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A Delicious 15-Minute Recipe from a New Chinese Cookbook Published by 'America's Test Kitchen'

Daniel Hautzinger
A bowl of cold sesame noodles topped with cilantro, scallions, and cucumber in a yellow bowl on a yellow background
Cold Sesame Noodles are one of the simplest dishes in 'A Very Chinese Cookbook,' but also "one of the most delicious," its author Kevin Pang says. Credit: Kevin White for America's Test Kitchen

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"It might seem intimidating to cook Chinese food," Wilmette resident Kevin Pang says. His new cookbook, A Very Chinese Cookbook: 100 Recipes from China and Not China (But Still Really Chinese)written with his father Jeffrey under the aegis of America's Test Kitchen, wants to show that making everything from Clay Pot Chicken Rice to Wonton Noodle Soup isn't intimidating. Every recipe in the book is rated in terms of difficulty, with something like a Xiao Long Bao (soup dumpling) at the apex and something like the cold Sesame Noodles below at the easiest. 

"You might whip up the sesame noodles in fifteen minutes," Pang says. And yet, "pound for pound, they are one of the most delicious things in the book." 

Try his recipe below, and discover more about Pang, his father, and their cookbook in our story on it.

Sesame Noodles

Recipe courtesy A Very Chinese Cookbook from America's Test Kitchen

Note: If fresh thin white wheat noodles are unavailable, substitute fresh lo mein or 12 ounces dried wheat noodles. In a desperate pinch, spaghetti will work. Also, this dish is wholly satisfying as written, but you can add any topping. Poached chicken is a natural pairing. In Hong Kong you’ll find deli ham, red bell ­peppers, and sliced egg omelet on cold noodles.


5 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese sesame paste
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons Chinese black vinegar
1 tablespoon chili oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
1 pound fresh thin white wheat noodles
1/2 English cucumber, cut into ­3‑inch-long matchsticks
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 scallions, green parts only, sliced thin
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted


1. Process soy sauce, sesame paste, sugar, vinegar, 1 tablespoon water, chili oil, garlic, and ­ginger in blender until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of blender jar as needed; transfer to large bowl. 

2. Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add noodles and cook, stirring often, until just tender. Drain noodles and rinse under cold running water until chilled; drain well. 

3. Transfer noodles to bowl with dressing and toss to combine. Adjust consistency with extra water as needed until sauce smoothly coats noodles. Transfer noodles to shallow serving bowl and top with cucumber, cilantro, scallions, and sesame seeds. Serve.