Ma Jiang Mian – Cold Sesame Paste Noodles are a favorite warm weather dish all over China. Thought to have originated in Shanghai, these refreshing noodles are adapted to match each region’s taste preferences…hot crispy chili flakes and Sichuan pepper in the west, bean sprouts in the south, etc. What they all share, however, is Chinese sesame paste, cucumber, cooled wheat noodles, and roasted sesame oil.
Chinese sesame paste is different from the tahini of the Middle East. Where tahini is made by crushing raw sesame seeds in olive oil, Chinese sesame paste is made by crushing roasted sesame seeds in sesame oil, producing a darker color and nuttier flavor.
Ma Jiang Mien- Cold Sesame Noodles
- Large pot
- Large jar with lid
- 1½ lb Noodles
- 8 tbsp Soy sauce
- 3 tbsp Chinese sesame paste (SUB: ⅔ Tahini with ⅓ sesame oil)
- 2 tbsp Sesame oil + a splash
- 2 tbsp Rice wine vinegar (SUB: any other vinegar)
- 2 tbsp Smooth peanut butter
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Ginger, finely grated (optional)
- 4 tsp Garlic, finely minced
- 2 tbsp Chili oil (SUB: chili crisp, chili-garlic paste, or omit)
- 1 medium Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and julienned
- ¼ cup Peanuts, chopped
- Optional toppings: julienned carrot, blanched bean sprouts, chopped cilantro or scallion
- Make Noodles – Boil Noodles for 30 seconds less than the package's instruction's call for. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water to stop them cooking. Toss them in a splash of sesame oil to keep from sticking together.
- Make Sauce – Add all the sesame sauce ingredients to a covered container. Shake vigorously to combine.
- Prepare Toppings – Cut the peeled and seeded cucumber into matchsticks. Crush peanuts with the side of a heavy knife. Prepare any of the other toppings if using.
- Serve – In a large serving bowl or individual bowls, place noodles and add enough sauce to cover. Add carrots and bean sprouts, if using, and toss to combine. Line cucumber around the edges and cover with chopped peanuts and, if using, cilantro or scallions.
- Any unused sauce may be refrigerated in an airtight container for a few weeks.