Sesame Noodles with Thai Basil

July  6, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 4-6 as a main dish, 8 or more as a side dish
Author Notes

I made this for the DC area Food 52 Canorama which was at cheese1227's in PA. We were basing our lunch around monkeymom's banh mi and this seemed like it would be a complementary side dish and easy to transport. I was inspired by thirschfeld's use of Chinese celery in his Shredded Pork and Chinese Celery Lo Mein, but since we had vegetarians in the group, I used my basic sesame noodle recipe and added some veggies, including the Chinese celery. I also topped it with lots of Thai basil and a touch of cilantro, as for me, a little cilantro goes a long way. You could easily sub in other vegetables such as snow peas, napa cabbage or cucumber instead of the Chinese celery. I like the bite the celery provides, though! this is best served at room temperature so it's perfect for a potluck or picnic - healthierkitchen —healthierkitchen

Test Kitchen Notes

We really liked this! The Chinese celery – which is well worth the effort to source – is truly a revelation. Though two cups of the stuff may seem like an awful lot, having it sit in the boldly flavored sauce, with the hot noodles, produces a balanced, delicious result. And the combination of Chinese celery leaves with cilantro and Thai basil is simply brilliant. I added some stir-fried chicken and coarsely chopped blanched snap peas to create a light but filling one-dish meal. All agreed that this recipe is, hands down, a winner! - AntoniaJames —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 16 - 18 ounces udon noodles (some brands have different amounts in the package). You can also use soba noodles or spaghetti
  • 3 carrots, shredded or julienned (I use a julienne peeler)
  • 2 cups Chinese celery, rough chopped stems and leaves
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • 5 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup scallions or green onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil, larger leaves roughly torn
  1. Cook noodles according to directions, leaving them al dente.
  2. In a saucepan, lightly cook oils and red pepper over medium heat for a few minutes, taking care not to let it boil. Stir.
  3. Add the honey and soy sauce to the pot and stir well.
  4. Place the carrots and celery into a large bowl, and put the hot noodles right on top. Add the sauce over top and mix well.
  5. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Let noodles come to room temperature for a half an hour or so and then add the last 5 ingredients just before serving. Toss well.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Midge
  • healthierkitchen
  • theicp
  • cheese1227
  • dymnyno

17 Reviews

catydid December 12, 2014
Great recipe! I altered significantly to make as a family recipe where picky eaters could change it up. No chinese celery available so I went with Broccolini and a spare baby bok choy that was lonely in the fridge drawer. Decided to do a fast high heat stir fry of the veggies, so also added 1 minced garlic clove and grated ginger to the stir fry. Served as a buffet where each person could take from udon noodles, stir fried veggies, hot oil-soy sauce (no honey!), and small bowls each of basil, peanuts, green onions and sesame seeds. Phew! Of course I took from all bowls, while silly children avoided some - was delicious!!! Loved the hot oil-soy mix - very special flavor.
healthierkitchen February 17, 2015
The beauty of these "almost" recipes is the adaptation we can do!
thevegedge January 30, 2012
I added the juice from one sweet orange to the pan with the soy, a little less honey and dark sesame oil and instead of carrot (I didn't have any) we added young cocunut meat chopped up. We also had to use regular celery instead of chinese. Creamy and delicious! Thanks for the inspiration!
Midge April 6, 2011
Made this last night with a few substitutions (no Chinese celery unfortunately but I added edamame and red bell pepper) and served with roasted salmon. Totally delicious! Thanks for a great recipe.
healthierkitchen April 6, 2011
Thanks for letting me know, Midge. Adding edamame is a great idea! Nice and colorful, with the red pepper as well. I like to serve it as a side with salmon, too. And the leftovers are great to have around for lunches!
healthierkitchen July 25, 2010
Thanks, AntoniaJames, for the lovely write up. I was away last week and came home to find your generous review and a completely dessicated Thai basil plant. Thank goodness it came back to life after watering, as I love that stuff. And, I love a one dish dinner - I'll have to try this with chicken!
theicp July 12, 2010
I bought soba noodles in bulk - thinking I may need them - and haven't used them for anything yet. Now I know what I will be making. Thanks!
healthierkitchen July 12, 2010
I'm actually in the midst of an unofficial pantry purge - must use up all the impulse items I've bought all year. I'm going to search fregola sarda right now.

Hope you like this! If you've still got more soba, try cheese1227's soba with smoked salmon which is delicious too!
cheese1227 July 12, 2010
THanks for the plug!

I needed to do a pantry purge last year before moving and was thinking at the time that there has just got to be a tool (better than Google, that is) in which you could plug in only the ingredients you had on hand and get recipes with only those ingredients. I found plenty of recipes that contained the things I was trying ot get rid of, but most required that I go out and buy more stuff to compelte the recipe, which kind of defeated the whole process.
healthierkitchen July 12, 2010
Might be a new business venture??
cheese1227 July 7, 2010
I can attest to the merit of this noodle salad. I ate left overs on Sunday and Monday!
healthierkitchen July 9, 2010
thanks cheese1227!!
dymnyno July 6, 2010
Sounds great...what is a Canorama?
healthierkitchen July 6, 2010
Oops - sorry - I just fixed the headnote to read "DC area Food 52 Canorama." A group of us headed up to Pennsylvania hosted by cheese 1227, and led by Mrs. Wheelbarrow, canned sour cherries and apricots. It was great fun!
healthierkitchen July 6, 2010
Thanks! It would be good with tofu, which was one of the banh mi sandwich options at the Canorama. It"s also good with a little salmon.
AntoniaJames July 6, 2010
Oh, yes, salmon!! I always cook a bit more than we need, to have some leftover for lunch. That would be wonderful with this. Or mahi mahi, cooked in a touch of garlic and ginger scented oil . . . . . . . . . . ;o)
AntoniaJames July 6, 2010
Mmm, yum. Definitely going to try this with soba, and diced, lightly sauteed tofu. Perfect summer food!! Thanks for posting this. ;o)