’s what you need for the basic recipe:

  • Ground pork, chicken, or turkey
  • Soy sauce
  • Chinese sesame paste (or substitute smooth peanut butter)
  • Chile oil, chili garlic sauce, chili oil with fermented black beans, or chile crisp (optional but highly recommended)
  • Sesame oil
  • Brown sugar
  • Cooking oil
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Noodles (use fresh ramen noodles, dried ramen noodles, fresh or dried Chinese wheat noodles, or spaghetti)
  • Roasted and salted peanuts
  • Green onions
uncooked fresh ramen noodles on a black plate

How do you make it?

Making Sesame Noodles is easier than ordering takeout.

  1. Stir together the sauce ingredients.
  2. Cook and drain noodles.
  3. Heat oil in a skillet and add ginger and garlic.
  4. Add the meat and brown it in the skillet.
  5. Add the sauce mixture to the meat and cook until heated through. Remove from the heat.
  6. Add the noodles to the skillet and toss to mix well.
  7. Serve hot, garnished with peanuts and scallions.

What kind of noodles should you use?

I love to make sesame noodles using fresh ramen noodles. Ramen noodles are alkalinized, which gives them a really nice chewiness.

I buy fresh ramen noodles at a Japanese market in my neighborhood. They are also available in larger Asian supermarkets.

If you don’t have fresh ramen noodles, you can substitute dried ramen noodles. These are also available in Asian markets and many supermarkets. Or substitute regular spaghetti.

Can you make it vegetarian?

Yes! You can definitely make vegetarian sesame noodles. I like to add crumbled tofu in place of the ground pork. Freeze the tofu first to give it a meat-like texture.

overhead shot of chinese sesame noodles on a black plate. Next to it is a blue and white serving bowl with sesame noodles in it and a pair of wooden chopsticks resting on the edge. There is also a jar of chile crisp. The table is dark brown wood.

What is Chinese sesame paste?

Chinese sesame paste is a paste made from toasted sesame seeds. It is very flavorful and lusher in consistency than tahini, which is made from raw or very lightly toasted sesame seeds.

You can buy Chinese sesame paste in Asian markets, some supermarkets, or online.

If you don’t have Chinese sesame paste you can substitute Japanese sesame paste, which is similar. Or use tahini or smooth all-natural peanut butter with an extra teaspoon of sesame oil.

Can you serve it cold?

Yes! The “original” sesame noodles were served cold. Cold sesame noodles were, by most accounts, invented by New York restaurateur Shorty Tang.

Tang first made cold sesame noodles at his Manhattan Chinatown restaurant Hwa Yuan in the late 1960s.

Since then they’ve become a staple at Sichuan-style American Chinese restaurants.

Can you add vegetables to make it a one-pot meal?

Yes! What I do is to stir-fry the vegetables in a bit of oil first. Remove the vegetables from the skillet and then cook the ginger, garlic, and meat as directed in the recipe. Add the vegetables back to the skillet when you add the sauce.

Add small broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, green beans, snap peas, shredded carrots, sliced celery, or diced bell peppers.

overhead shot of chinese sesame noodles on a black plate. Next to it is a blue and white serving bowl with sesame noodles in it and a pair of wooden chopsticks resting on the edge. There is also a jar of chile crisp. The table is dark brown wood.

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Yield: Makes about 12 fish cakes

Thai Fish Cakes

low angle shot of fish cakes on a plate with dipping sauce and limes in the background

These easy Thai Fish Cakes are loaded with the flavors of lemongrass, cilantro, and hot chilies. This recipe uses Thai curry paste, which provides layers of flavor without requiring a ton of ingredients.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound white fish fillet, cut into several pieces
  • ¼ cup cilantro, plus additional for serving
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons red or green curry paste (see note)
  • 1 egg white
  • 4 makrut lime leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced Chinese long beans (or sub green beans)
  • ½ cup cooking oil (or enough to fill your skillet about ½-inch deep)
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, combine the fish, curry paste, egg white, fish sauce, and sugar and pulse until the mixture forms a thick paste. Add the cornstarch and pulse until it is well incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the sliced beans.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat, until it shimmers.
  3. Form the fish mixture into balls a little larger than golf balls and then flatten them into ½-inch-thick patties.
  4. Add the patties to the skillet, 3 or 4 at a time. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, until deep golden brown. Transfer the cooked patties to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat until all of the patties have been formed and fried.
  5. Serve hot with lime wedges, cilantro, and Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce, if desired.

Notes

1. You can use just about any white fish for this recipe. I’ve made it with both cod and catfish. Other options would be haddock, pollock, grouper, or snapper.

2. You can use either red or green Thai curry paste in this recipe, though red is more common. I love green curry paste, though, and think it works just as well in these fish cakes. I tested this recipe using Mae Ploy red curry paste and Mae Ploy green curry paste. One tablespoon of the red was plenty, while I found the green (which is less spicy) required 2 tablespoons to really pop the flavor.

3. Whichever type of curry paste you choose, be careful how much you use. The spice level can vary widely between brands, so start with a smaller amount if you are not used to very spicy food. I usually use Mae Ploy curry pastes, which are very spicy. If I use more than 1 or 2 tablespoons, it is too spicy for my family. Thai Kitchen brand is easy to find in supermarkets, and it is much milder. I would use at least 3 tablespoons of it.



Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 320Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 17gCholesterol 71mgSodium 729mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 2gSugar 6gProtein 21g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Sesame Noodles

low-angle shot of chinese sesame noodles on a black plate. Next to it is a blue and white serving bowl with sesame noodles in it. There is also a jar of chile crisp. The table is dark brown wood.

Sesame noodles are quick and easy to make. Flavored with toasted sesame paste, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger, they are a real crowd-pleaser.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste
  • 2 tablespoons (or more, to taste) chile oil with fermented black beans or chile crisp
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • Kosher salt
  • 10 ounces fresh ramen noodles or 6 ounces dried ramen noodles, cooked according to package directions
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped roasted and salted peanuts
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the soy sauce, sesame paste, chile oil or chile crisp, sesame oil, brown sugar, and water and mix well.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir once before stirring in the meat. Season with salt and cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring, until cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Add the sauce mixture to the skillet with the meat and stir to combine. Add the noodles to the skillet and toss to coat well with the sauce.
  4. Serve garnished with scallions and peanuts.

Notes

If you don’t have fresh ramen noodles, you can substitute dried ramen noodles. These are also available in Asian markets and many supermarkets. Or substitute regular spaghetti.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 488Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 71mgSodium 680mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 2gSugar 5gProtein 25g
Pinterest pin for sesame noodles. Top image is an overhead shot of sesame noodles on a black plate on a wooden table. Text says better than takeout sesame noodles www.allwaysdelicious.com. Bottom photo is a low-angle shot of sesame noodles on a black plate.
Pinterest pin for sesame noodles. Top image is an overhead shot of sesame noodles on a black plate on a wooden table. Text says better than takeout sesame noodles www.allwaysdelicious.com. Bottom photo is a low-angle shot of sesame noodles on a black plate.

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