Cold Peanut-Sesame Noodles


The secret to Andrew Zimmern's cold noodle recipe, inspired by the ones he had in China's Sichuan province, is the oil that gets drizzled on top. Made with chiles, Sichuan peppercorns and lots of spices, it is called Ma La ("numbing and spicy").

Cold Peanut-Sesame Noodles
Photo: © Con Poulos
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins


  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

  • 3 tablespoons natural, unsweetened, salted peanut butter

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine or sake

  • 1 small garlic clove, minced

  • 3 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste or tahini

  • 1 small shallot, minced

  • 5 tablespoons roasted peanut oil (see Note)

  • 1 pound dried Chinese egg noodles

  • 1/2 large seedless cucumber—peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded and cut into fine matchsticks

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

  • Ma la oil


  1. In a blender, combine the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, rice wine, garlic, sesame paste, shallot and 3 tablespoons of the peanut oil and puree until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the noodles until al dente. Drain and rinse under cold running water until chilled. Shake out the excess water and blot dry; transfer the noodles to a bowl and toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons of peanut oil. Add the peanut-sesame sauce and toss well to coat. Garnish with the cucumber and scallions and drizzle with Ma La Oil, leaving the solid spices behind.

Make Ahead

The peanut-sesame sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


Roasted peanut oil, as opposed to neutral peanut oil, smells richly nutty. Boyajin’s Fragrant Peanut Oil is available at specialty markets and from

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