“Sesame noodles are one of those dishes that appear super-simple but take precise tweaking, practice and experience to get exactly right. The quality of the Chinese sesame paste makes a big difference. The best I have ever tried was in a restaurant called Ji Gai He on Ji’an Lu in Shanghai – my friend and former food critic Betty Richardson (@bettyshanghai, on Instagram) took me there and I have longed for them ever since. The noodles were super long and perfectly al dente, the sauce was silky smooth, the flavour was nutty and moreish with a little fresh hit of spring onion (scallion). It was perfection. Peanut butter wouldn’t typically be added to this sauce, but I like the extra nutty hit it gives – leave it out if you prefer. It can be served hot or cold. ”
Combine the sesame paste, peanut butter, light soy sauce, chilli oil, vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, bouillon powder and 4 tablespoons of boiling water in a large mixing bowl and carefully stir until everything is dissolved. Chinese sesame paste is quite thick and firm, so it can take a while to dissolve until smooth. To help the process along, you can use a blender to make a smooth sauce, just be careful with hot liquids.
Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions or until al dente. Strain and rinse under cool water, separating the noodles with your fingers, to prevent them from sticking. If serving cold, rinse under cold water for 3–4 minutes. Add the noodles straight into the mixing bowl containing the sauce and toss to coat. Divide the noodles immediately between bowls and top with any remaining sauce, spring onion (scallion) and cucumber. Add extra chilli oil if desired.