What’s better than a bowl of steaming sesame noodles? A bowl of steaming sesame noodles topped and tossed with Lao Gan Ma! Lao Gan Ma makes everything better, that’s our motto!
Sesame noodles and Lao Gan Ma are a perfect pair. The nuttiness of the sesame paste (zhī ma jiàng 芝麻酱) combines with the spicy umami flavor of the chili crisps to create an intriguing melody of flavors.
If you haven’t heard of Lao Gan Ma then you are in for a treat! Lao Gan Ma (老干妈 Old Godmother) is spreading across the globe for good reason. It has an immediate sensory appeal with an electrifying mix of balanced heat and nutty and savory umami flavor. Read our Lao Gan Ma article to learn about the inspiring rise of this global sensation!
Why make this dish?
This is the dish we make when we finish the work day and have nothing left in the tank - both literally and figuratively. When you are tired but still long for a deeply flavorful but simple dish, this is it!
It only takes about 10 minutes to make! Begin boiling the noodles and quickly whip up the sauce while you wait. Once the noodles are drained you top and toss them with the sauce and you are ready to eat!
For this recipe, we like to use knife-cut/sliced noodles because the flavorful sauce clings to the ribbon-like edges. Our daughter used to call them skirt noodles because she thought the edges looked like the edges of a skirt.
You can find knife-cut/sliced noodles on Amazon, but if you like to know the source and background of the folks supplying your food, we recommend you check out The Male Market. At the time of this writing, they are carrying a perfectly textured noodle from a specialty Chengdu noodle maker.
- Fresh or dried wheat flour noodles (this sauce recipe makes enough for 3 or 4 servings)
- Chinese sesame paste (not tahini) (zhī ma jiàng 芝麻酱)
- Warm water (depending on the thickness of your sesame paste)
- Soy sauce
- Chinese black vinegar
- Lao gan ma
- Sesame oil
- Freshly grated ginger
- Freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns
- Handful of greens (bok choy, water spinach, etc) or thinly sliced cucumber
- Freshly toasted sesame seeds
See the recipe card for quantities.
Grate the fresh ginger
Add sesame paste to a bowl. If your sesame is thick, add the 2 tablespoons of warm water and mix well. You can skip the water if your sesame paste is already runny. Mix all other sauce ingredients in with the sesame paste.
Boil your favorite wheat flour noodles. Be sure not to overcook the noodles. You want to remove them from the boiling water when they are al dente because they will continue cooking when they are warm.
After removing the noodles from the boiling water, rinse them under cold water briefly to slow down the cooking process. Completely strain the noodles and separate into separate severing bowls.
If you are using greens, add them to the boiling water. Briefly cook them for about 30 seconds. Remove them and add to the noodle bowls.
Top each bowl of noodles with the desired amount of sauce (about two spoonfuls) and then top with sesame seeds. Toss well and then enjoy!
Usually, we throw another spoonful of Lao Gan Ma on top of the finished noodles - because why not!
- Homemade chili oil - Try making homemade chili oil and then use it in place of the Lao Gan Ma. One benefit is that you can control the salt content in your homemade chili oil. You can also develop a secret recipe that you can show off at family gatherings!
You can store the sauce in the refrigerator for up to three days. Just remember to let it come to room temperature before using it to top noodles. And give it a fresh stir.
After the noodles have been topped with sauce we would not recommend storing them in the fridge. If you do, their quality will be significantly decreased.
Remember not to let your noodles overcook because there is nothing worse than a bowl of soggy noodles! Also, after topping the noodles with the sauce you should start eating right away while the noodles are still warm. Once the noodles cool down the sauce will begin clumping on them and doesn’t have the same invigorating impact on your tastebuds.
The amount of sauce used to top the sesame noodles is a personal preference. Remember, you can always add more but you can’t take it away 🙂
Chinese sesame paste (zhī ma jiàng 芝麻酱) is made by grinding white roasted sesame seeds. One difference between zhī ma jiàng and Tahini is that Tahini is usually made from raw hulled sesame seeds and additional oils. Using hulled sesame seeds gives Tahini a lighter appearance. Chinese sesame paste usually has a darker appearance and a nuttier more roasted flavor. As with most things though, these guidelines are not absolute.
These are some of our favorite dishes to serve with Lao Gan Ma Sesame Noodles:
Lao Gan Ma Sesame Noodles
- 12 ounces servings of fresh or dried wheat flour noodles
- 3 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (zhī ma jiàng 芝麻酱)
- 2 tablespoons warm water depending on thickness of your sesame paste
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1.5 tablespoons Lao gan ma or to taste
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1.5 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns
- Handful of greens bok choy, water spinach, etc or thinly sliced cucumber
- 1 Tablespoon freshly toasted sesame seeds
- Grate the fresh ginger.1.5 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- Add sesame paste to a bowl. If your sesame is thick, add the 2 tablespoons of warm water and mix well. You can skip the water if your sesame paste is already runny. Mix all other sauce ingredients in with the sesame paste.3 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste (zhī ma jiàng 芝麻酱), 2 tablespoons warm water, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1.5 tablespoons Lao gan ma, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ¼ teaspoon freshly ground Sichuan peppercorns, 1.5 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- Boil your favorite wheat flour noodles. Be sure not to overcook the noodles. You want to remove them from the boiling water when they are al dente because they will continue cooking when they are warm.12 ounces servings of fresh or dried wheat flour noodles
- After removing the noodles from the boiling water, rinse under cold water briefly to slow down the cooking process. Completely strain the noodles and separate into separate severing bowls.
- If you are using greens, add them to the boiling water. Briefly cook them for about 30 seconds. Remove them and add to the noodle bowls.Handful of greens
- Top each bowl of noodles with the desired amount of sauce (about two spoonfuls) and then top with sesame seeds and greens/sliced cucumber. Toss well and then enjoy!1 Tablespoon freshly toasted sesame seeds
- Usually we throw another spoonful of Lao Gan Ma on top of the finished noodles - because why not!
malaeats.com is created for informational purposes only. Although we do our best to provide nutritional information to our readers as a general guideline, we are not certified nutritionists and the nutritional values provided should be considered estimates. Numerous factors such as variations in fresh ingredients, brands purchased, etc. will alter the nutritional values in any recipe. Different online calculators also provide different results depending on their sources. To obtain accurate nutritional information for a recipe, please use your preferred nutrition calculator to determine nutritional information with the actual ingredients and quantities you used.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
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