Spicy Cold Noodles with Sesame Tahini (Dandan mian)

This noodle dish is originally from Sichuan and appears on many a restaurant menu with varying degrees of spiciness. You can buy chili oil in most conventional grocery’s Asian section, or if you live near an Asian market, try some of the ones you see that have the chili flakes still in them (which is what many Chinese restaurants have as a condiment on the table). Better still, you can make your own by heating cooking oil, then adding dried chili flakes and letting it steep off the heat for 24 h. That way you can play with the type of chili used, the type of oil you want, etc. Tahini (ground sesame paste, found in most varieties of hummus) can usually be found in the Middle Eastern section of conventional stores or in whole food/health food stores. Don’t have hummus? Natural peanut butter (NOT a brand like Jif, Skippy, etc.) makes a great substitute! Served with a green vegetable or a vegetable soup, this makes a great quick lunch.


  • 12 oz noodles – you can use dried Chinese noodles in your favorite width or even spaghetti, linguine, or fettucine.
  • 2 T sesame tahini
  • 1 T fresh ginger root, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T red pepper oil (or to taste)
  • 1 T rice wine or cider vinegar

garnish (optional):

  • 1 tsp sesame or chili oil
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds – a mix of black and white is particularly pretty.


  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then cook the noodles until they are done – this is not a recipe for al dente pasta. Immediately rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.
  2. While the noodles drain, combine the sauce ingredients.
  3. Combine noodles with sauce, drizzle with some sesame or chili oil and garnish with sesame seeds if desired, and serve.

nutritional data:

I’ve used spaghetti for this calculation and left out the garnishes. The recipe serves 4, figures given are per serving.

  • Total calories 420, calories from fat 104
  • Total fat 12 g, saturated fat 2 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 14 mg
  • Total carbs 65 g, dietary fiber 3 g, sugars 2 g
  • Protein 12 g

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