Spicy Cold Shéchuán Noodles with Tahini


The first New York City street food I ate at 15 was a bowl of spicy cold noodles somewhere off Union Square. Few restaurants do them justice today having removed the bite and replaced fresh Tahini with routine peanut butter.

For the Tahini - blend two cups of toasted sesame seeds with about two tablespoons of sesame oil (you’ll have plenty left over to spread on your morning toast).

Use a pound of Chinese egg noodles or regular Italian spaghetti - just boil until al dente and reserve a half cup of the warm pasta water. Toss cooked noodles with a few tablespoons sesame oil and let cool to room temperature (don’t refrigerate or they will stick together).

For the sauce, mix half cup of the warm pasta water with:

  • 4 Tablespoons Tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil
  • 4 Tablespoons ponzu sauce (soy sauce made brighter with yuzu)
  • 2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil or paste (depending on how much heat you like)

Let your guests garnish with shredded daikon radish, chopped scallions, toasted sesame seeds and Japanese Shichimi Togarashi*.

*includes sesames, uzu peel, chilies,  nori seaweed and more


jane beck

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