Sesame Noodle Salad with Chili Oil

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I’ve been working on a TEDx talk about community and as a result thinking a lot about what that word actually means. It is impossible to think of community without thinking of food. The story behind this recipe embodies my feelings about the true meaning of community and how generous and giving a group of people can be.


My great friends Camille and Josh were married in upstate NY before I met them, so sadly I didn’t get to experience their wedding first hand but tales of it are legendary! In lieu of wedding presents, everyone pitched in for the meal. There were BBQ aficionados doing meat, Vietnamese beef sticks from the groom’s sister, platters of vegetables and dips from the groom’s parents and even the cake was made by a hobbyist baker friend. It was essentially one large feast and the happiest of communal meals.


Hilary, knowing how much Camille loved her sesame noodles, made it for over 100 people at the wedding and it was a fast favorite among all the guests. It has since become one of Camille’s signature dishes and for the happy couple, this dish has come to symbolize people coming together to celebrate. In their typical generous style, they now make it for a large party every year on July 4th.



Sesame Noodle Salad with Chili Oil

Adapted from: The Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison

Serves 4-6



14 oz of noodles (I used wholewheat soba noodles)

1 cup of snow peas, julienned

1/2 lb of bean sprouts

1 carrot, peeled and julienned

2 tablespoons of roasted sesame seeds (to roast, add to a pan on medium heat and cook till color turns, about 2 minutes)



2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons sliced scallions



4 tablespoons of dark sesame oil

4 tablespoons of soy sauce

4 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons of Brooklyn Wok Shop’s Chili Oil

1 heaped tablespoon of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

2 teaspoons of crushed garlic

2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 bunch of scallions (cut off two inches from the green end and discard. Thinly slice the rest.)

2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro



1. In a large bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients together. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

2. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the noodles according to the package instructions.

3. Pour the noodles into a colander and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.

4. Add the well drained and cooled noodles to the bowl with the marinade. Mix well to distribute the marinade.

5. In another pot of boiling water, blanch the carrot strips and snow peas for 30 seconds before adding the bean sprouts. Continue cooking for 30 seconds more, then pour the contents into a colander and rinse with cold water until cool to the touch.

6. Add the blanched vegetables and half the sesame seeds to the noodles and mix well.

7. Garnish with the remaining sesame seeds as well as the reserved cilantro and scallions.

8. Serve at room temperature. Recipe can be made the night before as flavor improves over time.

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