Spicy cold sesame noodles

One of the most delicious things I ate in China last year were these cold sesame noodles I got at the Muslim market in Xi’an, Shaanxi. They were spicy, creamy, and nutty, with just a hint of sweetness and a refreshing crunch from the cucumbers and bean sprouts.

So imagine my delight when I found this cold sesame noodle recipe from NY Times Cooking. I adapted it slightly to make these. Namely, I added water and extra vinegar to thin out the sauce and make it tangier, I cut down the sugar, and I added chili flakes for an extra kick.

These liamgpi noodles are traditionally made with wheat noodles, but I used rice noodles, since that’s what I had at home. You could also use soba, ramen noodles, shirataki, or even zoodles. The magic is all in the sauce.

To make these, you boil and cool the noodles, mix together a few ingredients for the sauce, toss together and top with crunch toppings and chili oil.

These make for a delicious lunch or snack, and taste great the next day too.


  • 10 oz noodles
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Chinese rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (black sesame)
  • 1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped into thin strips, like matchsticks
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, roughly chopped
  • Chili oil, to taste


  1. Boil noodles according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine sesame paste, peanut butter, sesame oil, vinegar, soy sauce, chili garlic paste, ginger, garlic, chili flakes, and water. Whisk until smooth.
  3. In a small frying pan, toast sesame seeds and peanuts on low heat for 2 minutes, or until slightly golden and fragrant.
  4. Toss noodles and sauce together. Garnish with cucumbers, peanuts, sesame seeds, scallions, and a drizzle of chili oil. Serve.

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